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Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience

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Letters of Note is a collection of one hundred and twenty five of the world's most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters, based on the seismically popular website of the same name - an online museum of correspondence visited by over 70 million people. From Virginia Woolf's heart-breaking suicide letter, to Queen Elizabeth II's recipe for drop scones sent to President Letters of Note is a collection of one hundred and twenty five of the world's most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters, based on the seismically popular website of the same name - an online museum of correspondence visited by over 70 million people. From Virginia Woolf's heart-breaking suicide letter, to Queen Elizabeth II's recipe for drop scones sent to President Eisenhower; from the first recorded use of the expression 'OMG' in a letter to Winston Churchill, to Gandhi's appeal for calm to Hitler; and from Iggy Pop's beautiful letter of advice to a troubled young fan, to Leonardo da Vinci's remarkable job application letter, Letters of Note is a celebration of the power of written correspondence which captures the humour, seriousness, sadness and brilliance that make up all of our lives. Including letters from: Queen Elizabeth II, Elvis Presley, Charles Schulz, Leonardo da Vinci, Iggy Pop, Fidel Castro, Anaïs Nin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Amelia Earhart, Charles Darwin, Roald Dahl, Albert Einstein, Dorothy Parker, John F. Kennedy, Groucho Marx, Charles Dickens, Katharine Hepburn, Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Clementine Churchill, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut and many more.


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Letters of Note is a collection of one hundred and twenty five of the world's most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters, based on the seismically popular website of the same name - an online museum of correspondence visited by over 70 million people. From Virginia Woolf's heart-breaking suicide letter, to Queen Elizabeth II's recipe for drop scones sent to President Letters of Note is a collection of one hundred and twenty five of the world's most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters, based on the seismically popular website of the same name - an online museum of correspondence visited by over 70 million people. From Virginia Woolf's heart-breaking suicide letter, to Queen Elizabeth II's recipe for drop scones sent to President Eisenhower; from the first recorded use of the expression 'OMG' in a letter to Winston Churchill, to Gandhi's appeal for calm to Hitler; and from Iggy Pop's beautiful letter of advice to a troubled young fan, to Leonardo da Vinci's remarkable job application letter, Letters of Note is a celebration of the power of written correspondence which captures the humour, seriousness, sadness and brilliance that make up all of our lives. Including letters from: Queen Elizabeth II, Elvis Presley, Charles Schulz, Leonardo da Vinci, Iggy Pop, Fidel Castro, Anaïs Nin, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Amelia Earhart, Charles Darwin, Roald Dahl, Albert Einstein, Dorothy Parker, John F. Kennedy, Groucho Marx, Charles Dickens, Katharine Hepburn, Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Clementine Churchill, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut and many more.

30 review for Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mutasim Billah

    Letters of Note is a collection of over a hundred correspondences across time. There isn't a unique theme to these letters and their arrangement is quite random. "The highlights are endless, but let me pluck a handful from the bag to whet your appetite. We have a letter from Mick Jagger to Andy Warhol that contains a wonderfully laid-back design brief for a Rolling Stones album cover; a handwritten note from Queen Elizabeth II to US President Eisenhower which is accompanied by Ma’am’s personal Letters of Note is a collection of over a hundred correspondences across time. There isn't a unique theme to these letters and their arrangement is quite random. "The highlights are endless, but let me pluck a handful from the bag to whet your appetite. We have a letter from Mick Jagger to Andy Warhol that contains a wonderfully laid-back design brief for a Rolling Stones album cover; a handwritten note from Queen Elizabeth II to US President Eisenhower which is accompanied by Ma’am’s personal scone recipe; a remarkable and masterful riposte from a freed slave to his old master that will leave many of you punching the air; Virginia Woolf’s heart-rending final letter to her husband, written shortly before taking her own life; a beautiful, delicate letter of advice from Iggy Pop to a troubled young fan that could warm the coldest of hearts; a truly incredible letter penned by scientist Francis Crick to his son, in which he announces the discovery of the structure of DNA; a harrowing account of a mastectomy performed without anaesthetic, written by the 60-year old patient to her daughter; and an extraordinary job application letter from one of history’s most celebrated minds, Leonardo da Vinci. On your travels you will read love letters, rejection letters, fan letters, apology letters; you will be saddened, maddened, delighted and shocked. One of the letters, imprinted into a clay tablet, dates all the way back to the 14th century BC; the most recent is just a few years old. However, despite their many flavours, I am hopeful that all will captivate you as they have me and whisk you to a point in time far more effectively than the average history book – indeed, I can think of no better way to learn about the past than through the often candid correspondence of those who lived it." -Shaun Usher in the foreword The book's aesthetic is enhanced with scanned copies of the originals of the letters. The stories are quite remarkable, but I felt they are too random to be read in one sitting. The collection seemed to me to be something one would like to leaf through at will to read at leisure. It also might make a good addition to the coffee-table for others. Here are a few samples. "In March 1973, acclaimed author E.B. White wrote the following perfectly formed reply to a Mr Nadeau, who sought White’s opinion on what he saw as a bleak future for the human race. " "In 1934, a New York copywriter by the name of Robert Pirosh quit his well-paid job and headed for Hollywood, determined to begin the career of his dreams as a screenwriter. When he arrived, he gathered the names and addresses of as many directors, producers and studio executives as he could find and sent them what is surely one of the greatest, most effective cover letters ever to be written; a letter which secured him three interviews, one of which led to his job as a junior writer at MGM. Fifteen years later, screenwriter Robert Pirosh won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his work on the war film, Battleground. A few months after that, he also won a Golden Globe." A heartwarming reply from Roald Dahl to seven-year-old Amy, who had sent him one of her dreams, contained in a bottle, along with a letter. The dream is an allusion to the BFG, one of Amy's favorite Dahl books, wonderful, magical story of a Big Friendly Giant who collects nice dreams and then blows them through the windows of sleeping children. Happy reading!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mayra

