“Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience” by Shaun Usher is a unique collection of 125 letters from famous writers, scientists, artists, and other remarkable people throughout history.
There is an image of each letter and a transcript to go with it for easy reading, the book is also filled with photographs, portraits and relevant artworks that adds a visual treat to this collection of text.
The book contains letters from:
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Ludwig van Beethoven
And many more.
1) Life Advice from F. Scott Fitzgerald
In 1933, the famous American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, best known for writing “The Great Gatsby”, sent a letter to his young daughter while she was away at camp.
The letter is filled with wisdom such as the things she should worry about in life and the things that she shouldn’t worry about. Here are a few lines from the letter:
“Things to worry about:
Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Things not to worry about:
Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures”
2) Writing Advice from Ernest Hemingway
Even the best writers encounter roadblocks and question the quality of their work. So in 1934 when F. Scott Fitzgerald needed honest feedback, he turned to his old and trustworthy friend, Ernest Hemingway.
Fitzgerald had just published “Tender is the Night” and wanted Hemingway’s opinion on the book–Hemingway did not hold back and the brutal honesty of his advice remains invaluable for all writers.
Here are a few quotes from the letter:
3) Advice from Fyodor Dostoevsky
In April 1849, Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky was arrested for discussing literature banned by Czar Nicholas I and sent for execution. At the last minute, the execution was called off and Dostoevsky was instead sent to a prison camp in Siberia.
He would go on to spend almost 5 years in prison and after being released, write such classics as “Crime and Punishment” and “The Brothers Karamazov.”
A day after his execution was called off, Dostoevsky sent a letter to his brother in which he described his death sentence, talked about his new perspective on life. Here are a few quotes from the letter:
“Letters of Note” by Shaun Usher is the perfect coffee table book, especially for people who love to read or write. There is something special about reading letters, particularly handwritten letters, from famous individuals that gives readers an inside look into the person’s soul.
Since most of the letters are only a page or so, you can read this book bit by bit without having to remember past characters or the storyline. Instead, pickup this book whenever you have a few minutes and read a letter from Charles Darwin or John F. Kennedy.
The book is also filled with images and photographs that add another layer of personality to the letters and make the writing come alive. Whether you are into science, writing, art, music–there is something for everyone in this book.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
If you’re interested in reading the full letters or reading more letters from a wide-range of authors, you can get “Letters of Note” here.
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