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What a timely and inspiring list, Danielle.
I would also suggest "In Tearing
Haste: Letters between Deborah
Devonshire and Patrick Leigh

Do you think any of our letters
written during the Month of Letters
will find their way into a book?


I've got two that I'm about to dip into - Up the Country by Emily Eden, letters from India to her sister, in the 1840s, and a Mitford sisters one - Nancy to Evelyn Waugh. I don't think I actually own any others (I usually get them from the library) but I would love to own Noel Coward's book of letters.


Thank you for this great list, Danielle. I will be putting quite a few of them on my hold list at the library.


Hi Belle--we are on the same wave-length as I saw your post on google reader and marked it to read this weekend! Thanks for the reminder of the PLF and Deborah Devonshire book of letters--I wanted it when it first came out, but just added it to my wishlist--I am happy to see it is out in paper in the UK and so have ordered it via Amazon! Wouldn't it be cool to think one of our letters might end up in an anthology someday? You never know! As letter writing seems to be a dying art--we might not have a lot of competition at the moment! :)


I have added Up the Country to my wishlist--it does sound interesting. I had been eyeing that book of letters between Nancy and Evelyn, too. The Mitfords wrote lots of letters it seems. I don't think I've ever read an entire book of letters before, so am looking forward to doing so this year!


I'm always happy to oblige! :) I own most of these, but I'll be joining you in getting the others from the library!

Margaret @ BooksPlease

I like letters too. I've just got three collections - The Mitford Sisters Letters and Jane Austen's Letters, both of which I've yet to read, and C S Lewis's Letters to an American Lady, which I read years ago and can't remember much about!

I'd also like to read Daphne du Maurier's Letters From Menabilly: Portrait Of A Friendship.


I've just stumbled on your blog and what a perfect post for me to begin with -- I love letters, writing and reading them. I have many, many things I could suggest for your already excellent list, but I'll stick with one, for now.

I loved "What There Is To Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxell." I posted about it awhile ago and cannot recommend it highly enough.

Happy to have found you --


That a great topic for a list. Some of the collections sound wonderful. I have a few books with letters but only two of these Bright Star and Love Virtually. I've read the Glattauer bit not the other one. I hope you will enjoy them and tell us all about it.


It's so amazing how you do it, making another list of thirteen and I've only read and/or heard about one of them. A highly recommended one that is however: An Interrupted Life, by Etty Hillesum.
I too have quite a few on my shelf. How about William Maxwell-Sylvia Townsend Warner The Element of Lavishness, Aurelia Schober Plath: Sylvia Plath, Letters Home or Martin Doerry, My Wounded Heart, Life of Lilli Jahn 1900-1944, in a Dutch translation that last one. Enjoy your month of letters.


My favorite epistolary book is 84 Charing Cross Road, which I believe you've already read. I also recommend one of Anne Morrow Lindberg's published diary/letter combinations. There are lots of fascinating possibilities in your list and in the comments. I'm getting out my pen and paper!

(By the way, if you "need" someone else to send a postcard to this month, feel free to add me to your list!)

Clive John Edwards

I still have some letters written by colleagues from my degree course in the 1970s after we had all parted. One of my girl friends (note the space - I had a lot of female friends since I was the only bloke on a 30 person librarianship course)wrote her letters on the back of book jackets when she was working in acquisitions. One of them has to be worth going in an anthology - perhaps we can compile one ourselves.

Joan Hunter Dunn

I'm currently reading Diana Athill Instead of a book, which I dip into before going to sleep, it's perfect for that time. Really enjoyed Mitford letters & you've reminded me that I want to read Etty Hillesum.


Such a nice list! Thanks for the reminder about Foreign Correspondence. I picked up a secondhand copy about a year ago and promptly forgot all about it until now!


What a cool idea--very colorful writing paper. I wonder if the paper then was lighter/thinner and easier to use as writing paper. Some of the glossy paper used now seems pretty thick, but in thinking about it--it would make for cool envelopes! My library removes the dust jackets, too, and eventually they get discarded--may have to see about rescuing some of the nicer jackets from the recycling bin! It would make for a cool anthology--mail art really!


I didn't realize there was a book of Jane Austen's letters--will have to check that out. The Mitfords did a lot of letter writing it seems--I am never quite sure where to start with them as I have a good bio of the sisters I'd like to read first, but also a book of letters and then some of the novels they write. And I wonder if I have the Daphne du Maurier--looking at the cover on Amazon--I don't think so--have added it to my wishlist--thanks for the suggestions.


Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment--your most welcome here any time! I have looked at that book of letters between Eudora Welty and William Maxwell--I love William Maxwell's writing and what little I've read of Eudora Welty--now I will have to check and see if the book is out in paper yet! Feel free to offer any other suggestions, too, as they are always much appreciated.


I remember when you read the Glattauer--that is what prompted me to buy it as well. I hope to read/start reading Bright Star this weekend finally--maybe books of letters will be a new (very low key) reading project. I love books like that as they are easy to pick up and dip into and then set aside for a while. Right now think I am drawn more to nonfiction books--actual letters than a novel, but I have both types on my reading pile at the moment.


