I am not entirely sure why I went into my local library this week, but I did... and then borrow a book on letters even though I still haven't finished To The Letter. What is done is done and now I am sat down reading, "Letter Writing" in the "Everything You Need To Know" series published by HarperCollins in 2001.
One of the first paragraphs puts it nicely, "Generally speaking, we write because the process of putting words to paper is more effective than speech. It demands the sole attention of the recipient while being read and can be more intimate than speech; it is certainly more durable."
The book goes on to talk about paper, pens, typefaces before going onto grammar where I was reminded of a few things. The book then has examples of types of letter. It covers personal letters from thank you to condolences to congratulations to Dear John. "I know that simply leaving this letter on the kitchen table must seem like a total cop-out but, in the circumstances, it seemed the least painful way." Then there are business letters, from junk mail to bills to complaints to job applications...
Although I have not read every single word in the book, I have come across no mention of penfriendship - that is, friendship initiated through the medium of the letter. I found this disappointing. I shall be returning the book later this week, and will resume reading To The Letter.