Open some letters in book form at the library—September 30, 2011
Read a good letter lately? . . .an honest-to-goodness, real ink on paper, letter that’s been folded and stuffed inside an envelope with a stamp in one corner and a return address in another?
Risking sounding like an old fogey, I have to say I think it’s a shame letter-writing is so quickly becoming an endearment of the past, thanks to e-mail, facebook, twitter and all those other push-key forms of communicating that are wonderfully fast, free and far-reaching. There’s still something special about getting a heartfelt, handwritten note that comes to a mailbox that opens with a hinged door instead of a click.
I have a suggestion for you if trips to your mailbox leave you feeling a little letter-deprived. . . take a trip to your public library! Look in the library’s catalog for “epistolary works,” which are stories based on letters. Epistolary works in both fiction and non-fiction are enjoying a resurgence in popularity and the library has more than a dozen catalogued as such.
“The Wednesday Letters” delivers a message about the power of forgiveness. The adult children of a couple who died in each other’s arms discover a shocking truth in their family history when they find letters that their father wrote to their mother each week on Wednesday. Look for the book’s epilogue located inside the back cover, fittingly in the form of a letter tucked inside an envelope which the reader must open to read!
Best-selling authors Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger combined their talents to create “The Letters,” a charming story of an estranged husband and wife rediscovering each other through an exchange of intimate letters.
Have some fun with “Ella Minnow Pea,” a light-hearted fable set on the fictional island of Nollop. Author Mark Dunn tells this tale through correspondence among the quirky islanders. It’s a quick, clever read that will delight anyone who enjoys wordplay.
Award-winning author Barbara Kingsolver has added an epistolary novel to her repertoire of bestsellers. Told entirely through diary entries and letters, “The Lacuna” is an epic journey of an American-born boy who grows up with no education in Mexico. In a plot that turns many times, his love for words leads him to a writing career back in America while he remains pulled between both nations.
A New York writer with a passion for literature writes to a London bookstore in search of rare classics. A good-natured, reserved Englishman answers her request, beginning a relationship that spans two continents and two decades. “84 Charing Cross Road” is their heartwarming real-life story revealed exclusively through their written correspondence. Enjoy it in book and/or audio recording formats and on DVD with the 1987 movie version starring Ann Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.
You might recognize other famous titles that feature a series of letters such as Aravind Adiga’s international sensation, “The White Tiger,” that takes place in the dark heart of India; and the classic novel of the civil rights movement, “The Color Purple.” Set in the aftermath of World War II, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” details the remarkable correspondence between British journalist Juliet Ashton and a unique reading group from Guernsey in the Channel Islands.