I was just thinking earlier of pulling the Etty Hillesum book from my shelves! I have heard many good things about it but I think I need to be in the right frame of mind for a book like that. The last book sounds amazing and have added it to my wishlist (may have to put a book order together this weekend!). The Maxwell book sounds great, too. I love his writing--love that era of writing from the New Yorker in general. I love making book lists and I spend far too much time browsing online for books, so I love sharing my 'finds' here!


You were already on my list as a matter of fact! :) It's going to be fun sending out a few postcards every day--I really do enjoy sending them--not that I need an excuse, but... I love 84 Charing Cross Road, too. I was going to put it on this list, but I thought I would look for some different titles that I have in my piles. I still want to read Anne Morrow Lindbergh by the way--I need to get moving again on my diaries--January was a busy month of readalongs, so I think February needs to be about my own book projects!


What are you reading by her? I recently bought a book of her short stories, which I have not yet had the chance to pick up and read. I have accumulated a little pile of books by and about the Mitfords--am going to get to them someday!


It looks interesting, doesn't it? I love the premise (and I used to have lots of penpals when I was younger, too). I have heard it is very much a memoir, too, of the author's life.


Wonderful list as always. Upstairs in a large box I have a year of emails between myself and my best friend. We were both at crossroads in our lives and decided to explore them together via long distance. What memories - thanks for bring them back for me.


How cool that you have saved emails--I am not always very good at saving them and think it is a pity at what is being lost by hitting that delete key! I do love reading books of correspondence and am looking forward to picking up some of these books this year!


I do love your lists, and this is a great one. I'd very much like to read those Patrick Leigh Fermor-Deborah Mitford letters. Two such vivid and lively characters must have had a wonderful correspondence!


I've gone and ordered that collection of letters. I do hope to pick up the next book that PLF wrote about his travels as a young man. They do seem to have had colorful and quite full lives!


What a great list -- I love your Thursday Thirteens and of course I especially love this one! I've read Letters of a Woman Homesteader and really enjoyed it. Funnily enough, I am currently reading From A to X! I have 800 Years of Women's Letters and The Salt Letters on my shelves but haven't got to them yet...oh, so many choices :)

I don't know if you've read Letters of a Portuguese Nun, or the modern study of them by Miriam Cyr -- I've read the first and have the Cyr on my TBR stack -- it's a fascinating story.


Oh, yes, I've also just posted about my first day of Letter Month and my visit to Toronto's First Post Office!


I love making book lists--if only to rediscover books on my shelves that I've not thought about in a while! :) Letters of a Woman Homesteader is actually a library book that is on my desk at work at the moment--a coworker read it, too. Yes, too many choices. I am very keen to read an actual book of letters--the Keats/Brawne book is pretty slight. I've not read either of the books you mention, so am now off to check them out. Thanks, by the way, for the retweet of the list--very kind of you! :)


Cool! Am off to check that out, too!

Liz F

Lovely post Danielle. I have the Etty Hillesum on my Persephone shelf and I think I also have a couple of Mitford related books of letters too (I think the Debo- Patrick Leigh Fermor is one of them)so I have plenty to be going on with but I do like the looks of Foriegn Correspondence, The Salt Letters and Letters of a Woman Homesteader as well as the letters between Eudora Welty and William Maxwell that has been mentioned in comments.
Now trying very hard to resist the temptation to head on over to Amazon....


I don't have the lovely Persephone edition of the Hillesum, but another one--reads the same, just not the nice dove grey cover. I was just thinking I should pull it out as a possible read, but maybe I should really wait and try not to get distracted from the little pile that I am determined to finish this month. I ordered the PLF/Debo book of letters and am looking forward to getting it. I had this idea that I would do a whole Mitford project, but it sort of fizzled--I started the bio of the Mitford Sisters--still want to read it, but I am such a slow NF reader and already have Three NFs started. I also want that Welty-Maxwell book of letters and think it is out in paper--may have to break down and use one of my gift cards to order a few books this week. Not that I don't already have Plenty to read right now...


Hi! I just wanted to say (a) I like this post A LOT, so thanks. Also (b) there are some great letters between Pasternak, Tsvetayeva, and Rilke:

Your post just reminded the magic of these letters, and these people. Letters are great!

Liz F

I had the same idea of a Mitford project myself last year. What I really wanted to do was read the book of Mitford letters that everyone was talking about but I felt that I needed to know more about them first in order to get the most out of it so I purchased and started the latest biography - which is now sitting on my bedroom floor with the book mark still in place, but having failed to move for the past nine months or so!
Not because I wasn't enjoying it, but because lack of time caused a reading hiatus. By the time I was in a position to get back to some serious reading again, my butterfly mind had flitted off and settled on another project: this one was to read social history of the 20th century starting with just before WW1 with Juliet Nicolson's The Perfect Summer set in 1911; that book is also in the pile with a bookmark a couple of chapters in which hasn't moved for months either!
I caught myself considering another reading project the other day - this time of WW2 diaries/letters (Vere Hodgson, Etty Hillesum, Mathilde Wolff-Monckeberg, Nella Last)but on second thoughts maybe I should just get on with one of those already started first!


Thanks so much for the link--that book looks great and I am going to add it to my next book order! I am always on the look out for good books and as letters are of particular interest to me at the moment--think I must have this one! :) Cheers!

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