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Bride of the Book God

I loved Vanessa and her Sister; I was lucky enough to meet the author and get the book signed, and I enjoyed the story so much. Would definitely recommend.


I have both In Tearing Haste and the Welty/Maxwell book on my shelves- both lucky purchases from charity shops - but I am currently reading a fat volume of excerpts from travellers' diaries and letters with one or two entries for each day of the year.
It is a beautiful book and was clearly very expensive but I'm guessing that it was an unwanted present as it looks as though it has never been read (absolutely spotless and the ribbon book mark was still curled in the pages as they are when you first get them)
Absolutely fascinating as well with excerpts from all over the world and from several centuries too - it does skip about a bit but it is ideal to just pick up for just a few minutes at the beginning or end of the day.

Joy O'Toole

I enjoyed Vanessa and Her Sister, but I love Anne Morrow Lindbergh's volumes of diaries and letters. I have read Bring Me a Unicorn several times and it always pleases.

Have you read Meet Me at the Museum, a debut novel from last year by Anne Youngson. It's a lovely epistulary novel.


Haven't read any of those, but one fun and quick epistolary novel I've read is Lady Susan by Jane Austen. You can't go wrong with Austen, right?


These all sound good. I’m particularly intrigued by the Lady Murasaki Diary and may add it to my list for later primarily because I just started reading her novel The Tale of Genji. I read and enjoyed What There Is to Say We Have Said a couple years ago; while it’s not a short book, as you say, one nice thing about books of letters is you can read them a few at a time and enjoy the book that much longer. An enticing recent collection of letters that went right on my wish list is Dramatic Exchanges: The Lives and Letters of the National Theater edited by Daniel Rosenthal which includes “letters, telegrams, scribbled notes and colorful postcards of its main players”. And ITA, Lady Susan is a fun read with a different twist from Ms Austen.


I second the recommendation of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Bring Me a Unicorn. I've read all the collections of her diaries and letters available (I think) multiple times, and I just love her. Bring Me a Unicorn is the shortest and easiest to read. Always fun to get a peek inside a person's life through their own words.


I love novels in epistolary form but honestly I can't think of a nonfiction book of letters that I've read. I did read a Van Gogh biography which had quite a few letters. Anyway, I think whichever one you chose you'll have some great reading ahead of you!


Thanks-that is so good to know. I need to dig my copy out of my book pile. I was so excited when it first came out. I am hoping to read more of those books--the ones I HAD to have and still sit unread (even as the paperback editions have come out...).


You have piqued my curiosity now! What is the name of the travel book? It sounds like something I would like. Lucky you to find it in a secondhand shop! I want to read a book of letters but for the short term, I might stick with a novel. I have three (!!) books of nonfiction in progress at the moment so another one might not be the best idea at the moment--considering how slow I am reading them.


I have long wanted to read those journals of AML. I have the first few. I loved Gift from the Sea, which I do want to read again. AS a matter of fact the Youngson is waiting for me at the library on the hold shelf. If I dare brave the Arctic cold (winter is here to stay it seems) I might go get my holds tomorrow after work...


I read Lady Susan several years ago but Jane Austen is always worth revisiting. It was made into a movie, too, which I saw but wouldn't mind seeing again. No, you can never go wrong with Jane Austen--maybe I need to read one of her books to jump start my classic reading with her?!


Diaries are the same--nice books to dip into daily. Ah, to have more reading time. I am adding Dramatic Exchanges to my wishlist--will have to see if my library has it. The Murasaki book is quite slender--maybe you could make it a companion read. You will have to let me know how Tale of Genji goes. It is one of those books I would like to read someday. Did you see the movie adaptation of Lady Susan? Ir would actually be quite fun to reread!


i know you are a fan of AML--I was wondering if you would see this post! :)I might just go and grab that first book.... It says something if you have reread those books.


I couldn't come up with many books (just the usual suspects) but all of a sudden I am coming across new books that have letters or diary excerpts left and right. I think two of the books that are waiting for me at the library are epistolary format. I will have to share them when I go pick them up.


Thanks for tip re Lady Susan movie. I’m on a bit of a movie binge right now (thank you, Netflix and Amazon Prime) and an Austen movie would be fun. Of course, the movie binge cuts into my reading time, but it does make a change! I’ve got Jane Smiley’s big book on the novel that I’d like to read some time — she reads and comments on a hundred novels, and the first in her list is The Tale of Genji, so that was one of the prompts getting me to take it off the shelf. Another was a request for a buddy read on Goodreads. I had forgotten how pretty the edition I have is with lots of woodcut illustrations, and I’m enjoying reading it, but making slow progress. Not that it’s a difficult read, I just have too many other books underway. I have a feeling you can identify with that dilemma ;)


I also have Amazon Prime and Netflix and follow several series, but I tend to save them for weekends and later in the evening when I know I can't focus on reading. I have that same feeling--should I watch this (or do something else--) when I could be reading?! I have seen that Smiley book--it looks like something that would be fun to dip into. I used to read a few really big books a year but I can't seem to read classics hardly at all these days. It is always fun to have a reading buddy to encourage each other to stick with a longer book. You'll have to let me know how the Tale of Genji goes! Maybe I will look for a good early-ish classic to try and read this year. I have been thinking of something French--maybe a Zola or Flaubert. Or, something else entirely, a Trollope novel. I am forever in the 'thinking about' mode, however, it seems!


It was a very lucky find - they dont happen that often! The book is called A Travellers Year: 365 Days of Travel Writing in Diaries, Journals and Letters compiled by Travis Elborough and Nick Bennison.

I have had a quick look online and you can get second-hand copies of the hardback quite cheaply.

Sorry to put temptation into your path but my search for it has put temptation in my path too - the editors have also compiled A London Year and that is now firmly on my wish list.

Sent from my iPhone


Maybe you’ll find a classic that works for one of your reading challenges or prompts? The year is still young so lots of reading time stretches ahead of us ;). And a good thing given how long Tale of Genji is. ;) I’ll let you know how it goes.


Thanks--I think I can get a used copy cheap, but I will see if I can find a library copy to begin with. It looks like excerpts and diary entries? A nice way to get a taste of a writer's work but maybe dangerous to start a new wishlist of more books....!

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