In a world where technology is dominant, National Letter Writing month is a fantastic way to get back to our roots, put pen to paper, and take the time to connect with others. This month there will be writing challenges on social media, sales on cards to make it that much simpler to get your snail mail on, and if you're in DC this would be a perfect time to visit the Smithsonian National Postal Museum!
If you already have ideas on who to write to, and you're completely stocked up on the supplies you need, tucking into a good book about letter writing is another great way to celebrate snail mail this month. I've rounded up a small list of books that portray the power a letter (or a few letters) have in a people's life. Some I've read, some I want to read, but all would be a great choice for this month!
1. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff | I have not read this, but it's my April read for sure! Published in 1970 the book is comprised of letters between the author, Helene Hanff, and a publisher in London located at 84, Charing Cross Road. Set over 20 years, it is a classic love story where the two main characters find kinship through their shared love of literature.
2. Persuasion by Jane Austen | I wrote about the greatness of this book a few weeks ago in a post all about love letters. This novel is a classic Austen love story between Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth with broken engagements, scandal, misinformation, and social pressures indicative of life in the early 19th century. Persuasion will have you on the edge of your seat (or as much as a classic British novel can) wondering when will they finally be reunited in love?
3. PS I Love You by Cecilia Ahern | You probably know this as the Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler film, but it's also a pretty good read. In all honesty, I didn't like the writing that much, but I did like reading the original story versus just knowing the Hollywood version. It's a moving book of a young widow dealing with grief, life, and who she'll be without her husband.
4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows | Set in post World War II London and Guernsey Island, this book is a series of letters between a writer, Juliet Ashton, and members of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The group was begun by everyday citizens living in Nazi occupied Guernsey Island who broke curfew to secretly meet and discuss literature. The correspondence between the characters is touching, real, and life changing. Such a great read!
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker | If you haven't already read this for school, it is one that should definitely be on your must read list. It's intense and brutal and beautifully inspiring, the story follows Celie and Nettie who are sisters living in the deep American south. I don't want to give all of it away so just know The Color Purple is heartbreaking, but empowering and uplifting in it's portrayal of self-discovery.
6. Pamela: or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson | I read this in college and it's a slog to get through, but if you like a challenge you'll be rewarded. Set in a time when a woman's virtue was basically her only ticket, the polarizing book follows 15 year old Pamela Andrews, a maidservant to Mr. B, and the constant tormenting, abuse, and unwanted sexual advances from her employer. I suggest reading this with someone you can have many philosophical debates with...
7. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon | I had to include a YA book! Though this book is primarily comprised of email and text correspondence between the two main characters, at least they're writing, right? I haven't read this book but it sounds interesting as it's "written" in vignettes, diary entries, emails, and illustrations. If you've read it, what did you think?
8. Dracula by Bram Stoker | So this list is kind of turning into my own list of books to read! I haven't read this classic (I chose to read Frankenstein and that was amazing FYI), but I feel it's a necessary read because of the novel's massive influence on the modern horror genre. And who knew it was set in the epistolary format?!
9. Attachements by Rainbow Rowell | Very now and very appropriate, Attachments is the love story about a man whose job is to monitor work emails, ie read his coworkers' gossip to each other. He begins to fall for a coworker he's never met as he reads her correspondence with her friend every day at work. I have yet to read it, but it's on the list!
April is only 30 days and I just gave you 9 books that could probably last you the year (I'm looking at you Pamela...), but give one of them a go and get inspired to write your own letters this month. The art of letter writing is not lost if we keep it accessible, fun, and a part of our every day life.
If you want some extra inspiration I'll be over on Instagram all month long giving you ideas on who to write to. And to make writing even easier and fun for you, I'm throwing a shop-wide sale for the month of April (use code WRITING2018 for 25% off all orders over $10!), go check it out!