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I’m Going To Sit Right Down & Write Myself A Letter

It’s all about letter writing..It’s Simon Garfield’s new hardcover, “To The Letter; A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing” & it’s hot off the presses & due for nationwide release 2 weeks from today, Monday, November 18th! Simon pines, “Can anything be done to revive a practice that has dictated & tracked the progress of civilization for more than 500 years?” Tracing the history of letter writing from the love letter to the cover letter; from handwritten notes, to typewriters to emails & texts, “To The Letter” explores letter writing manuals, letters as a literary device & how pen-pals are still relevant today, albeit in a different form. “To The Letter” greets many of the developments of digital communication with a question: what do we gain & what do you lose? From the etiquette of the opening address to the sign-off & the kiss, can anything be done to revive a practice that has dictated & tracked the progress of civilization for more than 500 years? A shoe box of letters is a reflection of a life lived, but who keeps one anymore? Today’s equivalent is an archived email folder, & somehow it’s just ain’t the same. As Simon put its: Digital communication, so much quicker, so much easier, has brought forth a new language & a new etiquette, but also a catalog of farewells, not to ink & calligraphy, for that went with the typewriter, but for a form of expression, emotion & tactile delight; for something we may clasp to our heart.”  In fact, in 2006, the US sent 204 billion items through the mail. In 2011, that number was down to 167 billion. No wonder the danged post office keeps raising the price of stamps! “To The Letter” author, Simon Garfield (not to be confused with Simon & Garfunkel), is the author of 14 ACCLAIMED books of nonfiction. Look for it at bookstores nationwide beginning November 18th. It’s from Gotham Books. The Boxtops WERE ahead of their time!

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