Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Thursday, 17 November 2016

More Letters of Note

Yet  another post about my greedy reading.  Please feel free to skulk away if you are over this obsession of mine.  A couple of years ago the skinny one gave me Letters of Note compiled by Shaun Usher.  I loved it.

Last week, despite having just completed an overdue book cull, when I spotted More Letters of Note, I knew I had to have it.  So I succumbed.  The price was good too.


Shaun Usher also has a website which you can find here for you to explore.

The letters are amazing.  Beautiful, moving, tragic, funny.  Letters written by politicians, eminent scientists, celebrities, letters written by the unknown.  Some of them were familiar to me, most were not.

More Letters Of Note has 122 letters in it.  Some are short, some very long.  Some I would call written communications rather than letters, but they are all as the subtitle suggests 'correspondence deserving of a wider audience'.

I guzzled it, neglecting other reading and rather a lot of tasks from my to-do list.  I suspect I will revisit this book, just as I do its predecessor. 

A taste of some of the letters I loved follows.

On August 12  1985, Japan Airlines Flight 123 from Tokyo to Osaka crashed, killing all but four of the 509 passengers and 15 crew on board.  Those on the plane had 32 minutes from realising that the plane was in trouble to the crash.  Many wrote letters to their loved ones.  These missives are now known as the JL123 Isho (last notes).  Now, of course there would be phone calls and texts.

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was an early adopter of the 'new fangled writing machine' - and apparently the first author to submit a typewritten manuscript to his publisher.

A letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra surprised me.  It is titled 'I drank too much wine last night'  and included the words ' I know not how else to account for the shaking of my hand to-day'.  She could be nasty too '...I was as civil to them as their bad breath would allow me.'

I chuckled at a letter from 13 year old Andy Smith to Ronald Reagan saying that his mother had declared his bedroom a disaster area and asking for federal funding to hire a clean up crew.

It includes a very short letter from Suffragette Bertha Brewster to the Daily Telegraph which I will reproduce in full
'Sir,
Everyone seems to agree upon the necessity of putting a stop to the Suffragist outrages; but no one seems certain how to do so.  There are two, and only two, ways in which this can be done.  Both will be effectual.
1.  Kill every woman in the United Kingdom.
2.  Give women the vote.
Yours truly,
Bertha Brewster'

It really is a book (and a website) full of gems.






101 comments:

  1. That does look good, I think I'll put a request in at the library and peruse those myself!

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    1. HBF: It is wonderful. So many of the letters are very, very moving. And some pages have my tears on them.

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  2. I know I said "NO" but ...

    My librarian sees me walk in and her fingers hover over her keyboard. :-)

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    1. dinahmow: If you change your mind, I am happy to see if I can find another copy.

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    2. Thank you, but still no. It would make the postie's pony go lame!I might order on-line as a gift for The Man.

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  3. You can always share books! Books are the best!

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    1. Birdie: They are. Education, entertainment, comfort and more.

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  4. Replies
    1. Marie Smith: I hope you can find it, and hope you like it. He showcases a letter most days on his website too.

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  5. Thanks for sharing. This looks like a great read. :)

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    1. Lisa Ricard Claro: It is. I hope you like it too.

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  6. Bertha Brewster...wow! Thank you for sharing some highlights from the read.

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    1. Bea: I really couldn't argue with Bertha.

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  7. Looks like s great read and I must suggest to my friends who loves letters!

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    1. Bookie: It is a wonderful read. I do like letters, but the snippets of history/life in these make it a real joy.

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  8. Never heard of this but I loved the examples you gave.

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    1. Sue in Italia/In the Land of Cancer: I could have gone on and on and on too. The book finishes with a letter from a man who was at the famed Christmas truce in the first World War. I knew about it, but to read a first hand account was wonderful.

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  9. I love reading but now I do not have time

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    1. Gosia k: You do always sound busy. I probably don't have time/shouldn't have time to read. But I do.

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  10. Oh my goodness many, many gems indeed! I just looked up a few of his quotes posted on Goodreads and he sure is the medicine we over here in America could use immediately! Here's one special one as well.

