Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Letters of Note

The holidays seem to bring out the correspondent in everyone. It starts at an early age, with the all-important letters to Santa, and then develops into the less-demanding letters to people you care about. Christmas cards and more general letters from distant friends and relatives abound, and usually make for some pretty interesting reading.

That’s one of my favourite things about the holidays, actually. I love that checking the mail yields more than bills and community newsletters. I also love that it becomes socially acceptable to read other people’s cards and things—sometimes it’s actually unavoidable because they’re thrust in front of you or left open on mantelpieces and shelves, strategically placed to catch a casual glance.

So, in the spirit of being allowed to read other people’s mail (one of the lesser-known aspects of the holiday spirit), I recommend taking a gander at Letters of Note (a blog that publishes the correspondence of notable people).

I especially like the December 1944 letter from Kurt Vonnegut to his family, written after he was released from a German POW camp. I also really enjoyed the series of letters Dr. Seuss sent to a young fan over several years, as well as the more curt missives of J.D. Salinger (one to an angsty fan and one to a filmmaker).

Really, the site is a treasure trove of letters, many not written by authors, and is well worth a little browsing time.

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