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For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing

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3.66  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The author takes readers step-by-step through the entire process of writing a letter, from how to start and what to say to knowing when e-mail is appropriate.

Have you ever wanted to write a thank-you note and suffered writer's block? Considered penning a passionate letter to your beloved, but had no idea where to begin? Needed to send a sympathy message, but couldn't find
...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by William Morrow
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Elizabeth
Jan 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Okay, I liked this book a little less than O'Shea's other book, Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits. I found it to be quite readable, and I enjoyed reading it. Like Note to Self, this book comes across almost more like a memoir than an instruction manual--she could've reasonably subtitled it "My Life in Letters." But readable as it was, I think it did fall down a bit on the how-to part, mostly because I ended up being more fascinated by the sample letters than the adv ...more
Felicia
Absolutely lovely. It teaches you how to write any kind of letter (even erotic letters, reader be warned). I find this endlessly useful and will refer back next time I need to write a thank you note or a sympathy letter.
Lynda Felder
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The art of general letter-writing in the present day is shrinking until the letter threatens to become a telegram, a telephone message, a post-card. — Emily Post, Etiquette, 1922 (page ix)

When is the last time you wrote a letter? Would you like to write someone, but you’re not sure what to say? Some letters are harder to write, such as apologies or condolences. For some charming guidance, I recommend For the Love of Letters, which is packed with funny stories, embarrassing letter-moments, and fa
...more
Sabrina Bullock
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a superb book, which I cannot say enough about. It is the second book I've read by Samara O'Shea. I love her forthright honesty and the conversational tone of her books. She shares numerous examples of letters, historic as well as some of her own private letters. One of my favorite historic letters in the book is the last letter written by Marie Antoinette. This book is a wonderful guide with suggestions how to write any letter from the simple thank you note to the sultry love letter. It ...more
Jerry Landry
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
O’Shea’s book on letters was a nice tutorial for those who don’t have as much experience in writing letters and a nice refresher for those of us who do. In addition, hearing of O’Shea’s own personal experience with writing and receiving letters over the years as well as some historical examples was a nice touch. It added more of the personal touch to what is becoming a very personal mode of communication. I recommend this as a fun and rather quick read.
Carrie
Feb 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
I was disappointed in this book. Instead of being an actual guide to letter writing, this was a general book about letters the author has written. Some tips for letter writing included check your spelling and include details. Thanks.
Nicoal
Jan 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2009
While meant to be a how-to book on writing letters, this was pretty engaging. Many examples of all sorts of letters from love to business are given, and historic examples are included just for fun.
Marti
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2007-top-10
Right up my alley, for sure.
Angie
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: snail-mail
Synopsis: "The author takes readers step-by-step through the entire process of writing a letter, from how to start and what to say to knowing when e-mail is appropriate.

Have you ever wanted to write a thank-you note and suffered writer's block? Considered penning a passionate letter to your beloved, but had no idea where to begin? Needed to send a sympathy message, but couldn't find the right words? Fear not. Professional letter writer Samara O'Shea is here to spark your creativity and answer al
...more
Rory
Aug 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: letter lovers
Recommended to Rory by: Randy
I received this book as a gift from a friend who is a manager in a stationery store. As such, I get frequent letters from him, and we often talk of how I enjoy writing letters to friends.

Samara O'Shea is not, as one would expect, a prim and proper woman of older age informing the world on what etiquette to follow in writing letters because whippersnappers these days just don't know what a letter is. Rather, she is young, hip, and recognizes that most people are just out of practice. Whether you
...more
susie
Aug 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Well, Samara O'Shea is just about as charming as can be. As an avid letter writer myself, it was nice to see typically formal letter-writing subjects (apologies, sympathy, The Goodbye Letter) tackled with finesse & fun! Because, yes, letter writing can be very fun! Sometimes I got detoured as a reader by the formality of the subjects and examples which occasionally seemed fussy to me, but overall it was a very enjoyable read & an inspiring one as well. Is there any reader who wouldn't love to ge ...more
sjams
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone that wants help with writing important letters
This was my introduction to Samara O'Shea's books. Her second book, Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits, impressed me much, much more than this one. For the Love of Letters is like an updated Emily Post on letter writing. Which isn't a bad thing––the next time I have to write a cover letter, an apology letter, a love letter, or a break-up letter, I will not hesitate to come back to this book. Then I'll remember not to hesitate to play with words and turn casual, well- ...more
Amber
Oct 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Besides being full of humor, attitude, and wit, and this book makes you want to write an epic letter to everyone in your life. I love the way the book is organized, as it includes letters by historical figures at the end of each chapter. At the end of the chapter on how to write erotic letters, there is an unbelievably raunchy one by James Joyce to his wife. There is a letter from Abe Lincoln to a mother who was said to lose five sons in the war, in the chapter on sympathy letters. As you are in ...more
Ari
Feb 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I am in full agreement with Samara on the lost art of letter writing -- letters are surely a personal and emotional form of communication. People tend to hold onto and treasure handwritten letters in a way they do few other things.