    “Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out. Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.”
    ― Shaun Usher, Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience
    Absolutely tomorrow is another day and we must cherish every moment we are lucky enough to have! Thanks for sharing this gem of a man and his wise (constructive, common sense words) words!

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    1. Karen S.: That is a wonderful quote - and I suspect that the whole world needs to remember it. Thank yuo.

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  11. What a delight for you. The next book better be a good one.

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    1. donna baker: I have another treat in store as well (the next in Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series), and currently have two books on the go - both of which I am enjoying.

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  12. People write amusing and startling things always interesting what is going on and how they see things we are all so different.
    Merle.......

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    1. Merlesworld: We are, and so similar in the things which move us.

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  13. I really should read a lot more. This looks good

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    1. kylie: There is no should about it. When you get time/energy/inclination. This is good though. Very good.

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  14. Aren't they wonderful. I read them on the website, and on the bog when there is a new letter.

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    1. Joanne Noragon: Really wonderful. I am so impressed with the range he finds. Across cultures, and times...

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  15. That's given me the perfect gift idea for a friend! Years ago I read The Letters of Rachel Henning, have you come across that book? It gave a fascinating insight into the attitudes of some early settlers

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    1. Kim: I have (and reread at intervals) The Letters of Rachel Henning. You are right about the attitudes of the early settlers - and the home country too.
      I hope your friend likes Letters of Note.

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  16. Letters can be so wonderful.
    This looks a very good book, thanks for writing about it here.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Lowcarb team member ~ Jan: It is a wonderful book, and I am happy to share the joy.

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    2. I wrote Low Carb and the email was returned showing no person existing at that address.

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  17. That sounds like a fabulous book. Who doesn't want to read other's letters, especially those with some historic note.

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    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: It is fabulous. And the voyeur in me loves it. I like diaries too.

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  18. Never came across this. You sparked my curiosity.
    Thanks

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    1. Martin Kloess: I hope you explore - and enjoy the exploration too.

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  19. Going to purchase this now. I love reading letters. Heck I love to get them!

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    1. Ginger Dawn Harman: I love letters too. I am less good about writing them though (shuffles off, hanging my head in shame).

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  20. Sounds like a great book! I'll keep my eyes peeled for it at the library!

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    1. Dawn@Lighten Up!: It is a very good book. I hope you find it.

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  21. I had not heard of these two but they sound like gems!
    And fear not, I will never skulk away when the subject is books!

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    1. Molly Bon: The books and the website ARE gems. More precious than rubies.

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  22. They would never kill all the women....they would have no one left to do all the dirty work.

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    1. only slightly confused: True. Which explains why women DID get the vote.

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  23. I just put a hold on the first book, which is available at my library. It sure is something I'm looking forward to! Thank you, EC. :-)

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    1. DJan: I hope you like it as much as I did.

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  24. The book does sound good. I laughed at the letter to Reagan.

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    1. Andrew: I found myself thinking that the enterprising young man was going to go a long way.

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    2. fishducky: It was excellent wasn't it?

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  25. The Letters sound alright - I'm busy reading the Outlander series of books at the moment, trouble is I start readying and don't hear a thing!

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    1. Margaret-whiteangel: I am also guilty (often) of getting lost in a book. And feel very little shame.

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  26. That sounds like a book I'd enjoy, too. And I always enjoy hearing about books other people are reading. I like to have some idea of what a book's about before committing to it :)

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    1. jenny_o: Perhaps you could start by exploring his website, and get the taste of some of the letters he showcases. These books are right up my very broad street, but I know that they wouldn't be to everyone's taste.

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  27. I love learning new things, attempting new ideas, and knowing more about individuals I've read about. And right now, I'm too engrossed in reading about new vegetarian diets (and how many surgeries go wrong) to look for another venue of entertainment.

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    1. lotta joy: You have a lot on your plate. I am not at all surprised.

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    2. You get it. Yep. I stopped using a plate and carry the tray instead. lol

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  28. Hi EC - I have one of the books here .. I was given it - and really should read it .. love Bertha's letter - gosh how many things could be resolved with direct choices.

    Thanks so much for reminding us .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary Melton-Butcher: I am not certain that many things have such black and white choices, but yes, I loved Bertha's letter too. I hope you do get the chance to explore Letters of Note. I am pretty certain you would find things to enthrall you.

