As I was writing my post on romantic text messages to send I came across an interesting article. The UK Telegraph reported people were clamoring to get their hands on a, book entitled Love Letters of Great Men after it was featured in the Sex and the City Movie. The only problem was the book, of that title, didn't really exist and what's even more baffling is the newspapers report that booksellers couldn't direct people to suitable alternatives. This caused a publisher to race out and create a book of the same title.
|While it looks like a lovely compilation, the letters noted are some of the same featured in previously published books, including some of my favorites. The only difference is the book presents only the letters of men which is rather unfortunate considering some of the best love letters are penned by women. Great women at that.|
[Love Letters of Great Men by Ursula Doyle inspired by the Sex & The City Movie scene.]
So I give you my personal favorites when it comes to tomes of a love letter-ish nature. If these don't give you some major heart pouring cravings I don't know what will! They're that good.
The Best Love Letter Books To Give:
Hands down the best books for giving and enjoying in front of a cracking fire, wrapped in a blanket and sipping hot buttered rum is the collection of anthologies by Michelle Lovric. These books are incredibly well done and a feast for the senses. The most unique aspect is the way the publisher created reproductions of the actual love letters and stuck them in envelopes on each page. The letters are reprinted throughout the book so you can read them without difficulty as well. Strewn throughout you'll also find many quotes from other letters and beautiful ephemera illustrations. Both Love Letters: An Anthology of Passion, Love Letters : A Little Anthology of Passion (Little Bks.), and Passionate Love Letters: An Anthology of Desire are must give books. I recommend finding a deep red ribbon and wrapping it around both the books as a gift or include one or both with a box of fine stationery. Talk about luxe and sexy!
Lastly there was a tiny book and kit by Thomas Campbell called The Art of the Love Letter (Running Press). Basically a miniature version of How To Write Love Letters (see below), the little book includes a collection of love letters and tips along with a miniature wax seal, red sealing wax and envelopes and note paper. One of the best kits Running Press created in the Miniature Editions line it is now rather hard to find. Fortunately Amazon.com has a whole bunch for sale. These make adorable hostess and shower favors. $5.95.
Books To Inspire You To Write Your Own Love Letters:
Love letters can be very tricky to pen, especially when you're not sure about the relationship or your true feelings. They're also incredibly hard to fake. If authentic feelings are not there the result is something garishly corny and plastic. This is why most books that try to teach people to write love letters fall flat and just don't work. Where's the authors motivation? They don't know you! You're much better off being inspired by the real letters compiled in the above books &/or reading sensuous poems by such masters as Rumi. Anything that will help you get in touch with your inner feelings and free you from any inhibitions you might have. There are a few books that can lend a bit of a helping hand along with providing real examples and words of wisdom on style.
Michelle Lovric followed up her immensely popular anthologies with a book about writing love letters because so many fans wrote her asking her how. How to Write Love Letters (Shooting Star Press) is a miniature version of her two previous books but packs in so much content it'll literally be one of the only books you'll ever need. If you only get one letter writing book, make it this one! It merges her knack for finding delicious letters with sage advice on style and format for writing your own missives. Once again a real feast for the eyes and soul.
Another one of my favorite books with a decently sized section on love letters is, The Pleasures of Staying in Touch - Writing Memorable Letters by Jennifer Williams (Hearst Books). This is one of the few non-fiction books I've read where the authors writing style made all the difference. Gorgeous and thoughtful, Williams leads you along on a very meaningful path. The book also includes many reprints of loving letters including ones by Colette, Emily Dickinson and Jane Austen for added inspiration.
Napoleon to his beloved Josephine
I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet, incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart! Are you angry? Do I see you looking sad? Are you worried?... My soul aches with sorrow, and there can be no rest for you love; but is there still more in store for me when, yielding to the profound feelings which overwhelm me, I draw from your lips, from your heart a love which consumes me with fire? Ah! It was last night that I fully realized how false an image of you your portrait gives! You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours.
Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire. -As found in the cute little book "LOVE" by Miriam Zellnik
What's pretty evident by the reaction to Carrie's book of love letters in the Sex and the City movie is people deeply crave romantic connections. The trick is making it real and using our modern technology to work it into our daily lives. The above books are a great way to start on the path of rediscovery and eye opening possibilities. They also beg the question as to why many men of that era could express their feelings so deeply—romantically yet, our modern American men at the very least, are not expected to vocalize anything? Worse they're deemed incapable. Reading the letters of common men of the Civil War seems to dispel that myth. Can you tell I'm enamoured with love letters? Yeah, just a tad. Let's bring them, or at least the vocalization of real feelings, back.
For one of the best online resources check out Wendy Russ', Letters, Letter-writing and Other Intimate Discourse.
There will always be those who frown on forbidden love.
But love, you see, does not care, for it, unlike
prejudice, knows no boundries.
(Letters of a Portuguese Nun - Myriam Cyr)
The Supermelon has featured A Thousand Kisses, an exhibit of famous love letters on display in NYC Jan. 2009 through March 2009.
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