Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Snail Mail - the book

Venturing in to an independent bookshop opens eyes to a different range of books. On the top shelf, I saw the spine of a book in the colours of international correspondence and I reached up to grab it when I saw the title was, "Snail Mail." The secondary title, "Rediscovering the art and craft of handmade correspondence," had me hooked.
I bought the book and proceeded to devour it. In it, there is a section on various forms of communication. The one on e-mail suggests replying within 48 hours. I had a brief foray into email friendship but one e-pal was not happy if I did not reply to his daily emails. There seems to be a sense of urgency with emails requiring attention. Now, the only emails I want to receive are notifications. I rarely read them but their titles are comforting knowing that my Amazon order is on its way.
There are pages on types of mail - writing to congratulate/celebrate events, love letters (does anyone keep love e-mails not printed out?), condolence, fanmail (not a huge fan of this) and even letters to your future self.

There's a little bit on signing on and off. I hadn't thought starting a letter with your penpal's name (with no salutation greeting) as being stern. I do vary the initial greetings depending on mood and penpal. I use - Hi, Hello, Greetings, Dear, Annwyl... As for valedictions, I usually use Best Wishes but the book lists this as a business sign off (I knew that it was from Simon Garfield's book, To The Letter - I'm still plodding through this). I occasionally use Hugs but this is not mentioned.
There are ideas for decorating the snail mail, and there are stickers and labels in the back plus templates for making envelopes.
Another section covers handmade - making papers to write on. One had lines sewn in. Caution though is advised if sending to Australia as they have strict import regulations and post could get destroyed.

There are pages picturing used postage stamps, and some old letters - I can decipher the handwriting. There's a section on fonts, typefaces and handwriting styles. For handwriting, the book suggests trying out both cursive and block, but...
Overall, I am happy I bought this book but it is preaching to the converted. It is a nice book and would make the perfect gift for someone just starting out in the world of penpalling and snail mail.