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  29. Boy do I love that last letter.

    I'm not a book reader but I really want to own this one, it sounds great!

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    1. LL Cool Joe: It is great. Or I think so. But so was the first.

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  30. I used to write letters to all sorts of people - I should track it down.

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  31. Replies
    1. Terry Stynes: Welcome and thank you. I think it is a definite keeper.

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  32. I must admit I had never heard of either book. But now that I have there are two more books to add to my TBR stack. They sounds like great reads. Love the one from the young boy and Suffragette Bertha Brewster.

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    1. Mason Canyon: So many books, so little time. I hope you can get to these though. I could have done a very, very long post extolling the wonderful letters Shaun Usher selected to include.

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  33. Truly books that appeal to me. I shall look for Letters Of Note and More Letters Of Note:-)

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    1. Granny Annie: I hope you will let me know what you think of them in the fullness of time.

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  34. The letter from Brewster made me laugh out loud. Love it! Quite to the point. Thank you for sharing this gem.

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    1. River Fairchild: I laughed out loud too. And applauded it. She was right too.

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  35. These are great! I especially love Brewster's letter.

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  36. I'll look for these books - the collections sound wonderful.

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    1. Lynn: They are wonderful. And I think there would be a letter in each collection to pique almost everyone's interest. Sports, war, love, politics...

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  37. It's a wonderful thing to have a much loved book to read and to treasure.

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    1. Snowbrush: It is. To read and to reread, to the point where you have almost memorised the text.

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  38. This book sounds fascinating. Thanks for sharing. I need to find and read it.

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    1. Olga Godim: It is fascinating. I hope you find it and enjoy it as much as I did. And do.

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  39. Loved the Bertha Brewster extract! I must check the books out.

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    1. Lady Fi: That letter spoke very loudly to rather a lot of us didn't it? I hope you can find the books - or his website. There is a lot of pleasure in both.

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  40. Absolutely fascinating. I love reading these kinds of books. Thanks for sharing. Made sure I tweeted.

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    1. Rasma Raisters: Tweeting is beyond me. Thank you. And I love diaries, letters, memoirs and autobiographies. A lot.

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  41. Good old Bertha Brewster, she knew what she was talking about!!!!
    I'll have to see if that book is available in our library.

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    1. Shammickite: She did didn't she? I hope you can find Letters of Note - either this one or the earlier version.

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    2. I looked at the local Library... not there, so I might see if I can find it on inter-library loan.

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  42. Oh, wow! That book sounds fantastic. It's a shame there are so few letter-writers left. We're destined to go the way of the dodo bird, I'm afraid.

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    1. Susan: It is fantastic. And dodos should be preserved.

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  43. Thank you for this post, Sue. I had never heard of Shaun Usher or either book, but I went to his blog via your link, and reading the letter from Luz Long to Jesse Owens knocked my socks off (an American expression meaning I was most impressed, gobsmacked if you will). I will definitely be reading these wonderful books. Thank you again.

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    1. rhymeswithplague: I didn't realise that knocked my socks off was an Americanism. I know it, but am also a fan of gob and smacked, flabber and ghasted.
      He really does have an eye for amazing letters doesn't he?

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  44. How very interesting. Who wouldn't want to catch a glimpse into someone else's life via a personal letter they've written? You're absolutely right, today if a plane was going down we''d all be texting our loved ones. Letters are so wonderful. I would love to read this book. I enjoyed the snippets you shared. Thank you. It was a delightful peek into the past and into the personal thoughts shared by others.

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    1. Melissa Sugar: Welcome and thank you. I feel a bit like a voyeur, but do love letters. And these are brilliant examples.

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  45. They!re brilliant. I'll look out for it.

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    1. Terry Stynes: They are. I have been redipping into it ever since.

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  46. The suffragist letter is a gem.

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  47. Sounds like a fun and fascinating read. Glad to hear about it from you because it sounds like something I will enjoy. Thanks!
    ~Jess

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    1. DMS ~ Jess: It is an amazing collection. Tragic, informative, hilarious by turns. I hope you can find it.

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