    This one is truly amazing. Such a beautiful collection of inspiring letters. Will reread this many times, I think. Wish I had the physical copy, I would treasure it forever. Just lengthening my already humongous wishlist, I guess. Update April 2017: Did in fact get a physical copy and reread it! Still great.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Pink

    What a wonderful book. If you haven't seen it in real life, this is a beast of a thing. A huge, very well produced hardback, that would make a great coffee table book or an excellent gift. I've read through the 125 letters and they've made me both laugh and cry. There are some real gems included, by the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, Leonardo da Vinci, Elvis Presley, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein. There are many letters by authors such as Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Jack Kerouac and E What a wonderful book. If you haven't seen it in real life, this is a beast of a thing. A huge, very well produced hardback, that would make a great coffee table book or an excellent gift. I've read through the 125 letters and they've made me both laugh and cry. There are some real gems included, by the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, Leonardo da Vinci, Elvis Presley, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein. There are many letters by authors such as Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway, to name just a few. Four or five letters brought tears to my eyes, for various reasons and some of them were simply masterpieces. Possibly my favourite was letter no.19 'To my Old Master' which was fantastically composed and conveying everything we'd hope from a former slave. My advice is that you should rush out and borrow or buy yourself a copy, or if you're very lucky, ask for it as a gift, like I did last Christmas. It's quite a pricey book, RRP is £30. It's currently on sale at Amazon for £20 new, or about £15 second hand. It is available on kindle for £10.99, but don't get this. Once you see the book in real life you'll understand why. It's worth the full £30 and I don't ever like to pay more than £2-3 second hand for books. If you're ever going to pay full price, then this is a worthy contender, especially if you can seek it out from an independent book seller.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Orsolya

    I am a member of what feels like a very limited group of people who still favor “snail mail” and the written word. There is an element of romance involved which can’t be found in a text message or email. Although self described as a “poor letter-writer”; Shaun Usher equally sees the beauty of letters and compiles 125 of them in, “Letter of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience”. “Letters of Note” follows a simple concept: a compilation of 125 letters presen I am a member of what feels like a very limited group of people who still favor “snail mail” and the written word. There is an element of romance involved which can’t be found in a text message or email. Although self described as a “poor letter-writer”; Shaun Usher equally sees the beauty of letters and compiles 125 of them in, “Letter of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience”. “Letters of Note” follows a simple concept: a compilation of 125 letters presented in a glossy-paged, coffee-table book format. These letters scan centuries of time while their authors and recipients include various famous personalities (Elvis Presley, FDR, Einstein, Martin Luther King JR, Mary, Queen of Scots, Nick Cave, and Emily Dickinson to name a few) and also every-day folk like you and me. The actual text of the letters are accompanied by brief descriptions of the correspondence, date, and photos/scans of the letters or of the individuals involved. Usher notably presents these letters in a very cohesive way forming an even pace and a unified strain even though each page features a different letter. “Letters of Note” is in no way a jumbled mess and instead creates a spark of excitement, encouraging page-turning. Not to mention, the accompanying photos of the letters are highly pleasing as they bring the authors to life. Although the letters featured on the pages of “Letters of Note” are interesting enough on their own merit by showcasing a sort of ‘behind the scenes’ look at famous people and/or events; there is a prevalent deeper tone and message. “Letters of Note” brings to the forefront emotions of mankind, relatable experiences, the beauty of memories, and even the art of penmanship and grammar which has been fading away so quickly in an era of computer screens. The fact that “Letters of Note” can evoke so many emotions merely as a compilation book (versus of that with a narrative plot); makes it quite a success indeed. One of the worries of a compilation book is that similar to a book of short stories where some shorter-length tales aren’t as strong; shorter letters wouldn’t be as powerful as longer ones. Yet, despite the length of text or even the author, each letter is moving and tells stories far deeper than the literal words. “Letters of Note” is quite compelling. The biggest qualm concerning “Letters of Note” is the inclusion of repeated letters authors and recipients. Yes, the letters are unique and meaningful, but at times, it becomes tedious to see the same famous names repeated. A small detail worth noting (no pun intended) is the beautiful presentation of including an attached ribbon page-holder to “Letter of Note” which adds sentiment and an element of elegance. “Letters of Note” is a truly gratifying compilation exhibiting creativity on its surface while the true nature of human kind is offered in its deep unraveling. Whether one is searching for a quirky coffee table book or for some inspiration and faith; “Letters of Note” is suggested for all readers who still hold love for a traditional letter/note.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ALPHAreader

