Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review: 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered' book by Nina Sankovitch

Earlier this year, the publishing house Simon and Schuster released "Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing" by Nina Sankovitch.

If you've fallen behind in your correspondence, this book will inspire you to rush right to your desk, pull out your stationery and favorite pen and write a letter immediately. If you already write letters on a regular basis, Sankovitch's story will validate your constant scribbling.

The nonfiction book was inspired by an old trunk full of letters discovered in the backyard shed of the house she and her husband had just bought. The home's previous owners didn't want the contents of the trunk and told Sankovitch she could keep the letters.

It took her almost a year to read through the letters that had been written in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many of the letters were written by James Seligman to his mother, and Sankovitch got to know him through the letters.

But, the author's experience reading the correspondence of people she never knew is only part of the book. From there, she goes on to explore, in depth, what letters can mean.

For example, she writes about her older sister Anne-Marie, who died from cancer when Sankovitch's children were young. Over the years, Sankovitch had kept all of the letters her sister had written to her, and now she says about those letters:
" is the written words she left me, postcards and birthday cards and letters exchanged over my forty-plus years of being her sister, that allow me to hold in my hand the very substance of who she was, to me and with me. To touch: I can hold my sister still, in a very real and lovely and lasting way."

About letters from her son, away at college, she says, "A letter brings him home again."

Throughout the book, Sankovitch discusses many letters written by people through history, and often she reflects on the letters, comparing them to events in her own life. She wonders, for example, if she should offer advice to her son in her letters, as poet W.B. Yeats advised his daughter as she grew up.

From the letters in the trunks to the published letters of famous authors, Sankovitch explores how much we can learn about people through their letters. As in life, some of the chapters cover the topic of love, including some of the more racy letters that people sometimes write, as well as the other emotions that can be conveyed via the hand-written word.

If you'd like to see a video of Nina Sankovitch talking about the book, visit the Simon and Schuster page for "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" and scroll down. Click on the link for the video "Celebrating the Joys of Letter Writing."

You can also purchase a copy of the book on that site.

It's a great book that will be thoroughly enjoyed by letter writers and letter readers alike.

1 comment:

Kathy B. said...

Thank you for sharing about this book...for sure it will be my next purchase...
Kathy B.

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