You’ve been filled with talk of letters since my Dear Autumn letter on the Equinox.

It all began with one of my favourite collections of letters, written between two friends:

Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964 The Story of a Remarkable Friendship (Ed. Martha Freeman, 1995)

But there were other “real” letters too, like Helene Hanff’s 84 Charing Cross Road (1970).

Helene Hanff gets answers to her “real” letters; Yann Martel does not have the same luck with his bookish letters to the P.M. inWhat is Stephen Harper Reading? (2009).

Which is too bad, because even the oh-so-busy Mr. Henshaw has time to write back to Lee on occasion in Beverly Cleary’s Dear Mr. Henshaw (1983).

But the P.M. isn’t the only poor correspondent; it’s much the same in Jean Webster’s Dear Daddy Long-Legs (1912).

And sometimes, anyhow, it’s not about the words as much as it is about the art. Which is definitely the case for Harriet Russell’s Envelopes (2005).

And that’s partly true of Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine Series (1991-), for the postcards are phenomenal indeed.

But although the art in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Father Christmas Letters (1976) is quite charming, and the large format does showcase them beautifully, those letters are as much about the words therein too.

And all about the words? These epistolary novels:

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (1983)
Lynn Coady’s The Antagonist (2011)
Rosy Thornton’s More Than Love Letters (2006)
Joey Comeau’s Overqualified (2009)
Lee Smith’s Christmas Letters (1996)

If you love the form, do check these out. (And if that’s not enough, there are 72 books on my GoodReads Letters’ shelf now.)

Dear Friday, you’ll have one more book of letters for you, just around the corner now. It’s a perfect note upon which to end the project because behind the reading of it is a series of letters discussing it.

PS How about you: are you planning to read or write some letters in 2012?