- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (April 21, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1451687168
- ISBN-13: 978-1451687163
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,152,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing Paperback – April 21, 2015
"The Other Woman" by Sandie Jones
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“Does anybody remember the values associated with hand-writing a letter? Does the word “cursive” ring a bell? The author of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair eloquently tracks the history of letter-writing, and along the way reminds us of how a real letter establishes a personal bond between the writer and the recipient.” (The Sacramento Bee)
“In this age of e-mail, few appreciate any longer the deep joys and satisfactions that spring in mind and heart from writing and receiving letters. Sankovitch combs history to find exceptional correspondents… this book should encourage readers to search out and read the letters' full texts.” (Booklist)
“[Sankovitch] makes an eloquent argument on behalf of the unique personal qualities of sending and receiving letters.” (The Connecticut Post)
“Part memoir, part meditation, part artful history lesson…and part reminder to put a pen to paper” (OPRAH.COM)
"A son’s departure for college prompted Sankovitch (Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading, 2011, etc.) to wonder, 'Why does a letter mean so much?'... Her desire for an actual handwritten letter got the author thinking about the different ways in which correspondence connects us to others, and her agreeable narrative roams through many varieties.... a sweet-natured, well-written affirmation of the time-honored role of letters as a uniquely personal way to communicate." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Perfect for devotes of pen and paper, Sankovitch’s (Tolstoy and the Purple Chair) new book examines her personal correspondence with family and friends and the letters of strangers, famous and obscure, and shows the reading of letters to be a pleasurable form of discovery and connection... an enjoyable, if sentimental read and will likely inspire both old-fashioned letter reading and letter writing." (Publishers Weekly)
Sankovitch's "review of the art of letter writing is a unique blend of personal and public history...[her] enthusiasm is clear as she makes the case for their importance. It's hard to imagine future generations becoming as excited over discovering emails and texts as she was over the revelation of century-old letters." (Library Journal)
“I loved this this poignant and inspirational book. Nina Sankovitch brings many lost worlds and characters—from Abelard and Eloise to Edith Wharton—vividly to life through the power of letters. At the same time, she reminds us of all that we have lost since texting has replaced letter writing as a vital connection among humans. A pure delight.” (Kati Marton, author of Paris: A Love Story)
“I challenge you to stop reading Signed, Sealed, Delivered after the Queen of Bohemia's flame to the Earl of Carlisle which begins ‘Thou ugly, filthy, camel's face...’ I know I couldn't.” (Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind and Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Ge)
“Dear reader: I hasten to alert you to an irresistible book exploring personal correspondence across many periods of history and every range of human emotion. If letter-writing is a lost, or at best a vanishing, art, Nina Sankovitch has injected it with new hope and life. Take that, email and twitter. Frankly, I could not put this book down, else I would have written sooner.” (Harold Holzer, author of Dear Mr. Lincoln: Letters to the President)
About the Author
Nina Sankovitch is the acclaimed author of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, selected by Oprah as a “book to read now,” and a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. She is married and lives in Connecticut.
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The book encompasses a variety of correspondence and correspondents, from different historical periods and social strata, and differing relationships---from the familial, to the romantic and even the political. All exchanges are well-chosen. Each is intimate and unique, and also stands in notable contrast with the sparer e-mails and texts of our current, more digital age, a development which Sankvovitch rather regrets. For her these older paper-based forms of communication tended to be deeper, more thoughtful and probably more consequential than their modern equivalents, precisely because they were, as she says, “singular in writing, and in receiving.” Based on the examples she provides, I will say she makes a persuasive case.
Despite this view, however, she does not turn the book into a simple exercise in nostalgia. Instead she connects these correspondences to her own recent written communications with her eldest son, with whom she maintained almost daily contact (both digital and postal) after he left home to study at Harvard. In so doing she artfully connects the older exchanges very much to the present, highlighting their resonations today and rendering them even more personal and intimate than if she had examined each in isolation. Indeed this approach is quite similar to that of her first book, in which she which relates an intensive stretch of reading (one complete book of prose literature per day over a full year) to preceding events in her personal and family life, both sad and joyful.
On that note, I would even suggest that Nina Sankovitch has now fashioned a new genre all her own---part memoir and part literary and historical reflection, but most of all a celebration of the written word. Book-lovers and readers among us, of all stripes, would be well-advised to join her on the page.
Give yourselves a treat and read this wonderful book.