Paris Letters ($5.25 for Kindle, $11.87 for paperback) by Janice MacLeod
Paris Letters is a travelogue/memoir with a bit of self-help thrown in for good measure. The book was pulled together from the author’s personal journals, blog and letters to become this short book about her journey from a disappointed 30-something copywriter to an expat living in Paris. She was influenced to start journaling by Julia Margaret Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and her morning pages ritual which is something quite familiar to me so I was intrigued to see where this lead MacLeod. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive on Amazon so the people who appreciated her tale. She has gone on to create illustrated travel letters that can be purchased on Etsy as well as a web site with a blog and more content. I read the book over a week that I was down with a cold and it was a light read. I enjoyed seeing her illustrated letters sprinkled throughout. While there was some romance in the overall story, this was definitely not about letters as a means for making a romantic connection.
The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication ($11.99 for Kindle, $14.04 for hardback, used copies can be found for much less) by Margaret Shepherd
This is one of many good books to help set someone, maybe even yourself, back on the path of writing notes and letters by hand. If you are a regular reader of this blog you are probably someone who writes letters or has considered it as something you might want to do anyway as an opportunity to practice your penmanship, try out your new inks or have yet another excuse to use all those pens in your collection. This book lays out simple reasons why handwritten notes and letters remain relevant today and include some tips for what to say (and what not to say) in some of the more formal occasions like thank you notes, condolence cards and apologies. This is not at all a manners book and does not include lengthy ways to format wedding invitations but rather wordings to make things clear and non-confrontational when writing to a landlord or writing a Dear John letter. It also has tips for improving your handwriting as the author is a known calligrapher. Its a small book and written in a conversational tone that makes it easy to read and a good jumping off point and the quotes peppered throughout are a nice touch.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing ($11.99 for Kindle, $20.35 for hardback, used copies can be found for much less) by Nina Sankovitch
Signed,Sealed, Delivered was written by the author of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is full of essays about letters. There’s a whole essay about how letters were used to prosecute kidnappers and killers, or not. There’s another essay about a woman who wrote a thank you letter to Edison for electricity. It’s just a pleasing book of stories with letters at the heart of each story and how could we not appreciate that?
The Art of the Personal Letter: A Guide to Connecting Through the Written Word ($11.99 for Kindle, $10.39 for hardback, used copies can be found for much less) by Margaret Shepherd
The Art of The Personal Letter is also by Margaret Shepherd who wrote The Art of the Handwritten Note. The Art of the Personal Letter includes some elements mentioned in The Art of the Handwritten Note but the Personal Letter definitely delves deeper into letter-writhing specifically. If you are looking for something to help keep your creative juices flowing through InCoWriMo/LetterMo, I would recommend picking up The Art of the Personal Letter rather the Handwritten Note as more of the content will be relevant to you. Personal Letter still includes info on materials and pens and handwriting repair but then the remainder of the content focuses on longer form letters rather than notes or other types of correspondence. I figure by week 3 of InCoWriMo, ideas for writing letters to the future and letters to my congressmen might be great ideas.
Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art ($9.99 for Kindle, $4.85 for paperback) by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler
I cannot believe I have not written about this book before! This is one of my favorite sources for inspiration in making mail art, decorated envelope and epistolary adventures. I highly recommend buying the paper edition, especially at the low, low prices currently listed on Amazon. The paperback edition of the book includes stickers and templates and is in full color. Such a fun and funky resource for creating mail art. And I’m not just saying that because I know the authors!