Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See

Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See

4.1 42
by Bill Shapiro
     
 

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Fevered notes scribbled on napkins after first dates. Titillating text messages. It's-not-you-it's-me relationship-enders. In Other People’s Love Letters, Bill Shapiro has searched America’s attics, closets, and cigar boxes and found actual letters–unflinchingly honest missives full of lust, provocation, guilt, and

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Overview

Fevered notes scribbled on napkins after first dates. Titillating text messages. It's-not-you-it's-me relationship-enders. In Other People’s Love Letters, Bill Shapiro has searched America’s attics, closets, and cigar boxes and found actual letters–unflinchingly honest missives full of lust, provocation, guilt, and vulnerability–written only for a lover’s eyes. Modern love, of course, is not all bliss, and in these pages you’ll find the full range of a relationship, with its whispered promises as well as its heartache. But what at first appears to be a deliciously voyeuristic peek into other people’s most passionate moments, will ultimately reawaken your own desires and tenderness…because when you read these letters, you’ll find the heart you’re looking into is actually your own.

• "i think UR great. wanna have wine & Tequila again sometime?"

• "I can't believe you're real, and I think about you constantly in some way or the other all day. I haven't given the finger to anyone driving since I met you."

• "With you I learned how to fight cleaner, how to talk things out better, and how to make a strong loving family out of nothing. These are priceless gifts that I will carry with me the rest of my life. One more thing you did for me: you left, and I had to get through it."

• "P.S. I look forward to your letters too much to call. Also, where do you stand on chains?"

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“If I have learned only one thing from a) personal experience and b) Vivian Cash's fascinating memoir, I Walked the Line, it is this: No human can compose a love letter without seeming slightly insane. Love letters are like suicide notes — if someone is in the emotional position to consider writing one, they're generally in the worst psychological position to make any cogent sense. That disconnect is what makes Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See  a painfully entertaining twelve-minute read. Edited by former Life magazine editor Bill Shapiro (and presented like Davy Rothbart's Found series), the book delivers exactly what it purports: random personal letters from people who are either wildly ecstatic or profoundly depressed over the condition of their romantic existence. (One of my favorite entries is from a person who just printed the word liar 183 consecutive times.) Judging from the contents of these notes, we appear to live in a society that is sex crazed and optimistic yet consumed with deep regret. This is probably true. Making matters all the more interesting is Shapiro's epilogue — he contacts several of the contributors and finds out how the relationship worked out, postletter.”
—Esquire, Chuck Klosterman
 
“Bill Shapiro (Time Inc.'s development editor) collects extremely private correspondence, which he has amassed in Other People's Love Letters. The notes, e-mails, telegrams, and letters appear as copies of the originals, in all their faded, tearstained glory. The earliest examples come off as gorgeous and romantic, whether they're pages of elegant script or a few words scrawled on a cocktail napkin. E-mail seems to have had a decidedly negative effect on the art, if ''Am having terribly naughty thoughts again today, and I was wondering if you might want to hear about them'' is any indication. After compulsively flipping through to the last page, I have just one question: How did Shapiro get people to part with these?”
—Entertainment Weekly
 