    Letters of Note started four years ago with the sole aim of bringing people, “correspondence deserving of a wider audience.” The collator of the blog and book is Shaun Usher, a writer himself, and I have long been a fan of his www.lettersofnote.com – so I was thrilled when he pitched the idea for a Letters of Note book to the crowd-sourced publisher, unbound. Eight pages at the back of the book list all of the unbound subscribers who made the Letters of Note book a reality, which is just lovely. Letters of Note started four years ago with the sole aim of bringing people, “correspondence deserving of a wider audience.” The collator of the blog and book is Shaun Usher, a writer himself, and I have long been a fan of his www.lettersofnote.com – so I was thrilled when he pitched the idea for a Letters of Note book to the crowd-sourced publisher, unbound. Eight pages at the back of the book list all of the unbound subscribers who made the Letters of Note book a reality, which is just lovely. The book itself is a design feast. UK design studio ‘here design’ are responsible for the cover design and typesetting; but for the sumptuous loveliness and heft, I’m quite surprised that it’s only retailing for AUD$49.99 – also surprised, because Usher has included reproductions of original documents throughout the book, which adds such quality and uniqueness. So there’s a stunning reproduction of her own stationary that Annie Oakley wrote on to US President William McKinley, when she was offering her army of “lady sharp-shooters” to the Spanish-American war (he declined). There’s also a full-page picture of a tablet (circa 1340 BC) from Ayyab to Amenhotep IV. A yellow legal-pad letter from John Kricfalusi includes doodles of what would later become his ‘Ren & Stimpy’ characters. And on the pages where letters could not be reproduced in their original form, Usher has included some stunning photographs of the correspondents. Like the haunting portrait of Virginia Woolf that accompanies her suicide note, discovered by her husband on their mantelpiece (“If anybody could have saved me it would have been you.”) Sometimes, when the correspondents were not famous enough to warrant a photograph, Usher has included photography – like the image of earth from outer-space to go with a letter from the director of science at NASA, to a Zambia-based nun (she wanted to know why billions of dollars was being spent on space travel, when there were children starving here on earth.) The letters are laid down in no particular order, rhyme or reason – and I love that. They are just as they came to us on the blog, each page-turn revealing a delightful treat. Here’s Ernest Hemingway giving writing advice to F. Scott Fitzgerald (“That is what we are supposed to do when we are at our best – make it all up – but make it up so truly that later it will happen that way.”) An award-winning Pixar writer/director responding to correspondence from a young fan, or a threatening letter addressed to Martin Luther King. There is a surprise with the turn of each page. And I was so pleased that my two favourite letters from the blog are included in this collection. The first is a letter of advice from John Steinbeck to his then fourteen-year-old son, Thom, who had fallen for a girl called Susan. “You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply – of course it isn’t puppy love.” I adore this because there’s such pleasure in knowing one of the greatest authors of all time wrote just as deeply and from the heart in his own correspondence with family as he did in the books that made him a legend. And he ends the letter “Love, Fa” – which just slays me. But my absolutely favourite letter is one of sadly macabre humour and chest-swelling triumph. ‘To My Old Master’ is a letter from Jourdon Anderson to Patrick Henry Anderson, dated August 7th 1865. Jourdon was slave to Patrick Henry for 32 years, but fled with his wife and children when Union Army soldiers freed the plantation. One year later (and after the Civil War), Jourdon’s old master wrote to him, asking that he return to work. Jourdon’s reply is magnificent, though Jourdon makes mention of the injustice and brutality he and his suffered under the old masters – “We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense.” The letter ends, “Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.” The ‘Letters of Note’ November release is perfectly timed – here is a book that will make a fine Christmas present, but an even better graduation gift. Herein are the magnificent, laugh-out-loud, heart-piercing letters that Usher was right to want to share with a much wider audience. Gift this book to someone and they’ll appreciate the humour, wisdom and eloquence of the 100 letters within.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Yodamom

