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Non-Fiction > Seasonal Non-Fiction Theme (April-June) 'Letters and Correspondence'

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message 1: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 364 comments Mod
Hello everyone, the seasonal non-fiction theme for April-June 2016 is ‘Letters and Correspondence.’

We will be discussing the books we read based on that theme in this thread. Please share what you plan to read and how you’re finding it.

Thanks everyone and happy reading! Look out for our new theme starting in July 2016.


message 2: by Diane S ☔ (new)

Diane S ☔ I have The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, which I look forward to reading.


message 3: by Teri-K (last edited Apr 07, 2016 03:26PM) (new)

Teri-K | 1201 comments Well, this theme works pretty well for me, as I have been eyeing all these books to read or reread:
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
I can't find my copy, but I can access it for free from OpenLibrary.com, and I plan to reread it soon.
Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead: Diaries and Letters, 1929-1932 by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I read the first last year and quite liked it. I have a copy of this one.

I can recommend:
Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart
You can get a copy of this free from Amazon. I read it last year and felt like I was reading an historical novel, not just a collection of letters. It's very good and a quick read.


message 4: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 364 comments Mod
Ooh, some nice picks already! This is one of my favourite non-fiction themes so I think I'll be reading more than a few books in this period. One book that's definitely on my list is The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse


message 5: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments I'm a bit of a fan of Robert Louis Stevenson, so I've had a look to see if any of his letters are available on Project Gutenberg. The one I've come up with is Correspondence, so I'll be having a go at this for the topic.
There may be other things that I'll read later, but I'm not sure what they are yet!


message 6: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments I have had an audiobook edition of The Federalist Papers for several years so this theme is a great reason to finally get around to it.


message 7: by Chrissie (last edited Mar 27, 2016 03:35AM) (new)

Chrissie I plan on reading Dear Mr. You. I am currently reading Fair and Tender Ladies, which is also all in letters but the book is fictional.

I tend to feel that through letters one cannot get to really understand a person, if you want to use the book to look as a kind of memoir, a peep hole into another's soul. Often what a person writes to another hides something, keeps something hidden, so I tend to be skeptical. I have noted in Lee Smith's book that she gets around this by including letters that are NOT actually sent. Here she can reveal her true thoughts. Interesting technique! She writes so well that I plan on reading her Dimestore: A Writer's Life, a memoir. I am not sure if this one is written using letters though. (Diane, has told me this is more essays than letters.)


message 8: by Karin (new)

Karin | 1868 comments This is going to take some thought, although I've never read West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915 by Laura Ingalls Wilder and that's letters.


message 9: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 12852 comments Mod
Karin wrote: "This is going to take some thought, although I've never read West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915 by Laura Ingalls Wilder and that's letters."

Interesting; If I find them ...


message 10: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments I've just found a book that I'm reading for this, and also as part of my Graham Greene theme for this year. It's Yours, etc.: Letters to the Press.

A nice titbit from near the beginning. When there were competitions to write in the style of Graham Greene, he would often enter them using a false name. He didn't always win!


message 11: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 364 comments Mod
Gill, that's a brilliant titbit!


message 12: by Karin (new)

Karin | 1868 comments LauraT wrote: "Karin wrote: "This is going to take some thought, although I've never read West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915 by Laura Ingalls Wilder and..."

I ended up going with West from Home and have it in my tbr pile from the library.


message 13: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 12852 comments Mod
I need to look for it. Maybe when I go to New York in two weeks time!


message 14: by Teri-K (last edited Apr 07, 2016 03:23PM) (new)

Teri-K | 1201 comments I just finished a reread of 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. I was able to read it free through Openlibrary.com. It's been a long time since I read this small book about the correspondence between a NY writer and London bookseller just after WWII. It still amazes me how their short letters can convey so much personality. I really enjoyed it.

I've started Lady Susan by Jane Austen. It's clever, but I don't think it's likely to become my favorite Austen. (Fiction, of course. But all letters.)


message 15: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Teri-k wrote: "I just finished a reread of 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. I was able to read it free through Openlibrary.com. It's been a long time since I read this small b..."

A real gem :)


message 16: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments My book is a little bit of a stretch for the category, The Federalist Papers being letters written to the newspaper and so more like essays than true correspondence.

I have started today & read the first 5 letters (out of the 85 total). I didn't know anything about this other than the fact that the authors are all famous men from the American Revolutionary times. It turns out that these were letters published in 1787 anonymously in a New York newspaper trying to convince the public that they should vote to ratify the United States Constitution. Already there have been some interesting quotes and intriguing ideas of what life in North America would have been like if the Constitution had not been ratified!


message 17: by Teri-K (new)

Teri-K | 1201 comments I think my next read will be War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars by Andrew Carroll. It has letters from the Civil War through our modern conflicts. Should be interesting.


message 18: by Teri-K (new)

Teri-K | 1201 comments I read a book I thought was going to work, but didn't. It turns out that Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott isn't excerpts of her letters, as I'd always thought, but is a fictionalized account based on her letters. Still, it was interesting and worked well with War Letters, since right now I'm reading the letters written during the Civil War. Read and learn. :)


message 19: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 364 comments Mod
Teri-k wrote: "I read a book I thought was going to work, but didn't. It turns out that Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott isn't excerpts of her letters, as I'd always thought, bu..."

