Friday, 29 July 2016

"It seems queer to be writing letters to somebody you don't know. It seems queer for me to be writing letters at all--I've never written more than three or four in my life, so please overlook it if these are not a model kind." --- Daddy Long Legs, Jerusha Abbot


Dear Readers,

I have come to the realisation that I very much love reading 'letter-books', as I call them. I only wish there were more of them, because I have read, and possibly reread, all of those I am aware of. (Except Dear Enemy which I'll read very soon.) My love for letter books started with Daddy-Long-Legs. I remember the Sunday when I found it for 0.00£ as an e-book on Amazon and 'bought' it on my kindle. I started reading, and became more than hooked from the first letter Jerusha Abbot wrote to the long-legged stranger she adopted as a friend and baptised adorably as 'Daddy-Long-Legs.' I didn't stop reading till I had finished it - I took the book down to dinner... it was that good. It still is one of my favourite books to this date, and if you haven't read it, I implore you to. No, in fact, I insist upon it.

Then I heard about "Dear Mr Knightley"... a sort of modern Daddy-Long-Legs, apparently, with a mad Jane Austen fan as the main character. Of course I was going to buy it and read it and love it. I have to admit, I don't adore 'Dear Mr Knightley' but I'm still very fond of it, and proud to own a copy. Also, the cover is gorgeous, and the hero, Alex, is a darling. I love reading Samantha's letters. They aren't always the quaint, adorable, innocent and hilarious letters that Jerusha Abbot writes; but they are great fun to read. Her character has a lot of depth and the fact that she has to write letters to a stranger is really good for her, because she needs to empty her worries and her heart onto someone.

I read The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society (I know, it's a mouthful, but isn't it the most original title ever?) several months later, AND IT WAS OFFICIAL. I love love love letter books. The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society or, as my friend Emma and I call it: "The Guernsey book" (cuz no-one's got time to write the entire title, right? Life is busy and time doesn't stop) - is amazing. I recently reread it and loved it even more. It's one of my all time favourite books, (despite some things about it I don't really appreciate.) I raved about it on Goodreads; and promised myself that one day, I'll make myself a Literary society and write a letter to someone who used to own a book I own.


'The Guernsey book' has a huge place in my heart... it's just... blahh. It makes me so happy. The characters are all so special and unique; and the letters that go to and fro and create a whole beautiful story... it just warms my heart. It's probably the cleverest book I know of. (Thou must read.)

I was delighted when I was able to buy 'Ain't we got Fun' on kindle; with the Amazon vauture I won through Melody's Christmas story contest last Christmas. I had wanted to read it for quite some time because it looked adorable and it's a letter book. The book is basically the correspondence between two sisters, Bess and Georgiana, as they find happiness in their daily lives during the Great Depression. I loved it - again, it warmed my heart. Another letter-book I've read is 'Lady Susan', by Jane Austen, and oui, I really liked that as well.

I think part of the reason why I love letter-form books is that I'm a curious person by nature, and that reading other people's letters therefore makes me feel happy... because one normally doesn't get to do that. :-P Also, letter books are always funnier and more drawn-back and casual than normal books; and they mean stamps and envelopes and ink and people sending information, gossip and love to each other via paper and words and sentences. It makes me so HAPPY.

Celebrating my love for these, I wrote myself a novella called 'Nonsense, you aren't dead,' written in letters form. It has a very dramatically sad ending, and I am featured in it as the antagonist (no, really), but I flatter myself when I say that it is rather fun to read, although without a doubt rather silly. In a childrens' book I once wrote, I featured a lot of mean letters between two kids who are forced to be 'pen-friends.' The book is called 'Pen-Enemy.' I want to write a another letter-form book sometime soon - they are so much fun to write, and it gives you such a boost on creativity, because there are so many options about styles, characters, and who writes to who, and so on.


The goal for this letter for you is the follow question: Do you know any other letter books? Because I really want  to read some other ones; ones I've never heard of. (Don't say 'Dear Enemy' by Jean Webster, because I know about that one, and I plan to read it very soon. :-)) So... if you have any more letter-book recommendations... go and tell me, please! (Interesting letter-collections from famous people are welcome too, although I am aiming for works for fiction with a plot and everything. :-P)

Yours very truly and very devotedly and very lovingly,
Naomi xxx

PS What do think of a long quote as a blog title? It's kind of weird, but letters embrace weirdness so I'm going to go with it.
PS And yes, the pictures in the post are SO staged, but LET ME. :-D (Also, the letters in the pictures are from Emma, and aren't they diviiine?)

38 comments:

  1. Dear Naomi,
    This was very fun to read. :) Did you know I've never read a book written in letter form? I'm pretty sure I've not. I've read books with parts of it written in letter form. (There are letters in the book "Little Women" but only in a chapter or two.) I've read a book written in a complete diary form, but that's a little different. All the books you mentioned - I WANT TO READ THEM ALL. :D
    Um... books I know of written in letter form... THINK... THINK... Sorry. My brain is dead. (Doesn't help having a head cold.)

