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Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See Hardcover – October 30, 2007


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Frequently Bought Together

Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See + PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives + A Lifetime of Secrets: A PostSecret Book
Price for all three: $55.30

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From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, find hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Potter Style; First Edition edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307382648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307382641
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“If I have learned only one thing from a) personal experience and b) Vivian Cash's fascinating memoir, I Walked the Line, it is this: No human can compose a love letter without seeming slightly insane. Love letters are like suicide notes -- if someone is in the emotional position to consider writing one, they're generally in the worst psychological position to make any cogent sense. That disconnect is what makes Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See  a painfully entertaining twelve-minute read. Edited by former Life magazine editor Bill Shapiro (and presented like Davy Rothbart's Found series), the book delivers exactly what it purports: random personal letters from people who are either wildly ecstatic or profoundly depressed over the condition of their romantic existence. (One of my favorite entries is from a person who just printed the word liar 183 consecutive times.) Judging from the contents of these notes, we appear to live in a society that is sex crazed and optimistic yet consumed with deep regret. This is probably true. Making matters all the more interesting is Shapiro's epilogue -- he contacts several of the contributors and finds out how the relationship worked out, postletter.”
—Esquire, Chuck Klosterman
 
“Bill Shapiro (Time Inc.'s development editor) collects extremely private correspondence, which he has amassed in Other People's Love Letters. The notes, e-mails, telegrams, and letters appear as copies of the originals, in all their faded, tearstained glory. The earliest examples come off as gorgeous and romantic, whether they're pages of elegant script or a few words scrawled on a cocktail napkin. E-mail seems to have had a decidedly negative effect on the art, if ''Am having terribly naughty thoughts again today, and I was wondering if you might want to hear about them'' is any indication. After compulsively flipping through to the last page, I have just one question: How did Shapiro get people to part with these?”
—Entertainment Weekly
 
“From the moment Bill Shapiro stumbled upon an old love letter that wasn’t his (it was an ode to his then girlfriend from some earlier man), he was hooked. His new book, Other People’s Love Letters, reprints 150 of the many hundreds he’s collected over the years. Strictly speaking, they’re not all declarations of love. Some are Dear Johns; others are postmortems of failed relationships. And not all of them are letters, in the stationary-and-envelope sense. They’re scrawled across postcards, crammed onto Post-its, scribbled on cocktail napkins and matchbooks. Some are old (Peter J. Dougherty, chief of police, to ‘dearest Lizzie,’ dated December 22, 1911); some are new (e-mails, text messages, more e-mails). Should going through them strike you as voyeuristic, beware. They’re addictive.”
—O Magazine

About the Author

Bill Shapiro is the former editor of LIFE magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

This is a great coffee table book.
Joshua Jordan
Finally, a way to read other people's love letters without betraying someone you know or risking getting caught, hurt, or overcome by guilt.
Fan of Tick Tock
This is a beautiful book filled with Amazing love letters.
L. Vannelli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Fan of Tick Tock on November 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Finally, a way to read other people's love letters without betraying someone you know or risking getting caught, hurt, or overcome by guilt. But the pleasure isn't simply voyeuristic. These letters pull you into the world of the writer/recipient/lover/loved (It's the experience of reading novel, but with nicer graphics and way fewer words!), but also make you reflect on your own relationships, the things you do and don't express, the complex range of feelings you have all at once, the way feelings change over time ... They run the gamut from tear-jerking to shocking to laugh-out-loud funny and represent a range of relationships at all the different stages--which makes reading them not only illuminating but also reassuring: All these people, old and young, effusive and reticent, articulate and, um, less so have experienced the intense highs and lows of new love, unrequited love, lustful love, lost love, etc. and survived (at least enough to have contributed a letter to this book). Bottom line: great read, excellent gift.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Christina Lockstein on January 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Other People's Love Letters by Bill Shapiro is a fascinating peek into love: its beginnings and endings, and the twisted path between. Shapiro, whose website has many more of these letters, asked his friends and exs for old love letters. They, in turn, asked others giving Shapiro a huge range of letters to choose from in making this book. From sweet text messages, to post divorce rants, these letters are enjoyable and insightful. It's amazing how similar letters written in the first throes of love are: you're amazing; I can't live without you. But Shapiro tried to pick letters that said something deeper and love and the human condition. It's not a book you want to read in one sitting; reading too many back to back makes them lose their potency. But taken in small doses, it's a great way to remember how good love feels in the beginning and how sweet it can be after many years. Some of my favorite letters were the ones written by married couples several years in. Shapiro includes a short epilogue with brief stories about some of the couples who wrote the letters. Reading these made the letters even more powerful, especially the one from a husband serving in Vietnam in 1969. A great read, perfect as a Valentine's Day gift; give it with your own love letter!
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Anne Bam on January 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bought this as a gift for a friend, but after browsing through it, was quite tempted to steal it back from her. There are some really adorable heart-warming notes, & some notes of love gone awry. Not just a book for the romantic, but for the skeptic too--some discourage and show love's pitfalls, but also many leave you terribly optimistic. I highly recommend it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Haim on February 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoy this book. There is something both sweet and scandalous about the idea of reading snippets of other peoples' love letters. Each time I pick it up I find something new that I hadn't noticed the last time I read it. The imagination whirls wondering about the writers and the recipients. It's the perfect Valentines Day!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Julie on March 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i got this book for valentine's day and i found it really interesting. the best part is the descriptions at the end of what happened with the people who wrote and received the letters.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nancy VINE VOICE on January 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Accidentially on purpose, Bill Shapiro read a love letter left on his girlfriends counter, not once, but three times. Thus began his collecting of love letters. Not your usual collection of letters, not always the undying love type, these letters will make you laugh, cry and at times make you glad that crazy obsessed stalker like people have found others to write to.

At the end you will find a post script to some of these letters that will warm you heart all over again. Designed in very much the same way as the Post Secret Books, this is a great gift to share with your friends.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Emily Hartsough on December 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I called every bookstore the day Bill Shapiros novel came out to see how many copies they had in stock. I then bought it for everyone on my Christmas list. Not one person was dissappointed. Each read it in one sitting and could read it over and over again! I hope he comes out with many volumes of this because it is such a silent pleasure to be able to experience the romance, the loss and the heartbreaks of other peoples love lives.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By C. Elmore on January 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I thought this was a great book...however, it's not "juicy" love letters like you would expect, but more unique love letters. In some instances, you only get to see a portion of the letter instead of seeing it in it's entirety, and in other portions the letters you are reading aren't at all about love. Either way, I am a big fan of "Found" and "PostSecret" and I think this book is right up there with them and hope to see more editions.
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