I had no idea that Alcott had been a nurse, how interesting:)


message 20: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 364 comments Mod
I read Anais Nin's Henry and June: From "A Journal of Love"--The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin which is essentially a journal with some letters inserted. I'm going to read The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse next.


message 21: by Teri-K (new)

Teri-K | 1201 comments Rowena wrote: "I had no idea that Alcott had been a nurse, how interesting:)
"


she only lasted about six weeks before getting pneumonia and having to go back home. But her observations are fascinating.


message 22: by Pink (last edited Apr 14, 2016 03:45AM) (new)

Pink I haven't posted to this thread yet, so thought I'd start with a few letter collections that I've especially enjoyed -

Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience This is a beautifully presented coffee table sized book, but the content is every bit as wonderful.

Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford I'm a big fan of the Mitford Sisters and after reading this book, especially of Decca. Runaway socialist in a family of Hitler supporters, unforgiving and uncompromising, yet witty and intelligent throughout. Her abysmal parental skills will also cause a shock.

The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh More Mitfords, but this time it's Nancy. A socialite and literary bitchfest or everyone they knew, but also an incredibly interesting insight into their writing lives.

Rowena, have you read The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse yet? It's amazing. I felt all sorts of emotions reading these, shock, anger, sympathy, but most of all I really got a sense of love in a most unconventional way.


message 23: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Pink, I had been considering The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse. Knowing now that you liked it so, I have picked it up. You do not have it registered.


message 24: by Pink (new)

Pink I hope you like it Chrissie. I'll fix it on my bookshelf.


message 25: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Thank you, Pink and Rowena. I didn't know of the book.


message 26: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 364 comments Mod
Pink wrote: "I haven't posted to this thread yet, so thought I'd start with a few letter collections that I've especially enjoyed -

[book:Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of..."


Hi Pink,

I started reading it last night and so far I'm really enjoying it. I may post some favourite excerpts later:)


message 27: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 364 comments Mod
Chrissie wrote: "Thank you, Pink and Rowena. I didn't know of the book."

I heard about it in How the French Invented Love: Nine Hundred Years of Passion and Romance and I just had to buy it!


message 28: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Both look like interesting books, Rowena!


message 29: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments I've decided to read The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barret Barrett 1845-1846 vol I. There's is meant to be a great love story, but I have to say I know little about their poetry (apart from The Pied Piper of Hamelin).


message 30: by Teri-K (new)

Teri-K | 1201 comments Gill wrote: "I've decided to read The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barret Barrett 1845-1846 vol I. There's is meant to be a great love story, but I have to say I know little about th..."

Oh, I'd like to read that! I'll have to look for it...

I just got My Dear Cassandra, the letters of Jane Austen, from the library. It looks good.


message 31: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments Teri-k wrote: "Gill wrote: "I've decided to read The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barret Barrett 1845-1846 vol I. There's is meant to be a great love story, but I have to say I know li..."

It's free for Kindle, Teri-k. I think it's on Project Gutenberg as well, free.


message 32: by Teri-K (new)

Teri-K | 1201 comments Gill wrote: "Teri-k wrote: "Gill wrote: "I've decided to read The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barret Barrett 1845-1846 vol I. There's is meant to be a great love story, but I have t..."

Well I'll go look, then. Thanks!


message 33: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I am listening to The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse narrated by Claire Bolom


message 34: by Pink (new)

Pink Chrissie wrote: "I am listening to The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse narrated by Claire Bolom"

Oh good. I forgot to say, after I checked why my edition wasn't showing up as read on here, I realised that I had an abridged version. I don't know how much was edited out, but I hope you enjoy it.


message 35: by Chrissie (last edited Apr 24, 2016 10:50AM) (new)

Chrissie Pink wrote: "Chrissie wrote: "I am listening to The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse narrated by Claire Bolom"

Oh good. I forgot to say, after I checked why my edition wasn't showing up as read on ..."


The damn version at Audible is only 30 minutes long! Way too short and you get no additional information. i don't even know if all the letters are included.


message 36: by Pink (new)

Pink I wonder if the longer version is just too long, it's hard to tell without seeing it.


message 37: by katie (new)

katie | 74 comments I'm currently reading Quiet Moments in a War: The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir 1940-63.

I wouldn't say it's the most exciting collection of letters ever, but I just recently read one of Simone de Beauvoir's novels (The Mandarins) and I'm really enjoying getting a glimpse into their real lives and thoughts. I'd also recommend it for anyone who has been interested in intellectuals and philosophy, Sartre talks a lot about his thought process and writing process as well. I'm really enjoying it, but I'm reading it in little bits, while i"m also reading more engaging novels, because not much happens and I can only take a few pages at a time. ;o)


message 38: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 364 comments Mod
katie wrote: "I'm currently reading Quiet Moments in a War: The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir 1940-63.

I wouldn't say it's the most exciting collection of letters ever, but I j..."


Thanks for your update, Katie! I actually have a copy of The Mandarins but I haven't read it yet. I'm really interested in both Sartre and de Beauvoir so I'd like to read that letter collection:)


message 39: by katie (new)

katie | 74 comments Rowena wrote: "katie wrote: "I'm currently reading Quiet Moments in a War: The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir 1940-63.

I wouldn't say it's the most exciting collection of letters..."


I loved the Mandarins! It is very long so it took me a while, but it was great. And I like reading Sartre's letters, it humanizes him a bit, and I love how affectionate he was with Simone ;o) Definitely check them out!


message 40: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments I've just started reading 800 Years of Women's Letters. It looks fascinating.


message 41: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 364 comments Mod
katie wrote: "Rowena wrote: "katie wrote: "I'm currently reading Quiet Moments in a War: The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir 1940-63.

I wouldn't say it's the most exciting collec..."

I will, thanks Katie!


message 42: by Rowena (new)

Rowena | 364 comments Mod
Gill wrote: "I've just started reading 800 Years of Women's Letters. It looks fascinating."

Wow, that does look interesting, Gill!


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