    Hidden treasure between the covers. Letters from around the world, different times, the famous and not so famous, all have one thing in common, they are fascinating! I've had this on my coffee table for a couple weeks and everyone who has picked it up has had trouble putting it down. Hidden treasure between the covers. Letters from around the world, different times, the famous and not so famous, all have one thing in common, they are fascinating! I've had this on my coffee table for a couple weeks and everyone who has picked it up has had trouble putting it down.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    Marvellous book. I love that reproductions of (most of) the actual letters are included: they're exquisite, unreadable, elegant, crass, heartbreaking. It's fitting that the book is a beautiful artefact as well. The paper is a great weight, and not too glossy. I heart the shiny embossed cover. The size works great with the letter reproductions, but it did make it hard to read. This definitely wasn't commutable, and it was too big to read in bed or in an armchair. It requires a table and undivided Marvellous book. I love that reproductions of (most of) the actual letters are included: they're exquisite, unreadable, elegant, crass, heartbreaking. It's fitting that the book is a beautiful artefact as well. The paper is a great weight, and not too glossy. I heart the shiny embossed cover. The size works great with the letter reproductions, but it did make it hard to read. This definitely wasn't commutable, and it was too big to read in bed or in an armchair. It requires a table and undivided attention. Maybe that's exactly how it should be.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Some remarkable letters here, some of which are reproduced, which is all the better. I confess to not reading every single one. I dislike Ernest Hemingway, for example; I have Hemingway over-saturation and never need to hear of him again. My 2 favourites here were 1. "Sweetheart, Come," a profoundly sad letter from a crazy woman to her husband, especially worthwhile for being reproduced 2. "To my old master," from a former slave to his former master, which is basically an effective flipping of the Some remarkable letters here, some of which are reproduced, which is all the better. I confess to not reading every single one. I dislike Ernest Hemingway, for example; I have Hemingway over-saturation and never need to hear of him again. My 2 favourites here were 1. "Sweetheart, Come," a profoundly sad letter from a crazy woman to her husband, especially worthwhile for being reproduced 2. "To my old master," from a former slave to his former master, which is basically an effective flipping of the bird There were other worthwhile letters, like the one from the guy who foresaw the Challenger disaster, and the pissed-off guy who wrote to an environmental agency about a dam. I didn't like the show-offy letters, like Eudora Welty's (though I love Eudora Welty) and Groucho Marx. They were more irritating than amusing. All in all a nice collection. I gave it as a gift.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Conor Ahern

    Cute idea--reproducing correspondence between famous people to give insight into their personal lives, or the events of the time--but became a bit tedious after maybe 1/3 of the way through.

  10. 4 out of 5

    J.

    This is a wondrous collection of 125 letters selected from the cream of the crop on lettersofnote.com. The letters are wide ranging, letters of great historical importance, letters of consolation, some light hearted notes, letters from famous personages and letters from not so famous personages but that are equally as interesting. The collection includes such gems as a job application from Leonardo Da Vinci, Iggy Pop’s letter to a fan, Albert Einstein’s take on god, F. Scott Fitzgerald's letter o This is a wondrous collection of 125 letters selected from the cream of the crop on lettersofnote.com. The letters are wide ranging, letters of great historical importance, letters of consolation, some light hearted notes, letters from famous personages and letters from not so famous personages but that are equally as interesting. The collection includes such gems as a job application from Leonardo Da Vinci, Iggy Pop’s letter to a fan, Albert Einstein’s take on god, F. Scott Fitzgerald's letter of advice to his daughter Scottie, the letter sent to Baron William Parker in 1605 that foiled the gun powder plot and an Alabama attorney Generals official letter responding to a white supremacist’s threats “Kiss my ass”. One of my favourites was a Henry James letter of consolation to his friend Grace Norton a writer who was recently bereaved and in the throes of depression. It’s a beautiful, eloquent and warm letter. In 1944 Kurt Vonnegut was captured by the Germans brought to Dresden where he survived the bombing. He wrote a letter that explains the genesis of the book 'Slaughter house 5'. Even the medium of the letters are interesting. Galileo’s 1610 letter to Doge of Venice describing Jupiter’s four largest moons is written on parchment. JFK’s message requesting rescue from the Solomon Islands is carved onto a coconut shell. Also exhibited is writing on an Akkadian clay tablet and a telegram sent from the Titanic. The presentation is superb. Each letter has a short piece of background information, a facsimile of the actual letter and a transcript. Eighty percent of the letters were found by Usher by browsing through internet archives or visiting museums and archives, the remaining twenty percent are submitted by the public. Interestingly the publication of this collection was financed by crowd funding. This would make an excellent gift. There are some absolute gems. It’s expensive but surprising, moreish and wonderful. Viva the physical artefact!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katy Kelly

