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The Art of the Personal Letter: A Guide to Connecting Through the Written Word Hardcover – September 16, 2008
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About the Author
Margaret Shepherd is a noted calligrapher and author whose clients include numerous headliners. The author of thousands of personal letters and fourteen hand-lettered instructional books on calligraphy, including the bestselling Learning Calligraphy, she has exhibited her work in many museums and galleries. She lives in Boston.
Sharon Cloud Hogan has written and edited several books for general readers . She leads workshops on nonfiction writing for physicians, and she is a manuscript editor at The New England Journal of Medicine. She lives near Boston.
Top Customer Reviews
Now the personal letter, as this work quickly points out, is different than business letters, memos, notes and such. I have been writing business letters since I was sixteen years old. As a matter of fact I have spent a life time writing business letters, directives, orders, instructions, etc. I can honestly say that I did not truly enjoy writing even on of the thousands upon thousands I churned out over the decades. Not so the personal letter!
The author of this undersized and well designed book, Margaret Shepherd has given us a true delight; a read that needs to be cherished and read again and again. This is not some stuffy English Book filled with directions in grammar and punctuation; no, this is a book that helps you become a crafter, a designer, an artist via the written word. Yet, it does give sound advice...more about that later.
This work begins with the discussion of the various writing instruments available to us today. Of course the pencil and ball point pen are at the bottom of the food chain here with the luxury fountain pen being at the top. I remember my grandmother, a fine lady who was raised in a strict Victorian family. She always felt that the arrival of the ballpoint pen was one of the first harbingers of the downfall of civilization. In her own lady like way, she was rather harsh when speaking of these "awful things." Perhaps she may have been correct.Read more ›
But I feel compelled to read books about writing so I picked up this book. And it turns out I was wrong about personal letters. As I read through this delightful book, I realized that most of us don't know how to write personal letters that communicate effectively.
Shepherd walks the reader through the steps to writing a personal letter. She even gives advice -- good advice -- on choosing a pen and improving your handwriting.
Most important, she shares good advice about dealing with specific situations, including the break-up letter (establish some distance) the advice letter and the letter to someone "who is away." If anything I wish these sections had been longer. I especially liked the advice on writing to someone in the military: don't use flowery notepaper when writing to someone in Marine Corps boot camp. I've heard stories of recruits who had to eat some of those letters (literally).
I am tempted to give this book to friends who send me a holiday letter every Christmas season. I always dread opening that letter and now I know why. Shepherd advises us to make those letters interesting. Don't just brag about accomplishments of yourself and your kids; tell us the downside, too.
The only areas where I disagree with Shepherd are related to appearance of the letter. I vote for black ink on white or cream paper, no matter how offbeat your own personality may be. If it's too hard too read, I won't get beyond the first line. I would rather have a nice word-processed letter that's easy to read than a hand-written scrawl.Read more ›
After having read Ms. Shepherd's book, I knew it would be the perfect instructional tool. She has been extremely supportive and I truly apprecicate her help and encouragement.
The workshop begins in the beginning of March. I know it will be a great success because I have the perfect guide.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Earlier today I received bad news about the death of a friend's parent. I will wait to talk to her and send her an email today to let her know that I am thinking of her. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Ali
Not a back book, but is not what I expected for myself. I would say it would be a very good book for beginners. Most of the advice I feel is kind of intuitive or obvious. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Ivan Camilli
I'd say that 90% (maybe an overstatement) of this book deals with paper, pen...equipment, etc. Very little on letter content examples.Published on December 21, 2014 by Doreen Hardy
I love this book and it is so worth the price .Published on November 19, 2014 by Catherine Thompson
more time please - I feel my rating will go up. This is one of those books you absorb and study and meditate upon. And I need more time.Published on April 8, 2013 by pamelak
It was exactly what I was looking for to help me write a condolence note. Everyone should have on on their book shelf.Published on February 10, 2013 by John N. Craven