Sometimes a pen is mightier than the text message!
If you’ve shouted YES to all three, you’ve come to the right place! I spent a good amount of my younger years writing notes to friends, typing out detailed stories to pen pals across the world and stuffing cards with magazine cut-outs, stickers and elaborately written letters sprawled in sparkling gel ink of various colours from the ‘00s — you know exactly what I’m talking about! So let’s ditch the emoji-filled texts for a while, and hit pause on social media’s character limit and attention span deficit. Let’s grab some paper, pick up a pen, and write from the heart again.
To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing by Simon Garfield
In this ode to letter writing, Garfield reminds us of our paper trail and a generation led astray by new technology, while also taking readers through the intriguing history of the postal service. Learn about the important role letters played in shaping various important personalities in history and read snippets of some amusing and even intimate correspondence of real people from yesteryear. To the Letter is the perfect reminder of that older relative who boasts about the long journey they took on foot to get to school every morning, or the many nights spent reading by candlelight without electricity. Let this inspire you to set up a buddy read with a different generation to share stories, learn from and reminisce with.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Teenage crushes, secret love letters, big romantic gestures... What’s not to love about this bestselling YA favourite? Now a major Netflix film, this light and fluffy read will take you back to your teenage years, as you step into the fashionable shoes of 16-year-old Lara Jean, a hopeless romantic who's never told any of her crushes about her feelings for them. Instead, she writes them down in letters addressed to each of them, that she never sends but collects and hides in her room. However, a series of chaotic events results in the letters getting sent out to each of the boys, resulting in more than a few embarrassing situations and drama for Lara Jean. Expect cringey high-school showdowns, awkwardly innocent encounters, and a very happy ending. It's just the gentle nudge needed to write to that special someone you’ve been avoiding.
Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989 by Julie R. Enszer
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Like a real-life version of You’ve Got Mail, and just as classic, New York based author Hanff chronicles her 20-year correspondence with Frank Doel, a bookseller in London. Hanff first reached out to the store in 1949, in search of editions of texts that were not available to her in NYC. Over the years a close friendship was formed between the two, connecting the continents through letters, food parcels, Christmas gifts and birthday cards. Tragically, Hanff got to visit London only many years after the death of Doel and the closure of the bookstore. Let this be the jolt that could help you turn some long-distance business acquaintances into pen pals.
A Life in Letters by George Orwell
Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
Humorous and touching, this light read will take you on a fun teenage adventure. Written as a series of letters, postcards and messages it's easy to get drawn into the troublesome life of Elizabeth Clarry and her best friend Celia who constantly disappears. Elizabeth writes to a stranger about her best friend's antics, her desire to kiss the most popular boy in school and various subconscious rants regarding usual teenage angst. Read this for plenty of high-school drama, a bizarre trip to the circus and the endearment of female friendships. It's much needed inspiration to write to someone new and discover interests outside of your comfort zone.
Are you inspired yet? Maybe entering the Emirates LitFest Montegrappa Letter Writing Competition is just the jump start you need! And if that doesn't do the trick, check out our Boundless Book Club podcast below in case of the books mentioned there catch your interest.