    One of my books of the year, I think I can say. It sounds rather lofty - a collection of letters from history - but I haven't reacted to any one book with not only tears and laughter but also feelings of great admiration, warmth and hope for mankind. Currently my colleague is reading it too, at my recommendation and feels just the same. So how does one book manage this? Collected together are letters from various points in time, from various countries and famous and not-so-famous people. The lette One of my books of the year, I think I can say. It sounds rather lofty - a collection of letters from history - but I haven't reacted to any one book with not only tears and laughter but also feelings of great admiration, warmth and hope for mankind. Currently my colleague is reading it too, at my recommendation and feels just the same. So how does one book manage this? Collected together are letters from various points in time, from various countries and famous and not-so-famous people. The letters themselves are often included. One is an original cuneiform letter from Ancient Egypt. Another a simple note in a long-dead language. one you won't forget shows a coconut shell, that John F Kennedy wrote an SOS note on in World War 2 when stranded on an island, that eventually brought rescue (and eventually made a White House paperweight). I dare you to not cheer as the former slave refuses eloquently to return to his former owner without guarantees and back pay. or to smile as the editor of the Sun convinces a young writer that there IS a Santa Claus. I cried reading the Elephant Man's doctor's words, Virginia Woolf's suicide note for her husband. Scott (of the Antarctic)'s letter "to my widow". Letters from mothers abandoning their babies at foundling homes. The Titanic telegram - no loss of life expected. I laughed at the note condemning Fawlty Towers, one encouraging President Nixon to eat his vegetables, a reply from a 'Top Scientist' to a boy's rocket design. All of humanity is here. Hitler's nephew wanting to fight against his relative. A Japanese kamikaze pilot writing home. Queen Elizabeth sending a drop scone recipe. Crick explaining the recently discovered DNA stricture to his nephew. Need I say more? The content speaks for itself. A book you can dip into or read again and again. It would make a precious gift and really is quite a beautiful object in its hardback, illustrated A4 state.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I have loved reading and writing letters since I was a little girl. It was ever so thrilling to go to the mailbox and bring back an envelope addressed to me, open it with reverent anticipation, and pour over the words meant for my eyes only. I know firsthand that one can KNOW a person from their letters. It's how I got to know my grandmother in spite of being miles and miles apart. Now a senior citizen I enjoy the friendship of five pen pals. We've written for over 15 years, pouring our hearts o I have loved reading and writing letters since I was a little girl. It was ever so thrilling to go to the mailbox and bring back an envelope addressed to me, open it with reverent anticipation, and pour over the words meant for my eyes only. I know firsthand that one can KNOW a person from their letters. It's how I got to know my grandmother in spite of being miles and miles apart. Now a senior citizen I enjoy the friendship of five pen pals. We've written for over 15 years, pouring our hearts out to each other and going through life's ups and downs together, so I know the power of a letter. I knew I would enjoy this book immensely. Some of the letters I was familiar with, while others I'd never read before. Some bring tears, and almost all of them give us an insight into the writer. My favorites were by Beethoven, Virginia Woolf, Louis Armstrong, Richard Feynman, and Sullivan Ballou. Sometimes in a letter a person's heart and soul appears in ink on paper. It's an incredible thing to see.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    This is a wonderful collection, full of surprises, wisdom, idiocy, humour and bleakness. I'd have given it five stars except that for me the typeface introducing the letters is exceptionally small. Okay for young eyes, but for old eyes, and ones that wear a second pair of glasses over his normal ones in order to read clearly, quite difficult to read, even in the best of light. I have a copy of Dickens' Bleak House in which the print is now almost impossible to read. I hate to think what such typ This is a wonderful collection, full of surprises, wisdom, idiocy, humour and bleakness. I'd have given it five stars except that for me the typeface introducing the letters is exceptionally small. Okay for young eyes, but for old eyes, and ones that wear a second pair of glasses over his normal ones in order to read clearly, quite difficult to read, even in the best of light. I have a copy of Dickens' Bleak House in which the print is now almost impossible to read. I hate to think what such typefaces did to printers' and proofreaders' eyes in the old days... Still, I managed to figure out most of the words (!), Shaun.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I really enjoyed reading through all these letters! Some standouts: the letter Mary Stuart wrote before she was to be executed - Charles Dickens' plea for an end to public executions - the words that would have been read by Nixon if Apollo 11 had not returned from the moon - a surreal letter written by Mark David Chapman - Albert Einstein's answer to a letter about whether scientists pray - and so many more. This edition has a ribbon bound into the binding so you can mark your place as you read I really enjoyed reading through all these letters! Some standouts: the letter Mary Stuart wrote before she was to be executed - Charles Dickens' plea for an end to public executions - the words that would have been read by Nixon if Apollo 11 had not returned from the moon - a surreal letter written by Mark David Chapman - Albert Einstein's answer to a letter about whether scientists pray - and so many more. This edition has a ribbon bound into the binding so you can mark your place as you read through these poignant, wise, funny, surprising and thoughtful missives.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    This took me quite a while to read because I read a letter here and a letter there, and then forgot that I had it in my Kindle app for a period! It’s an interesting concept - a collection of letters to and/or from famous people. Some are more interesting than others - some of the “famous” people I’ve never heard of, so they didn’t mean much to me. I liked that a lot of the letters included a copy of the original, so you could read them in the person’s own handwriting, if you wished. If their hand This took me quite a while to read because I read a letter here and a letter there, and then forgot that I had it in my Kindle app for a period! It’s an interesting concept - a collection of letters to and/or from famous people. Some are more interesting than others - some of the “famous” people I’ve never heard of, so they didn’t mean much to me. I liked that a lot of the letters included a copy of the original, so you could read them in the person’s own handwriting, if you wished. If their handwriting was indecipherable, a printed copy was also included.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gesine

