Could there a book that, in some way, appeals to everyone? If it is possible, I’d lay a solid bet that Letters of Note could be that book.
An eclectic collection of 125 historical, and (mostly) unedited letters, reading Letters of Note is sort of like watching a cat chase after a laser pointer but in the best possible way. The book jumps around between the light-hearted, the serious, tear-jerking, humorous, utterly mundane and historically significant letters from and to people in all walks of life.
To give you an idea of the diversity of these letters, the book begins with a letter written by Queen Elizabeth II to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Now it might not be a surprise to know that two powerful heads of state exchanged a letter, what is unexpected (at least to me) was the subject matter–scones. Yup, Queen Elizabeth was writing to the President to share her recipe for scones (she had promised it to him after a recent visit). How random and wonderful, right? So how does Usher follow it up? With a letter from Jack the Ripper to George Lusk basically mocking Lusk’s attempts at trying to find him. Oh and as a bonus Jack sent along a piece of one of his victims. Talk about a complete 180 from the first letter.
The collection continues with letters from EB White, Mary Stuart, Groucho Marx, Roald Dahl, Annie Oakley, Louis Armstrong, Fidel Castro, Steve Martin, Charles Schultz, Amelia Earhart, Galileo, Jackie Robinson, Elvis Presley, Iggy Pop, and others each one opening a window into a little part of their world and in turn, ours.
I wasn’t joking when I said that I think this book may really have something for everyone–and *spoiler alert for my friends and family* I’m putting my money where my mouth is when I do my holiday shopping this year. Probably best read in small doses or displayed on the coffee table to be pursued by curious guests, Letters of Note is sure to be a conversation starter. What else can I say? Just buy it. You won’t be bored with it I assure you.
Rating: 5 stars
Title: Letters of Note
Author: Shaun Usher
Release Date: May 2014