Archives For Letters


One of the best new book releases of the last couple of weeks is:

Love, Henri:
Letters on the Spiritual Life

Henri Nouwen

Gabrielle Earnshaw, Editor
Hardback: Convergent Books, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Read the editor’s preface to this collection, and Brene Brown’s foreword:

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Failing to Get Out of the Way
A Feature Review of

Letters and Life: On Being a Writer, on Being a Christian

Bret Lott

Hardback: Crossway, 2013
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Katherine Willis Pershey
A few months ago, I swore off writing book reviews after a monumentally awkward encounter with an author whose book I had reviewed. In defense of this Author Who Shall Not Be Named, I walked right into it. I strongly encourage writers to refrain from cheerfully approaching authors whose books they have reviewed. Learn from my mistakes.


My disavowal of book reviewing didn’t take, obviously. I had already committed to reviewing a new title for a print publication, so I had to shake off my abject mortification and put on my big girl pants. Thankfully, I loved the book and didn’t have many negative criticisms to weave in to my otherwise glowing assessment. It was such a pleasant experience I decided I would revise my prohibition against book reviews. I simply wouldn’t review books I didn’t wholeheartedly love, thus saving me from future mortification and preserving the egos of authors whose books about which I could not, in good conscience, gush.

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A Clear and Highly Developed Vision of a Better World

A Feature Review of

Distant Neighbors: The Selected Letters Of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder.

Hardback: Counterpoint, 2014
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Michelle E. Wilbert


In the affectionate introduction to this edifying collection of correspondence between novelist, poet, and cultural critic Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder, the “Poet Laureate of Deep Ecology,” an essayist, activist, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1974 for his book Turtle Island, editor Chad Wriglesworth relays the earliest articulation of the relationship between the two men, found in a short essay sent by Berry to Snyder after his returning home to Kentucky following his first visit to Snyder’s homestead in the San Juan Ridge area of southern California. While offering his observations on their various shared affinities and concerns – land, community, and the sense that “being native to a place” involves examining the questions that would lead to a commitment to arresting the “pattern of imposing human will upon the land” and to living within creaturely limits in conformity to the local ecology – he concluded his reveries by metaphorically extending his hand with the declaration, “We are neighbors—distant neighbors,” and thus began a friendship that has lasted more than 40 years and has been conducted largely through the somewhat lost art of epistolary.

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A great conversation between Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder, on the occasion of their new book

Distant Neighbors: The Selected Letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder

Hardback: Counterpoint Press, 2013
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
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Invaluable and Necessary and Absolutely Brilliant

A Review of

Letters from Apartheid Street: A Christian Peacemaker in Occupied Palestine
Michael McRay

Paperback: Wipf and Stock, 2013
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

 Reviewed by Wes Magruder


There is absolutely nothing original, novel, or strikingly new in Michael T. McRay’s book, Letters From Apartheid Street: A Christian Peacemaker in Occupied Palestine, which consists of letters and journal entries during his two-month stint with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Hebron, Palestine, in January and February 2012.


And nothing happened in Hebron during McRay’s stay that doesn’t happen on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis in occupied Palestine. McRay recounts episodes of random soldier searches, harassment of children on their way to school, and midnight raids and seizures.


Those who keep themselves abreast of the ongoing narrative in Israel/Palestine beyond that which is spun by the major American media outlets are well aware of the real situation. The separation wall built by Israel has further marginalized and isolated the people of Palestine, while emboldening the growing settler movement.

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Two of the three volumes of C.S. Lewis’s collected letters have been reduced to only 99 cents for Kindle!!!

(Be sure to refresh the Amazon page before purchasing to to ensure that the price has not gone up…)

Unfortunately, the middle volume remains at its regular (not particularly cheap) price…



The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 1 (Family Letters 1905-1931)

The life and mind of C. S. Lewis have fascinated those who have read his works. This collection of his personal letters reveals a unique intellectual journey. The first of a three-volume collection, this volume contains letters from Lewis’s boyhood, his army days in World War I, and his early academic life at Oxford. Here we encounter the creative, imaginative seeds that gave birth to some of his most famous works.   Only 99c!!!

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A Candid Self-Disclosure

A Feature Review of

Kurt Vonnegut: Letters

Dan Wakefield, ed.

Hardback: Delacorte Press, 2012
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Larry Shallenberger.


[ Read an excerpt of this book ]


Mark Twain was consumed with concerns about his reputation and legacy to the point that when he sat down to write his autobiography he ordered the estate to keep the document sealed for one hundred years. The work was finally published in 2010. Twain’s reminiscences were so rambling and anecdotal that one was left with the impression that Twain’s fear of being truly known submarined the project, despite the century-long moratorium of being judged by history. The mantle of being America’s satirist passed from Twain to novelist Kurt Vonnegut, but gratefully, the posthumous collection of Vonnegut’s correspondence is more generous in its revelations about his relationships, struggles and wit.


Letters was compiled and edited by Vonnegut’s longtime friend, Dan Wakefield, who was also a son of Indianapolis and a novelist. Wakefield organized Vonnegut’s type-written correspondence by decades and opened section with brief historic and biographical notes which provide quite helpful to those less versed in the particulars of Vonnegut’s life.


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As a fellow resident of Indianapolis, I am very much looking forward to this new collection of Kurt Vonnegut’s letters, which hits bookstores today…

Kurt Vonnegut: Letters.

Dan Wakefield, Editor.

Hardback: Delacorte Books, 2012.
Buy now:   [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

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