There's a big danger in being too revealing of your own interests. Samara begins with the subject of erotic letters, and expresses her personal angers at Stephen Joyce for refusing to publish his grandfather's erotic letters. At times it's too wilted and revealing.

Tha
...more
Elise
Aug 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Samara O'Shea loves a good letter and in this book, she shares her expertise on how to write them. That part can be helpful if you're not used to writing letters, but what makes this book worth it are her wry anecdotes about life, and the collection of letters she includes. Some of her own, but more often than not, she includes little gems-- letters written by the greats in various situations. We have Joyce's bawdy love letter to his amour, Sarah Bernhardt's breakup letter to some poor man she l ...more
JayeL
Jul 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
I started this book, then abandoned it, but went back to it. I think it is organized badly. I would have put the termination and resignation and kiss-off type letters at the end,. Perhaps they wanted to end the book on a positive note? There are some good tips for cover letters and some great stories about letters Samara O'Shea has written. I think the author goes into her single status a bit too much, but otherwise the books is relatively entertaining, well written and useful. I think this woul ...more
Jiwon Lee
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Some of the letters contained within the book were interesting (most were not penned by the author). Overall, it seemed that the majority of the book was on letters written in the context of a romantic relationship, and some more variety would have made it a more engaging read.

It was also quite amusing how the author kept emphasizing the importance of grammar in several chapters, yet there were quite a number of obvious grammar mistakes throughout the book.
Colin
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
A pleasant little book on the art of writing letters, this book would make a nice reference for those who feel the need to improve their epistolary talents, or who simply enjoy the genre of letters (as I do - mostly Cicero, Pliny, Seneca, etc.). Anyway, I'd recommend this one to anyone who enjoys correspondence as much as I do!
Angelina
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, how-tos
brilliant. engaging. thoughtful. inspiring. O'Shea's passion for letters is clear in every chapter as she shares the how-to's of effective, polished, and authentic letter writing. interested in writing love letters? notes of apology? thank you cards? even angry letters? Samara O'Shea has you covered, gracefully.
Stefanie
Mar 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
Also part of my how to write letters binge. This one, not so very good. More of a how to write specific kinds of letters, especially love letters and break up letters, than anything else. Not even any interesting quotes.
Gail
Mar 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kcls, non-fiction
It's sad to think that our society has come to the point that we need how-to books on letter-writing. Be that as it may, this book is wonderful. I gave copies of this as gifts, but I have not one for myself. *hint, hint*
Melissa Shmish
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Read more like a 'how-to' than an homage to art of letters, often sounding more like a magazine article guide to crafty correspondance. In short, the book lacked soul--not much of a read for lovers of the written word but adequately explanatory for someone seeking guidance in accomplishing a task.
Linda
The topic caught my attention, since I like to write letters to penpals, but unfortunately the book is divided up into topics unrelated to my own personal letter writing. Others may find it more useful if they write lots of letters to the editors, complaint letters, etc.
Annika Barranti
Jun 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
for review in Noneuclidean Cafe
lola
Jan 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Where this really shines is in breakup/apology notes. The rest of it is very well-worded common sense.
Sflisa
Oct 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
I am inspired to write more letters! This has always been a good medium for me to express myself, but I rarely write letters by hand anymore.
Cheryl
Jun 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: partiallyread
Interesting topic, decent selection of examples
Huma Rashid
Dec 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Warmly written, and a great guide to writing letters informed by the author's own experiences, shared without reservation (except those reservations regarding copyright, and propriety).
Cara
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Practical and charming. A rare combination.
Taleisin (Tales of a Bookwyrm)
Ah the power of the letter; a truly dying art. This book celebrates the humble letter, showing the benefits both to the writer and the reader.
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