All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Sincerely (Women of Letters) – Created by Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire

on October 31, 2012

Created by Marieke Hardy & Michaela McGuire
Penguin AU
2012, 423p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Women Of Letters has been reviving the art of letter writing recently. Australian women of all different backgrounds, from all different occupations were given a topic and asked to write a letter. Then, at sold out events around the country, they would read these letters to an audience.

In this volume, Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire have preserved a year’s worth of correspondence and this time around it seems men have been invited to the party too. The likes of Shaun Micallef, Kamahl, Rhys Muldoon and Hamish Blake are alongside singer Kate Miller-Heidke, Libbi Gorr, Emily Maguire, Di Morrissey and Helen Marcou. All proceeds from this book go to Edgar’s Mission, a not-for-profit sanctuary for neglected, abused and discarded farm animals.

This review is different to probably any other review I’ve written before, because for the first time, I don’t have a plot to talk about. This book is comprised entirely of letters. There are 15 topics for the letters, including A Complaint Letter, To My Most Treasured Possession  To The Woman Who Changed My Life, To A Little White Lie and To The Life I Could Have Lived to name just a few. The letters are brief and the people who wrote them all very different. Many I didn’t know and it was nice to have a handy information file at the back of the book but perhaps it would’ve been better served to have that bio at the beginning of their letter, as I was forever flipping back and forth to learn about people I wasn’t familiar with.

The format of this book lends it to being able to be put down and then picked back up again extremely easily. It was a great one to read whilst doing other things (cooking dinner, running the kids bath, waiting for my husband to be ready to go somewhere, etc). It was surprising how engrossed I became in some of the letters, I marked this book with no less than fourteen post-it notes, each one denoting a letter that I related to, or really enjoyed the writing of. Some of these I read over and over, especially Jacqui Payne’s love letter to each of her children and the way she had raised them as full-time working mother. I also really connected with Kate Miller-Heidke’s advice filled letter to her 12 year old self, Kristina Olsson’s love letter to the alphabet, Helen Marcou’s complaint letter, Morag Kobez-Halvorson’s lament of the loss of her health and how she took it for granted, Angie Hart’s letter to the best decision she ever made and Emily Maguire’s letter to the people she misjudged.

I think I doubly enjoyed this book because I really love (or should I say loved, as there’s not really a lot of need for it anymore) writing letters. When I was 11, I moved away to a new town and my best friend and I wrote letters to each other every week for approximately the next 6-7 years. Around the time we graduated high school, emailing and texting took over because it was so much more immediate but throughout out university years, every now and then one of us would bang out a traditional letter while we were especially bored in a lecture. I also had numerous overseas pen pals when I was younger, the first of which I acquired through my primary school who was a girl my age from Trinidad and Tobago. I’d never heard of it but after I received my first letter, I became an expert on the area! I still wonder what happened to Tennille – as we grew older our letters grew less and less frequent, I moved, probably forgot to forward on my new address and eventually they just dried up completely.

In the age of instant gratification, with emailing, texting, tweeting, blogging and facebooking it’s rather nice to see the Women of Letters bringing back a form of communication that has fallen a bit by the wayside. I found this book such an interesting read, I really enjoyed all of the topics. I didn’t love every letter, but I would have to say that I weren’t very many that I didn’t find something in. Even though the book is well over 400p, it reads like one much shorter given the letters are so brief and you’re turning pages far more quickly than you’d expect.


Book #218 of 2012

Sincerely is the 71st book I’ve read and reviewed for the 2012 Australian Women Writers Challenge

3 responses to “Sincerely (Women of Letters) – Created by Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Sounds EXCELLENT….thanks for a great review.

    Another book to ask Santa for. 🙂

    Silver’s Reviews

  2. […] Sincerely: Women Of Letters, created by Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire […]

  3. […] day cards, the Fathers Day cards. I enjoyed the Sincerely collection when I read and reviewed it last year and I was pleased when this book turned up on my doorstep. I hadn’t known that a […]

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