Few things are as exciting, and potentially life-changing, as discovering an old letter. And while etiquette books still extol the practice, letter writing seems to be disappearing amid a flurry of e-mails, texting, and tweeting. The recent decline in letter writing marks a cultural shift so vast that in the future historians may divide time not between BC and AD but between the eras when people wrote letters and when they did not. So New York Times bestselling author Simon Garfield asks: Can anything be done to revive a practice that has dictated and tracked the progress of civilization for more than five hundred years?
In To the Letter, Garfield traces the fascinating history of letter writing from the love letter and the business letter to the chain letter and the letter of recommendation. He provides a tender critique of early letter-writing manuals and analyzes celebrated correspondence from Erasmus to Princess Diana. He also considers the role that letters have played as a literary device from Shakespeare to the epistolary novel, all the rage in the eighteenth century and alive and well today with bestsellers like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. At a time when the decline of letter writing appears to be irreversible, Garfield is the perfect candidate to inspire bibliophiles to put pen to paper and create - "a form of expression, emotion, and tactile delight we may clasp to our heart."
Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)
"Katherine Mansfield once wrote to a friend, "This is not a letter but my arms around you for a brief moment." Garfield provides a fond, lovely reflection on the essence of that sentiment." - Kirkus
"Garfield's book dodges between sociology, political history and literary criticism, and is over-extended by anecdotal detours about the cost of paper, the trade in manuscripts, and his current home in a former post office garage." - The Guardian
The information about To the Letter shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.
Simon Garfield was born in London in 1960. He won the Guardian/National Union of Students "Student Journalist of the Year" award In 1981, and the same year became a sub-editor at the Radio Times (a UK guide to what's on TV and radio).
He wrote scripts for BBC radio documentaries in the early 1980s, and wrote for Time Out magazine (where he was acting editor from 1988-1989).
He has written for newspapers such as The Independent on Sunday and The Observer. He was named Mind Journalist of the Year in 2005. The award celebrates exceptional writing on mental health issues in the local, national, trade and consumer press.
He is the author of a dozen books of nonfiction including Just My Type, published in 2010 in the UK and 2011 in the USA.
Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions
From NYT bestselling author Ann Leary
The captivating story of an unconventional New England family.
Solve this clue:
and be entered to win..
Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.
Your guide toexceptional books
BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.