What to Read on the Subway This Week: 9/23
Letter writing is often referred to as a “lost art,” but these books and stories may inspire you to put pen to paper.
This week, discover Letters of Note, delight in the correspondence of Julia Child, peek into the passionate love affair of Hollywood’s most famous couple, and find out why Willa Cather’s private papers are now publicly available. You’ll see letters in a whole new light.
On Your Kindle
Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century, by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger
This recent book traces the combustible love affair between Burton and Taylor, the 1960s’ most famous celebrity couple. Taylor gave the authors access to her correspondence with her fifth husband and Cleopatra co-star—a stack of fiercely sensual letters. As Burton wrote to Taylor, “I am forever punished by the gods for being given the fire and trying to put it out. The fire, of course, is you.”
On Your Smartphone
This fun blog, edited by Shaun Usher, catalogs interesting letters and memos from famous people and documents unusual circumstances. Read the angry memo from an executive chastising Mia Farrow for cutting her hair during her time on the show Peyton Place or the series of 1961 letters between an eight-year old student and President John F. Kennedy.
On a Podcast
“The Letters of Willa Cather,” New York Times Book Review
Author Willa Cather left strict instructions that her letters remain private after her death. But so great was the interest in Cather’s personal life that her executors decided to release them in 2013, providing fans a window into her personality. As New York Times columnist Tom Perrotta says, “Cather emerges as a strong and vivid presence, a woman at once surprisingly modern and touchingly—if not always sweetly—old-fashioned.”
As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, edited by Joan Reardon
Julia Child fascinates me. She introduced French cooking to Americans with her famous book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and charmed television audiences by declaring “bon appétit!” What is less well-known was Child’s gift for correspondence: One of her closest friends was Avis DeVoto, a writer and editor, who exchanged letters with Child for many years, beginning with a charming conversation about the differences between American and French knives. Fans of Child will enjoy hearing the famed chef discuss all kinds of issues, from food to politics.