    One of my books of this year! It shocks, it makes you laugh, it makes you want to cry, read passages out loudly, it inspires you and restores your faith in humanity. Read it slowly and savour it. It's perfect. One of my books of this year! It shocks, it makes you laugh, it makes you want to cry, read passages out loudly, it inspires you and restores your faith in humanity. Read it slowly and savour it. It's perfect.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Renata

    I disagree with the folks who found these letters boring! What an array of choices from a letter engraved on bark dating to 1350 to the hilarious retort to the Dept. of Environmental Quality from a Michigan man about a beaver dam in his stream. But my favorites are letters from the heart: 1. A note found on a 16th century mummified male in South Korea from his wife which starts "You always said, "Dear, Let's live together until our hair turns gray and die on the same day." How could you pass away I disagree with the folks who found these letters boring! What an array of choices from a letter engraved on bark dating to 1350 to the hilarious retort to the Dept. of Environmental Quality from a Michigan man about a beaver dam in his stream. But my favorites are letters from the heart: 1. A note found on a 16th century mummified male in South Korea from his wife which starts "You always said, "Dear, Let's live together until our hair turns gray and die on the same day." How could you pass away without me? Whenever we lay down together you always told me, "Dear, do other people cherish and love each other like we do?" 2. A letter found on a Union soldier addressed to his wife... "But Oh Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they love I shall be always with you in the brightest day and the darkest night amidst your happiest sceans and gloomiest hours always always and when the soft breeze fans your cheek it shall be my breath or the cool air your throbbing temple it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah, do not mourn me dead think I am gone and wait for me for we shall meet again. Sarah I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two Mothers I call Gods blessings upon them. Oh! Sarah I wait for you then come to me and lead thither my children. Sulllivan Sigh....that is love in its grandest form. I can't wait to read more collections by Mr. Usher.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This book has been on my radar for a while due to its unique nature, and I finally picked it up after seeing it in a bookstore and feeling a magnetic pull towards it. The curation of this book is superb, for one, in that the layout makes it enjoyable and easy to read and decipher the letters - it doesn't over face you in the quantity of information surrounding the letters which ensures that the focus of the book remains on the letters themselves, rather than the context and further information o This book has been on my radar for a while due to its unique nature, and I finally picked it up after seeing it in a bookstore and feeling a magnetic pull towards it. The curation of this book is superb, for one, in that the layout makes it enjoyable and easy to read and decipher the letters - it doesn't over face you in the quantity of information surrounding the letters which ensures that the focus of the book remains on the letters themselves, rather than the context and further information of the letters. I've read many a non-fiction book wherein the information at the side of a document has absolutely deflated the document for me, and I think there's a certain kind of magic in reading the letter for yourself and trying to understand what it was about, why it was written in a certain way, and what the writer was trying to get at. Information is kept brief purely discussing who wrote the letter, the date, roughly what was going on during the time of the letter, and that was pretty much it. I really enjoyed being able to openly interpret the letter and found it interesting to see the stark differences in mannerisms between letters from the 1800's to letters to the 2000's. Another element of the format that I appreciated was that the letter was scanned in its original form and then written out in 'regular' font on the other side of the page which allowed for easier reading and prevented any of the letters being difficult to get through due to the penmanship being too harsh to decipher. The way the letters are laid out is brilliant and allows the book to flow from one letter to another quickly and simply, and it doesn't ever feel overly stodgy with info. This is an utterly fascinating book with the wide array of letters that it has stocked within its pages - it has the weird and the wonderful, and letters that you never thought existed nor never imagined could exist. It offers a fascinating insight on the past of letter writing and the people that wrote them, and definitely offers a wide portrayal of history of the written word. I would wholeheartedly recommend this one - whether you're reading it from cover to cover or reading a letter a day, it will definitely stay with you and is a very entertaining, enthralling read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    There were some real gems in this collection. It started right off with a letter from Queen Elizabeth to President Dwight D. Eisenhower (especially for fans of The Crown), followed up a few pages later with a letter from Mary Stuart to Henry III of France. The photographs and reproduction of the original letters are a feast for the eyes. Some beautiful love letters....some words of advice and wisdom. I particularly enjoyed letter 19, To My Old Master Letter 21, A Man Has To Be Something; He Has to There were some real gems in this collection. It started right off with a letter from Queen Elizabeth to President Dwight D. Eisenhower (especially for fans of The Crown), followed up a few pages later with a letter from Mary Stuart to Henry III of France. The photographs and reproduction of the original letters are a feast for the eyes. Some beautiful love letters....some words of advice and wisdom. I particularly enjoyed letter 19, To My Old Master Letter 21, A Man Has To Be Something; He Has to Matter Letter 31, Our Frank Letter 35, The Ax Letter 36, I Love My Wife. My Wife Is Dead Letter 59, 17 Million Negros Cannot Wait For The Hearts Of Men To Change Letter 64, Regarding Your Dam Complaint Letter 66, I Am Very Real Letter 70, The Result Would Be A Catastrophe Letter 83, We No Longer Have Any Right To Remain Silent Letter 105, May We All Get Better Together Letter 108, Nothing Good Gets Away Letter 113, Things To Worry About

