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Gift of a Letter

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  213 ratings  ·  21 reviews
This enchanting book is dedicated to one of the most intimate and touching of human experiences -- the letter. With charm, grace, and enthusiasm, Alexandra Stoddard describes the art and the pleasure of writing letters and the surprising joy it can bring to writer and recipient alike. A letter that takes only a few minutes to write may be treasured for years. Its contents ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published November 1st 1991 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1900)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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Rift Vegan
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fun little book. I almost wish it was more organized and less "conversational"... but that would probably take away the charm. Will be re-reading this one soon.

We definitely need more letters and mail in our lives! Please message me with your address; I would love to send you a handmade postcard!
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received this book from my Grandmother this spring when she was cleaning out her apartment in preparation for a move to the Nursing Home. I will always treasure this little book because it came from Grandma Jeanette. In this age of email, Facebook messages and texts, I still prefer to write letters to stay in touch! Really interesting read with good advice for corresponding with others.
Tami Winbush
Though outdated, this book has a few nuggets of truth and wisdom about letter writing, letters written by well-known people, and stationary and letter writing paraphernalia. This book did lead me to my favorite letter from President Lincoln to his brother-in-law about borrowing money.

There is no reason that I find that I would need to keep this book. I will pass it on to our local little library. But besides that I don’t find much use for it.
Kristen Gebbia
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I ALMOST abandoned this book. Now that I've finished it I'm glad that I didn't. While slightly outdated in a few respects, Alexandra does give some good ideas for letter writting. Most importantly though, she inspires you to want to sit down and write a letter. I think a shopping trip for new stationary and pens is in order now. And I've already been to the post office to purchase the commemorative stamps instead of the basic flag ones. So yes, the book is effective.
Mary Huff
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alexandra Stoddard is one of my "old standard authors". She is rather old-fashioned in her ideas but I love her quaint style. This was an especially sweet book, very small and quick to read about writing letters and how uplifting they can be to send and receive.
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
For a little book (123 pages) I took a long time to read it. Not that the subject matter was boring, I just wanted to take in all it had to offer. A handwritten letter is a special gift we give to those we care about.
S.M. Skutt
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a voluminous writer of handwritten letters, I loved this book and agreed with its sentiment completely. Now to only find others who love this and respond in kind in this day of technology.
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
A lovely ode to the joys of letter writing in all of its forms!
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
The book, Gift of a Letter, by Alexandra Stoddard, provides a timeless analysis of the value of hand-written communication for both the writer and the recipient. She intimately describes the value of a letter in revealing deep truth and loving thoughts and compares letter writing to "sending your ship out." as the vulnerability and permanence are fixed. She encourages leaving the misspelled words, cross-outs, and additional expressions of truths because a letter written from the heart, i.e., a “ ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Alexandra Stoddard's Gift of a Letter is a lyrical, often moving paean to the (almost) lost art of letter writing. It is a book to be read slowly and thoughtfully. And then to be acted upon.

I enjoy reading historical biographies, such as McCullough's John Adams, many of which use as source material the letters written by the subjects and their contemporaries. I am frequently astonished by, and envious of, their ability to express themselves in their letters to loved ones and associates. Stoddard
Mar 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Just the thing to read before hopping on a private jet to New York. The overall message of the book is to just get writing, which comes across convincingly. It is short to read, which is a plus.
One things I was not a fan of was the stationary stores she focuses on are are not practical for most people to visit (in New York, USA; London, England; or Paris, France). However, that deficiency was likely because the author lives in the United States and the book was published in 1990.
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Such a sweet and lovely little book about correspondence. I read it for the first time in high school - maybe even junior high - and it made a tremendous impression on wee aesthete E. I may actually be able to blame my paper habit in its entirety on Alexandra Stoddard. ...more
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
A long time to finish, despite its brevity. Stoddard's wisdom and reflections on the impact of a letter, how it's an excellent treasurable document/memento preserving friendship and love, what rules don't apply when writing to friends, and little ideas to make the ritual of setting pen to paper as magical and enjoyable as it can be.
Apr 28, 2014 rated it liked it
It's a book that gives you inspiration to sit down and write a letter. There are a few examples of letters written by famous people to get you into writing. It is not a book on how to write a letter. Alexandra also goes into her personal letter writing examples. I found it funny that postage has changed quite a bit since this book was written, 25 cents. I miss that.
May 28, 2012 rated it liked it
This book has revived my enthusiasm for writing letters. I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking a reason to start writing or to continue writing letters. It truly makes all the difference to a person.
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Letter-writing has been one of my joys since I was a young teenager. Alexandra Stoddard's book celebrates the tools of letter-writing - the fountain pens, the ink, the stamps on the envelope - and the sheer wonder of touching another person with your words and your loving intent.
Nancy Peyton
Sep 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: thoughtful people
I LOVED this book because it makes communicating by the written word fun, interesting, thoughtful and hopefully, habitual.
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Perfectly delightful and enchanting indeed.
Laura Lee
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this, touched me . Wish people still wrote letters like they used to.
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book that reminds us of the gift of corresponding by letter. Truly in this day of email, and internet and cell phones, a hand written letter is a gift!
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Debi Cates
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Judith Hall
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Nov 16, 2012
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Jennifer Bailey
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Mar 08, 2017
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Do you send handwritten letters? 1 2 Jun 24, 2013 05:28PM  

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ALEXANDRA STODDARD is a philosopher of contemporary living and author of many best selling books, including the classic Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life, Choosing Happiness: Keys to a Joyful Life, Things I Want My Daughters to Know: A Small Book About the Big Issues in Life, and You Are Your Choices: 50 Ways to Live the Good Life. A ...more

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