Letter Writing Week: A Roundup of Great Epistolary Reads (Or Books That Are, Like, Letters)

Posted by Ashley Poston

To honor Letter Writing Week, I rounded up some of the best epistolary (letter-writing) novels I know. While I personally count diary entries as letter-writing, since we write it to our future selves (or imaginary friends, or our cat), I won’t include those on this list. Just purely letter-writing, fictional and non. And emails. And texting. And smoke-signals.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. One of my absolute favorites. While some consider it a “diary” since Charlie only ever addresses the receiver as “dear friend”… I’m still saying they’re letters. Because everyone needs to read this book at least once.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. A sign of the internet age. Also, a really adorable read. Mostly told in emails, it’s about an internet security officer who falls in love with a coworker through emails.

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. Non-fiction time! 84, Charing Cross Road details in letters the correspondences between Helene, a scriptwriter in New York, and the employees at 84 Charing Cross Road, an antique bookstore in London.

Jane Austen’s Letters by Jane Austen. Anyone in love with Jane Austen needs to get his or her hands on this pronto. It’s fun and entertaining, especially for Austen fans.

The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot. Even if you aren’t a fan of Meg Cabot, you have to give her applause for writing a thoroughly entertaining novel, and it will pleasantly remind you of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail. Wistful sigh.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. C.S. Lewis is known best for a certain magical wardrobe, and while people argue whether The Screwtape Letters is fiction or nonfiction in essence, it’s certainly a fun read.

Every PostSecret book in print. I grew up in the time of LiveJournal, so I had to include this one. Everyone fantasized about submitting their postcards to PostSecret, and the ones who did make PostSecret a read full of frustrating mystery, because you’ll never really know how each secret ends. But you can imagine, and I think that’s part of the allure.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira. Love it or hate it, this YA novel brings back the feels for musicians who died tragically early. Letters to Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix… any music buff will love this book, if only for the easter-egg music references!

Or, if you’re just looking for some riveting non-fiction reads, you can pop on over to www.lettersofnote.com for plenty of letters!

So what are you waiting for? Mail a letter! Send an email! Text yo bestie! And happy reading! 

Ashley Poston

Ashley Poston

Ashley Poston is a part-time author and full-time fangirl. She was born in rural South Carolina, where you can see the stars impossibly well…Tweet her at @ashposton and find out more about her at www.ashposton.com.