  20. 5 out of 5

    h.e.yoseph

    There is something so intimate, so enriching about letter-writing. In them we have access to the heart of the writer and what feels like the beginnings of a connection. This particular collection of letters is essentially an homage to humanity, where letters from Royalty and Presidents, children to leaders, creators, freed slaves to old owners, and from spouse to spouse, act as both confirmation and celebration to the brokenness and beauty within humanity.

  21. 4 out of 5

    ❀Allamaraine❀

    Wow, this was great. A real diverse collection - from a child writing to an architect asking for plans for a doghouse, to ancient tablets and scrolls, to letters to and from presidents and royalty. I loved it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan Hanson

    Eclectic..entertaining.. Thought provoking...illuminating The collection of letters within this book is a revelation.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tessa

    I loved this! Eclectic is the right word--letters from Andy Warhol sit next to letters from Leonardo da Vinci but its complete lack of organization is part of its charm.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Letter collections have never struck me as very exciting reading material, but I adored this collection. The format is gorgeous, with reproductions of many of the letters filling oversized pages, accompanied by transcripts of the handwritten ones. I was very grateful about the latter, as when I first paged through this book, I was worried it was going to be hell on my eyes. It really is just what it claims to be—an eclectic collection. You can read a kind letter from Queen Elizabeth II to Preside Letter collections have never struck me as very exciting reading material, but I adored this collection. The format is gorgeous, with reproductions of many of the letters filling oversized pages, accompanied by transcripts of the handwritten ones. I was very grateful about the latter, as when I first paged through this book, I was worried it was going to be hell on my eyes. It really is just what it claims to be—an eclectic collection. You can read a kind letter from Queen Elizabeth II to President Eisenhower with a recipe enclosed, and then go right to a frightening note from Jack the Ripper to George Lusk, chairman of the citizen's committee trying to track him down. One of the most moving sets of letters for me were the ones written on behalf of Joseph Merrick, the "elephant man". With so much bloodshed and cruelty in the spotlight when we look at history, it's easy to miss the great kindness that existed as well. There were letters that made me laugh out loud, like Charles M. Schultz's letter to someone who wanted him to eliminate one of his characters. I loved the two letters in this collection from former slaves to their former owners, both angry, but expressed in different, eloquent ways. Kurt Vonnegut's letter to the person responsible for burning several copies of Slaughterhouse Five was perfect. Eudora Welty's letter of application to The New Yorker was delightful. In fact, there were few letters that didn't give me something to appreciate in one way or another. It was fun to read a few of these every morning before work. There's something in here for everyone, and it's a collection that could be read and enjoyed more than once.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Astrid Edwards

    Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience is based on a simple yet brilliant concept, and is wonderfully executed. Shaun Usher has collated some of the most famous letters and notes of history (think of what the alternative draft for the moon landing said in the event that it was not a success), and interspersed them with personal letters of the average men and women whose thoughts are so rarely recorded by history (think of the letter a single mother Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience is based on a simple yet brilliant concept, and is wonderfully executed. Shaun Usher has collated some of the most famous letters and notes of history (think of what the alternative draft for the moon landing said in the event that it was not a success), and interspersed them with personal letters of the average men and women whose thoughts are so rarely recorded by history (think of the letter a single mother left with her baby on the steps of an English orphanage). This is a work you will dip into again and again to read the letters that most strike a cord with you. And after you enjoy this, you will no doubt want to follow up with the second book, Lists of Note.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amy Neftzger

    This is an eclectic and yet incredible collection of actual letters (some photographed so that you can see the handwriting or stationery upon which the letter was written). Some of these letters were written by authors, some by politicians, others were written by famous or notable individuals, such as Albert Einstein. Each of these letters holds unique significance, either because it provides insight into the mind of the writer or to an event/ time in history. For example, Queen Elizabeth shared This is an eclectic and yet incredible collection of actual letters (some photographed so that you can see the handwriting or stationery upon which the letter was written). Some of these letters were written by authors, some by politicians, others were written by famous or notable individuals, such as Albert Einstein. Each of these letters holds unique significance, either because it provides insight into the mind of the writer or to an event/ time in history. For example, Queen Elizabeth shared a recipe with President Eisenhower, showing the level of friendship between these two leaders. Jack Kerouac wrote to Marlon Brando asking him to star in the movie version of On The Road (Brando never wrote back, by the way). I'm not sure how these letters were curated, but this is a very fun read for people who like history or literature.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    I laughed (Dorothy Parker bored in the hospital, Eudora Welty asking for a job). I cried (Louis Armstrong responding to a soldier's fan letter). I learned more about things I thought I knew (Vonnegut's letter to his parents about Dresden, William Safire's presidential speech in case Armstrong and Aldrin were left stranded on the moon). I was deeply deeply puzzled (why the hell did Amelia Earhart get married if that was how she felt?). But holy Moses, I am intensely grateful to this book for expos I laughed (Dorothy Parker bored in the hospital, Eudora Welty asking for a job). I cried (Louis Armstrong responding to a soldier's fan letter). I learned more about things I thought I knew (Vonnegut's letter to his parents about Dresden, William Safire's presidential speech in case Armstrong and Aldrin were left stranded on the moon). I was deeply deeply puzzled (why the hell did Amelia Earhart get married if that was how she felt?). But holy Moses, I am intensely grateful to this book for exposing me to two letters written by Jourdon Anderson and Jermain Loguen, former slaves who were each importuned by their former owners to come back to the farm. More elegant, eloquent, precise, and logically sound expressions of "go fuck yourself" I have never read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)

    Wow! This was a real cultural treat for a mind - great correspondence assembly, amazing each, with some shining diamonds among them, like Virginia Woolf's last note to her husband, Ray Bradbury's or Hemingway's letter to Scott Fitzgerald. Shaun Usher had done a tremendous work, his collection is incredible and my only remark consists of his area of interest (which is pretty obvious) - American culture and history - it makes this book less universal as it seems to be. Wow! This was a real cultural treat for a mind - great correspondence assembly, amazing each, with some shining diamonds among them, like Virginia Woolf's last note to her husband, Ray Bradbury's or Hemingway's letter to Scott Fitzgerald. Shaun Usher had done a tremendous work, his collection is incredible and my only remark consists of his area of interest (which is pretty obvious) - American culture and history - it makes this book less universal as it seems to be.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Craig Wallwork

    Inspiring. Humbling. Funny. Crazy. Monumental. Heartbreaking. Just some of the words that are evoked when reading this collection of correspondence from famous historical figures to uber cool contemporary icons. For anyone interesting in the epistolary form, this a must have. For those who are not, buy it anyway because you'll find something in here that will floor you. Inspiring. Humbling. Funny. Crazy. Monumental. Heartbreaking. Just some of the words that are evoked when reading this collection of correspondence from famous historical figures to uber cool contemporary icons. For anyone interesting in the epistolary form, this a must have. For those who are not, buy it anyway because you'll find something in here that will floor you.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    I don’t know when I’ve had a better time browsing through a book. It’s a collection of the most interesting letters ever written. It includes some classics (Little Virginia’s letter to Santa Claus! A new poet’s inquisitive letter to Rilke!) and some that were new-to-me, but, if you are like me, you won’t skip over many. It’s a must-read, folks!

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