If you clicked this link just to see what epistolary means, it’s a novel or works written in the form of letters or correspondence. Epistolary novels have been around as long as stories themselves. The earliest recorded epistolary novel was Love Letters between a Nobleman and His Sister, published in 1684.
Since then epistolary novels have taken on many forms. Some are simply collections of published letters or correspondence, others are fiction books written in this form. Today we’re going to feature some of my favourite, across many genres.
Love Letters between a Nobleman and His Sister – Aphra Behn
I simply had to include this, simply for being the ground breaking book that created this whole genre. The novel is loosely based on the love affair between Ford, Lord Grey of Werke and his wife’s sister, Lady Henrietta Berkley, a well known London scandal of the late 1600s.
84 Charing Cross Road – Helen Hanff
If you love books and books about books and bookshops then 84 Charing Cross Road is essential reading. The book is a collection of letters, written over twenty years between the author and Frank Doel, chief buyer of Marks & Co antiquarian bookshop, located at the eponymous address.
I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
Written in the style of diary entries, I Capture the Castle tells the story of a family living in gentile poverty in a decaying castle. This coming of age story tells Cassandra’s story from childhood as she grows into a young woman.
House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
House of Leaves pushes this genre to an entire new level, in fact he pushes book writing to a whole new level in this edgy book. Reading it is a challenge, making sense of the codes and in-messages is both fun and frustrating, and while it isn’t the chunkiest novel you’ll read, put a while aside for reading it.
Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
Flowers for Algernon is a sci-fi novel that takes its own twist on the epistolary genre. Algernon is a laboratory mouse, and the book is written as a series of lab reports written by the first human subject test for a new surgery.
We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Schriver
This is easy in my top ten books of all time and is a fantastic read. Written from the perspective of Eva Khatchadourian in the form of letters to her husband as she tries to come to terms with the actions of her son.
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 ¾ – Sue Townsend
The Adrian Mole book and it’s follow ones was the first book I ever read in this genre, and it’s fun, touching, and easy to read as you follow Mole’s thoughts and neuroses in the form of diary entries.
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The popularity of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire. Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.
Where Rainbows End (Love, Rosie) – Cecilia Ahern
This is such a fun book, written as a series of letters, notes, and text messages between two childhood friends, into adulthood and all the difficulties that come with growing up. It’s also a great movie starring Sam Claflin!
We’re covering each year at a time and as we make headway into the 1950s today we’re covering 1953.
In 1953, the first colour television sets went on sale, the first Bond novel was published, the Korean War finally came to an end, Eisenhower was inaugurated as the US president and the first polio vaccine was developed.
Among all that, there were plenty of books published and read too, and today we’re featuring the bestselling novels of 1953, and some that didn’t make the list but have stood the test of time. Read More
Thankfully that is changing, and as we celebrate Pride Month today we’re putting the spotlight on the best lesbian love stories to add to your TBR!
We hope you like our suggestions, and feel free to add your own in the comments too.
The number of countries in the world that deprive women of that right is worrying, and with the move by certain states of the US recently to increase that number further, we thought we’d wade in with some book recommendations on the subject!
Our commenters don’t need to point out that this is written in a biased way, I’m well aware. Consider it an opinion piece. Now here are those recommendations!
We’re covering each year at a time and as we make headway into the 1950s today we’re covering 1952.
In 1952 The Mau Mau Rebellion began in Kenya to attempt an end to British rule in the country, Queen Elizabeth II became queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth upon the death of her father, the musical Singing in the Rain premiered, London Smog killed 4,000 people, and a home in the USA cost approximately $9,000.
Among all that, there were plenty of books published and read too, and today we’re featuring the bestselling novels of 1952, and some that didn’t make the list but have stood the test of time. Read More
The month of June was chosen to mark the Stonewall riots, a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT community against a police raid that took place in the early hours of June 28th, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. They are widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement. Read More
We’re covering each year at a time and as we make headway into the 1950s today we’re covering 1951. In 1951 Joseph Stalin proclaimed that the Soviet Union had the atomic bomb, Jo DiMaggio retired from baseball on the same year as the first televised baseball games in colour appeared on screens across the US, Robin Williams was born, and Harry Truman served as the 33rd President of the United States.
Among all that, there were plenty of books published and read too, and today we’re featuring the bestselling novels of 1951, and some that didn’t make the list but have stood the test of time. Read More