    As a matter of fact, I thought the pictures were BEAUTIFUL. Of course, any picture with books and letters has to be beautiful, really. THE STRING TYING THE LETTERS UP. IT MAKES ME THINK OF LITTLE WOMEN. And yes, of course Emma's letters are always pretty. :D (Sealed wax makes everything look 100% more attractive.)

    Your friend across an ocean,
    Miss Meg

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    1. Girl, you shouuuuulllld.
      Complete diary form is REALLY FUN too. I want to read more diary books, as well. Any suggestions?

      Thank you - I'm proud of the pictures, too. :-) (Um yes. Sealed wax is the best.)

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    2. I can only think of one at the moment, but I did enjoy it (although it's quite sad - I cried) called "A Gathering of Days" by Joan W. Blos.
      Actually there is a story I want to write (once I can get more of that WW2 story out of the way!) and it's going to be all in a diary form. :D And I began writing a novel a few years ago that was a narrative, but had a LOT of letters in it. They were so fun to write. That was a very sad book, though. :P I never finished it...

      ~Miss Meg

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  2. Oh you are going to love Dear Enemy. It is almost better the !!! I have read DLL, DE, and Lady Susan. Oh I've also read Ain't We Got Fun. I really liked it.

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  3. Emma sends you the cutest of letters!!!!!
    And I love letter form books too. xD I remember when I was like 12, I read the Liberty Letter series. THEY WERE FANTASTIC. You should look them up just for fun xD

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    1. She doeees. <3
      I will look them up just for fun. ;-P (No, really - they sound good.)

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  4. You HAVE to read Ella Minnow Pea, the story of letters (or is it words?)can't remember the author but Google the first bit and you'll find it. It was the most wonderful Christmas present last year. And also, the classic gem is 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff which you will also love if you loved the Guernsey one. I adored the Potato Peel book-soo good!

    Hmmm, what else?? Im not sure if it is a diary or letters but Confessions of An Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire was quite good too. I also read something recently but can't remember what so I'll have to look through my books tag on my blog to see what when I'm not on the train. I'll have to try the other one you mention. By the way, have you read Sanditon? Not a letter one but...?

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    1. Ahh, they all sound lovely! I'll definitely check those out!! :-D
      Yes, I read Sandition a while ago... must reread though.

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  5. * I wrote myself a novella called 'Nonsense, you aren't dead,' written in letters form. It has a very dramatically sad ending, and I am featured in it as the antagonist (no, really)... *

    You're so funny!

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  6. Letter books? Let's see . . . Oh! I got a collection of the Queen Mother's letters for my birthday this year; and I think you should TOTALLY read it. The Queen Mother reminds me a lot of you, you know :-) Very cheery and jolly and imaginative.

    I can't think of any other actual fiction books written in letter-format, though . . . sorry!

    Oh, before I forget: DID YOU SEE THE NEW TRAILER FOR "THE CROWN." IT IS FANTASTIC. I AM OFFICIALLY DYING.

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    1. I WANT to read that. I'm flattered that I remind you of Queen Mother... that's so sweet of you, dear. :-)

      EEKKKK YES RIIIIGHT. I'VE SEEN IT TONS OF TIMES. (That trailer came out about three months ago... believe me; I caught it early. :-P)

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  7. I like "letter books" a lot too (and I always used to get excited when I came to a part in a "normal" book which was told in letters)! I've read and enjoyed all of the books you've mentioned (except Dear Enemy) - although I can't think of any others I've read except for a few I read years ago and don't remember much about.

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  8. Ohhhh! This was a lovely post, Naomi! I'm afraid I can't think of any more letter books, though. Sorry. The only ones I can think of you already mentioned. :( I've read Lady Susan, and Daddy-Long-Legs is still on my to-read list (I really must read it soon! It sounds like a fun book!).

    Oh! I remember you sharing some snippets from your Pen-Enemy story way back when! I really enjoyed those. :)

    Well I think your post title was simply smashing! Long titles are really quite fun, in my opinion. :) And the pictures you took are gorgeous! Emma's letters look awesome!! :D

    Thanks for the fun post, dear. I really must find myself a letter book now and doing some reading...

    ~Miss March

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  9. Elizabeth Tuttle29 July 2016 at 17:25

    Have you read The Liberty Letters series by Nancy LeSourd? If not, I definitely recommend them!:-)

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  10. The Guernsey book.. isn't it delightful?!!
    Also ohmywordy those letters from Emma are exquisite!

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  11. We have a post office here on campus so I'll see what i can do about getting one to you?

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  12. I've always loved books that include letters or diary entries; they can be so much fun to read! I'm reading one right now called Letters of a Woman Homesteader. It's a short collection of real letters that a woman who moved to the American west in the early 1900s wrote to her friend. It's actually really interesting, and the lady wrote her letters so beautifully.

