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The Book That Wrote Me a Letter

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

This email from Better World Books is the most creative letter I've ever received. I was smiling from ear to ear by the time I got to the end. The journey will certainly be "fraught with peril." (My dear friend, did you consider perilous and reject it? No? Never mind. After some time here, you'll find yourself thinking on these lines. And, yes, you will need a dust jacket. This is the Tropics, you know. Heat and dust.) I remember a book my brother sent me from the US that didn't arrive. But that was a stray case; all the others that were shipped from overseas did make it, and I hope my unusual correspondent will make it too.

Is my soon-to-be guest male or female? I tried reading the email again for clues. The surfeit of exclamation marks, the breathless (dare I say schoolgirlish?) style. Did someone say drama queen? On the other hand, there's the theory that a book written by a male author is male, and vice versa. The author is male in this case (the book is Revising Prose by Richard Lanham), so the book should be male.

Whatever his or her sex, my guest is definitely young. If a female, I'll put her on the shelf next to the handsomely bound Words Gone Wild. They'll entertain each other. If a male, I'll put him next to The Pothunters and Other School Stories by Wodehouse. That should keep them busy for a while. Wait, she(he) said she(he) likes suspense novels, so maybe, for starters, I should put her(him) between Look to the Lady by Margery Allingham and Whose Body? by Dorothy Sayers.

Dear book, I can assure you that you'll be well looked after here. You'll have the run of the house. You'll have your pick of shelf mates. Besides your own kind, you'll have Henry, a friendly talking owl, for company. And you can stay here for as long as you like.

No "landfill bait," ever; that's a promise. I hope you'll arrive before Christmas.

Update: The book arrived before the year end.


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