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Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience Kindle Edition

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Length: 352 pages Word Wise: Enabled Optimized for larger screens
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Editorial Reviews


* Funny, tragic, brilliantly incisive, historic, lyrical, romantic and studiedly offensive, this stupendous compendium of letters ancient and modern is my book of the year. You will never tire of it -- Stephen Fry * A gloriously presented compilation Financial Times * Open the pages of the anthology and the appeal is immediately obvious Observer * It is inspiring, and often sad, funny, and occasionally quite surreal GQ * The literary equivalent of a box of chocolates - bite-sized and pure addictive pleasure ... The result is beautifully produced, with photographs and colour facsimiles of much of the correspondence. A gorgeous Christmas present The Sunday Times * Addictive, like dipping into a bag of variously tempting assorted candies, knowing that the next one will always bring surprise and pleasure. Usher has an evident knack for selecting letters that land with the force of a good short story, with personalities and dramatic arcs emerging swiftly, from just a page or two. Many of the writers are famous people, caught in a moment of accessibility and rawness or off-the-cuff virtuosity New Yorker * Quite literally the most enjoyable volume it is possible to imagine. Every page is a marvel Spectator * A wonderful collection of magical missives ... It'll have you reaching for pen and paper Evening Standard * As a guide to letters that deserve a wider readership, Usher's compilation is hard to beat Scotland on Sunday * A truly extraordinary reading experience Big Issue * It is hard to see how Letters Of Note could ever be surpassed Mail on Sunday * The volume is so well-produced it could become an heirloom, passed down through generations Huffington Post * Witty, tragic, educational, inspirational The List * This wonderful volume features letters for the great and the good, including Mick Jagger, Roald Dahl - and the Queen, with her personal recipe for drop scones! Some are witty, some are wicked and others will move you to tears Bella * A book that's an ideal Christmas gift Metro * This year's Christmas gift? For sure Evening Standard * A fascinating blog... -- Andrew Sullivan The Atlantic on * The internet's cultural magpie GQ Magazine on

About the Author

Shaun Usher is a writer and sole custodian of the popular blog His chosen career as a curator of correspondence is particularly interesting given that he regularly receives - and more often than not doesn't reply to - abuse from exasperated friends due to his apparent inability to return their calls, emails, and, on very rare occasions, letters. Shaun lives in Wilmslow with his wife Karina, and their two sons. Letters of Note is his first book. Follow @LettersOfNote on Twitter

Product Details

  • File Size: 80135 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC (May 6, 2014)
  • Publication Date: May 6, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,189 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Shaun Usher was born in St. Albans, England in 1978 and currently lives in Cheshire with his wife and two sons. He is the sole custodian of the popular blog, Letters of Note, a book of which was published in October 2013 in the UK and became a bestseller. A US edition will follow in May of 2014. His obsession with correspondence is particularly interesting given that he regularly receives--and more often than not doesn't reply to--abuse from exasperated friends and family due to his apparent inability to return their calls, emails, and, on very rare occasions, letters. His second book is underway.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Alpha Reader on October 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Letters of Note started four years ago with the sole aim of bringing people, "correspondence deserving of a wider audience." The collator of the blog and book is Shaun Usher, a writer himself, and I have long been a fan of his [...] - so I was thrilled when he pitched the idea for a Letters of Note book to the crowd-sourced publisher, unbound. Eight pages at the back of the book list all of the unbound subscribers who made the Letters of Note book a reality, which is just lovely.

The book itself is a design feast. UK design studio `here design' are responsible for the cover design and typesetting; but for the sumptuous loveliness and heft, I'm quite surprised that it's only retailing for AUD$49.99 - also surprised, because Usher has included reproductions of original documents throughout the book, which adds such quality and uniqueness.

So there's a stunning reproduction of her own stationary that Annie Oakley wrote on to US President William McKinley, when she was offering her army of "lady sharp-shooters" to the Spanish-American war (he declined). There's also a full-page picture of a tablet (circa 1340 BC) from Ayyab to Amenhotep IV. A yellow legal-pad letter from John Kricfalusi includes doodles of what would later become his `Ren & Stimpy' characters.

And on the pages where letters could not be reproduced in their original form, Usher has included some stunning photographs of the correspondents. Like the haunting portrait of Virginia Woolf that accompanies her suicide note, discovered by her husband on their mantelpiece ("If anybody could have saved me it would have been you.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Aceto VINE VOICE on June 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Shaun Usher has assembled a collection of letters that delights, and captivates. This is an enjoyable read. Not that every story is happy because many are not. Rather because reading each enriches and bestows appreciation for the moment. This is one book meant to touch and stroke the simile of the page; for me, better in hardback than in kindle. From Groucho Marx's advise to Woody Allen, Roald Dahl's thank you letter for the "dream in the bottle", a 10-year-old Fidel Castro to the President of the United States, Ray Bradbury's letter "I am not afraid of Robots. I am afraid of people, people, people. I want them to remain human.", Kurt Vonnegut to the head of the school board who ordered burning all school copies of Slaughterhouse-Five, and Mick Jager's intelligent letter to Andy Warhol on the design of Rolling Stone's record sleeve which was ignored and became the famously working jean crotch zipper.

And there is the Reagan in polyester hound's tooth jacket, writing to his estranged son, mentioning how he knew more than many what an unhappy home is.

Finally, if for nothing else, the 342 pages of letter and commentaries is worthwhile if only to have a copy of Queen Elizabeth II's handwritten letter to then President Eisenhower when, after seeing a picture of him bar-b-queuing at a party, she includes her recipe for "One Drop Scones".

This is a gift book that is of large format with heavy stock paper. The large format gives a comfortable space with which they did careful, true renderings of the artifacts. The viewing of the originals is not here so important for any scholarly reason, but to warm the reading of each. Chronicle Books is usually good at such things and here it adds just that nice finish.

If you have bathroom enough, this is a prize for the throne sitters.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Foster Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What an incredible book! LETTERS OF NOTE, collected by Shaun Usher, consists of 125 letters-- if I counted correctly-- from many different people and times. The book is big enough and certainly beautiful enough to make that dubious qualification of suitable for a coffee table. Mr. Usher often includes with the letters full-page portraits of the writers, an actual reproduction of the letter, handwritten or typed or in whatever other form of the original letter as the case may be, along with the printed letters and a short paragraph about what occasioned the letter.

This is one of those books that you can open anywhere and read a terrific letter. The first one I read was one from Bette Davis to her daughter responding to what she had written about Davis in her memoir MY MOTHER'S KEEPER. (Fortunately not every letter is the collection contains so much venom although Flannery O`Connor`s may run a close second.) I guess the lady wasn't always acting in her movies. The letter I just finished is a note from Oscar Wilde to Bernulf Clegg explaining his remark that "All art is quite useless." Part of his beautiful letter reads as follows: "A work of art is useless as a flower is useless. A flower blossoms for its own joy. We gain a moment of joy by looking at it." In Queen Elizabeth's letter to President Eisenhower, she encloses her recipe for drop scones that she had promised him. Mary Stuart sends a letter to the brother of her ex-husband hours before she is to be beheaded: " thanks be to God, I scorn death and vow that I meet it innocent of any crime." One wonders how anyone at the NEW YORKER magazine could have not hired the twenty-three-year-old Eudora Welty after reading her charming, funny letter-- but they did. "I am a southerner, from Mississippi, the nation's most backward state. .
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