    Oh, and I like the idea of using a quote as a blog post title! It makes the post more unique. :)

    -Molly

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    1. Thank you for your recommendation, Molly! - that book sounds really good. :-)

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  13. There's the actual Love and Freindship, by Jane Austen. It's very odd, but it is very funny. There's also The Three Sisters, Evelyn,and Lesley Castle. These are all part of Austen's Juvenilia, so are shorter works. I found them all rather odd, but very entertaining. Other than that, I haven't read many letter books, (aside from books which contain letters).

    As always, loved your post.
    Kendra, (or LIzzy or Anne)

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    1. Yes, I put L&F on my to-read list. OHHH I really want to read Austen's Juvenilia!

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    2. Oh yes, these of course! I just assumed you would have read the Juvenalia! I found mine in a second hand bookshop!

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  14. Emma's handwriting is so beautiful! And is that the old Irish blessing I see there...?

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  15. Love from Your Friend Hannah is a good summer book, in letter format. It's been a while since I've read it, so I can't remember, but there might be some parts that aren't in letters, but I THINK not.

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    1. It sounds adorable; I'll check it out. :-)

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  16. Oh, I can help here! I love epistolary fiction too (so much that the novel I'm currently researching/planning is going to be partly epistolary!). Here's some favorites that no one has mentioned yet:

    Fraulein Schmidt and Mr. Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim
    Letters from Bath by Meredith Allady (free on Kindle!)
    Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss (combination of diary entries/letters)
    The Woman in White and The Moonstone by Wilkie Collines are both combinations of diaries, letters, etc. by multiple characters in the books.

    For real letters, I definitely second Letters of a Woman Homesteader and its follow-up, Letters on an Elk Hunt. And I think you would LOVE 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. It's a lot like a real-life Guernsey L&PPPS, without the war. :)

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    1. Oh, thank you so much!! Those sound amazing. "84, Charing Cross Road" sounds like sooo much fun... I need to buy these. :-)

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  17. Daddy-Long-Legs is a really sweet book. Have you seen the 1955 movie? It's got a few weird but skippable dances, but aside from that it's super fun and enjoyable.:)

    I'm afraid I haven't any recommendations, but yours sound good!!;)

    I like your"staged pictures" by the way.;)

    ~Rilla Blythe

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    1. Well, I've seen bits of it - I didn't enjoy it that much. It didn't look like I had envisioned when I read the book. :-)

      Aw, thanks! <3

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  18. You took those photos?!?! Naomi, they're perfect!! I honestly thought they were regular, ol' "Pinterest photos." And goodness gracious, Emma--your letters are BEAUTIFUL.

    I JUST re-read Daddy Long Legs and I'm so glad I did because I love it even more now. I used to love Dear Enemy more, but now....I'm just not sure which is my favorite. :/

    (You need to share your "Nonsense, you aren't Dead" story on your blog. Because it's soooo good!)
    (Oh, and funny story. When I first saw the title, I assumed it meant that nonsense isn't dead. Like, the noun nonsense isn't gone from society or such. Hopefully you understand what I mean. ;))

    Hmmm. I can't really think of any more letter books. Of course, there's "Anne of Windy Poplars", but I know you've read that. ;) If I ever read a good letter book I'll tell you!

    Do you like diary format books, too? I like letter books, but I can't think of a diary book that I enjoyed. I usually find them extreeemeely boring. (Snippets of diary entries is another thing, though. I like them. :))

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    1. AWWW THANKS. That means a lot coming from YOU!!! :-) (I have recently learned to love photography too, actually.)

      Daddy Long Legs IS THE BEST. I love it so much.
      Hahaha, really? That's funny. The title is kinda weird... ;-)

      Oh yes, Anne of Windy Poplars. I liked that one, but it's not a favourite. Some bits bore me to death.
      Yes, I do - I mean, the ones I've read (and I've not read many.) I don't like them when it's obviously not a real diary, and some author is trying so hard to make it look like one. :-)

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    2. -blushes- Aww, thanks. :) You have? That's so cool! Photography is definitely very fun. :)

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  19. I just looked at all your photos close up and I had to comment again.
    EMMA. YOU HAVE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL HANDWRITING I'VE EVER SEEN. I just.....wow. How did you learn to write like that? Or does it just come naturally? I'm honestly really jealous right now. I love beautiful handwriting, but I wasn't blessed with that talent. :P You are very, very fortunate.

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    1. I KNOWWW. THE FIRST TIME I SAW IT I WAS LITERALLY IN SHOCK.
      (It just comes naturally, although she's kind of developped her style throughout the years. :-))

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  20. Dear Naomi,
    I read Daddy Long Legs last day, inspired by your fervent talks about Jerusha Abbot. Delighted to tell you that it's one of my favorites now. I can't wait to have my own copy now :) Thank you!

    Here I'm leaving a link of Epistolary novels for you. You might find something interesting from the list...

    Epistolary Fiction GR list

    Blissful day!

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  21. When I was younger, I used to send loads of letters to my cousins... I love writing letters. The only letter book I can think of right now is The Whole Truth by Kit Pearson. It's Not all letters, only one section, but it's a good book anyway. It used to be my favourite.

    Julia

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