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Books That Include Snail Mail



Kolagnostos

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I seem to gravitate towards films that include letters somehow, but have found it has happened with BOOKS as well. Unfortunately I can’t sit still long enough to read books. (I feel terrible when I have to confess this to my correspondents who all seem to love reading!)

But I do collect children’s books and have found that for such a small collection I have picked up several that in one form or another have something to do with Letters or Snail Mail. This thread is for Books only. (I’ve made a separate one for films). I’m hoping the members of FPN will help compile a list of Books that include Snail Mail as part of the story. (They don’t have to be children’s books. :))

 

 

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Holly Hobbie’s children’s books are enchanting on their own! But add Snail Mail and I am undone! In the title “Toot & Puddle” these two friends are separated for a year through Toot’s world travel while Puddle stays home. Toot’s postcards are features in many of the spreads of this whimsical book. (Postcards might be a way to get children interested in snail mail… just saying’)

 

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Another cool thread!!!

 

Among the first ones that come to my minds are....

 

1) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

 

The whole first half is pretty much a series of letters!

 

2) Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

 

The whole story begins with a letter....

 

3). The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

 

A dark side of what letters can represent....

 

Incidentally there is another great book by Higashino, titled "Letters", in which the main thread is the whole story is a series of letters. It is an amazing book, but as far as I can find on Amazon, it is not translated into English. I read this in original (Japanese) edition, and LOVED it.... I see that a bunch more books by Higashino has been translated into English, so- hopefully this one will become available in the near future.

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The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, a novel that is based on Dracula, is also told by a series of letters, manuscripts, and journal entries.

 

The Associate by John Grisham includes a bunch of snail mail/ envelopes sent by FedEx. After all, in this day and age, it maybe the only secure way of communication....

 

Another book that comes to my mind is "The Prisoner of Heaven" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Letters seem to appear whenever an important event takes place. In the first book of this series, "The Shadow of the Wind", a fountain pen plays a small, but important role, worthy of Best Supporting Actor award. The second book of the series, "Angel's Game" is all about writing/ books/ manuscripts.

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Here are a few more that came to my mind...

 

"A Demon in my View" by Ruth Rendell. The story begins when Arthur Johnson opens a letter that came to his neighbor, named Anthony Johnson, by mistake. One thing leads to another, all the way to the catastrophic end....

 

"Goodbye Tsugumi" by Banana Yoshimoto. The episode of ghost's mailbox shows Tsugumi's personality quite well...

 

"The Children's Corner" by Jackson Tippet McCrae. It is a collection of short stories, and two of those are around snail mail. One of those, "Christmas Comes but Once a Year" is a hilarious look into one of those Christmas News letter that some families send out...

 

"The Time: Night" by Ludmila Petrushevskaya. The book begins when the writer receives an envelope in the mail... "a dusty file stuffed with loose pages, children's exercise books, blank telegram forms, all covered with writing" which is supposed to be a manuscript. There are other letters and diary entries in the book-within-a-book, kind of like a literal matryoshka, all showing the life of four-generations of mothers and children in modern Russia.

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You seem to be thinking of books with letters as part of the plot. I hope you do not mind my chiming in here with books of letters. There are two books which came out of the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art. The one is

More Than Words which is made up of letters written by artists in which they have included drawings or illustrations. The other book is Pen To Paper; Artists handwritten Letters. In both books are reproductions of the actual letters...Georgia O'keeffe has intriguing handwriting but then so does her husband, Alfreg Stieglitz. While there isn't any plot the books give a glimpse into the lives of some famous American artists.

 

P.S. some of them have horrible handwriting!

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More Than Words is fun just to flip through, whether you sit down to actually read the letters or not. Variable quality of art & handwriting both (along with the occasional skewed lines of writing that would drive me crazy if it were my own :gaah: ), but a great book to consider.

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84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

 

The true story of the 20 year correspondence between American writer Helene Hanff and the staff of an antiquarian book store at 84 Charing Cross Road in London. The book was also made into a movie.

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I also thought of 84 Charing Cross Road.

 

There's also a wonderful illustrated children's book, "The Jolly Postman" by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, which includes actual letters in envelopes which children can remove and read as part of the plot. My copy is all but disintegrating after years of enthusiastic fans. I think there was also a Christmas version but I don't possess it.

"Life would split asunder without letters." Virginia Woolf

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One I am reading right now is First Family by David Baldacci. The bad guy sends at least two letters (typewritten) and although we don't see reproductions, if I recall the scene correctly, where the first is spoken of it does tell you the text of the letter when opened by the recipient.

 

Another book, I read regularly while I don't recall letters in it, it does talk about a journal the protagonist is writing. That is Again to Carthage by John L. Parker, Jr. It has been about 9-12 months since I last read it.

Brad

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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Edit: Spoiler Alert! Links contain relevance information which includes spoilers.

Edited by Bookman

I love the smell of fountain pen ink in the morning.

 

 

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The Venetian's Wife by Nick Bantock incorporates letters into the story. Many of his books either use letters as part of the plot or letters are used as part of the collages that are often used in illustrations. One of my favorite books is The Forgetting Room by Bantock, which I believe mentions letters.

Edited by linearM
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The Griffin & Sabine series by Nick Bantock (8 or 9 books now with 2 recently released) is composed of (printed) postcards and actual letters/envelopes. A fun process with a slightly illicit feel as you literally open and read someone else's correspondence. Earlier books can be hard to find but are some of the best, IMO.

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You seem to be thinking of books with letters as part of the plot. I hope you do not mind my chiming in here with books of letters. There are two books which came out of the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art. The one is

More Than Words which is made up of letters written by artists in which they have included drawings or illustrations. The other book is Pen To Paper; Artists handwritten Letters. In both books are reproductions of the actual letters...Georgia O'keeffe has intriguing handwriting but then so does her husband, Alfreg Stieglitz. While there isn't any plot the books give a glimpse into the lives of some famous American artists.

 

P.S. some of them have horrible handwriting!

 

I really like this idea. I may have to gift these to myself soon!

I have a particular interest in O'Keeffe

 

See inside here

 

graphics-book-cover-more-than-words.jpg?

 

 

 

See inside here

 

http://www.scrubbles.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/PenToPaper_03.jpg

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I just happened to find another book relating to artists and letters. Perhaps another that I will have to get, I own the other two. This book seems very appropriate given that Valentines Day isn't that far off.

The book is: With Love: Artists'Letters and Illustrated Notes by Liza Kirwin. The letters in this book are also coming from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art.

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The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, a novel that is based on Dracula, is also told by a series of letters, manuscripts, and journal entries.

 

The Associate by John Grisham includes a bunch of snail mail/ envelopes sent by FedEx. After all, in this day and age, it maybe the only secure way of communication....

 

Another book that comes to my mind is "The Prisoner of Heaven" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Letters seem to appear whenever an important event takes place. In the first book of this series, "The Shadow of the Wind", a fountain pen plays a small, but important role, worthy of Best Supporting Actor award. The second book of the series, "Angel's Game" is all about writing/ books/ manuscripts.

 

This series seems quite intriguing.

 

Book Trailer here for those searching for a trilogy with letters.... dum dum dum dum :ninja:

 

tumblr_mn8n1hetp91rsh471o1_500.jpg

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okay, let's shift gear to the most extreme example:

S. by J.J. Abrams.

This book looks like a library book thats's been used by two people to communicate. The book is filled with written comments and contains a load of inserted letters and postcards (real, fysical insertions, if you're not carefull with this book, they'll drop out and your floor is covered with them). A fascinating reading experience.

 

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