“From the moment Bill Shapiro stumbled upon an old love letter that wasn’t his (it was an ode to his then girlfriend from some earlier man), he was hooked. His new book, Other People’s Love Letters, reprints 150 of the many hundreds he’s collected over the years. Strictly speaking, they’re not all declarations of love. Some are Dear Johns; others are postmortems of failed relationships. And not all of them are letters, in the stationary-and-envelope sense. They’re scrawled across postcards, crammed onto Post-its, scribbled on cocktail napkins and matchbooks. Some are old (Peter J. Dougherty, chief of police, to ‘dearest Lizzie,’ dated December 22, 1911); some are new (e-mails, text messages, more e-mails). Should going through them strike you as voyeuristic, beware. They’re addictive.”
—O Magazine
Love comes in many flavors. Former LIFE editor Bill Shapiro's voyeuristic trove of romantic letters reveals that we can scarcely count the ways that passion works. His stash of finds includes poetic declarations of devotion, cries of heartache, and even pragmatic calls of renewal: "i think UR great. wanna have wine & Tequila again sometime?" Other People's Love Letters offers solace for anybody who ever struggled with humble little love notes of their own.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307382641
Publisher:
Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
Publication date:
10/30/2007
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
237,161
Product dimensions:
7.03(w) x 8.54(h) x 0.98(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“If I have learned only one thing from a) personal experience and b) Vivian Cash's fascinating memoir, I Walked the Line, it is this: No human can compose a love letter without seeming slightly insane. Love letters are like suicide notes — if someone is in the emotional position to consider writing one, they're generally in the worst psychological position to make any cogent sense. That disconnect is what makes Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See  a painfully entertaining twelve-minute read. Edited by former Life magazine editor Bill Shapiro (and presented like Davy Rothbart's Found series), the book delivers exactly what it purports: random personal letters from people who are either wildly ecstatic or profoundly depressed over the condition of their romantic existence. (One of my favorite entries is from a person who just printed the word liar 183 consecutive times.) Judging from the contents of these notes, we appear to live in a society that is sex crazed and optimistic yet consumed with deep regret. This is probably true. Making matters all the more interesting is Shapiro's epilogue — he contacts several of the contributors and finds out how the relationship worked out, postletter.”
—Esquire, Chuck Klosterman
 
“Bill Shapiro (Time Inc.'s development editor) collects extremely private correspondence, which he has amassed in Other People's Love Letters. The notes, e-mails, telegrams, and letters appear as copies of the originals, in all their faded, tearstained glory. The earliest examples come off as gorgeous and romantic, whether they're pages of elegant script or a few words scrawled on a cocktail napkin. E-mail seems to have had a decidedly negative effect on the art, if ''Am having terribly naughty thoughts again today, and I was wondering if you might want to hear about them'' is any indication. After compulsively flipping through to the last page, I have just one question: How did Shapiro get people to part with these?”
—Entertainment Weekly
 
“From the moment Bill Shapiro stumbled upon an old love letter that wasn’t his (it was an ode to his then girlfriend from some earlier man), he was hooked. His new book, Other People’s Love Letters, reprints 150 of the many hundreds he’s collected over the years. Strictly speaking, they’re not all declarations of love. Some are Dear Johns; others are postmortems of failed relationships. And not all of them are letters, in the stationary-and-envelope sense. They’re scrawled across postcards, crammed onto Post-its, scribbled on cocktail napkins and matchbooks. Some are old (Peter J. Dougherty, chief of police, to ‘dearest Lizzie,’ dated December 22, 1911); some are new (e-mails, text messages, more e-mails). Should going through them strike you as voyeuristic, beware. They’re addictive.”
—O Magazine

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Meet the Author

Bill Shapiro is the former editor of LIFE magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Other People's Love Letters 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a motley collection of love letters. Some sad, some funny, some really really romantic, some sort of explicit. It's a great read for anyone who's ever liked another person (read: everyone).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Yesterday I read about this book in People magazine, then ran out and bought it as soon as I punched out of work. I've already finished the book. The book brought me back to an emotional/nostalgic place full of rememberance, joy, hurt, sorrow, and everything I've felt in the past. But only this time, I also got to see it through the hearts of others. The book is so raw and honest, it's 100% natural sentiments. But, be prepared for some tears. I cried at my work desk when I read the stories behind the letters. The book is basically a collection of old letters, but it goes way beyond that. I loved this book and I plan on going home and reading my old letters that I recieved when my boyfriend was working as a Merchant Marine overseas in Casablanca.
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Anniekins214 More than 1 year ago
I can read some of this book; the rest is either too small or gray text on a gray image. Keep your cash, or go buy the hardcover edition.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
if you download this on your nook, if the letters are small, then good luck reading them. There is no way to make it bigger so you can see them better either. but other than that I love the concept of these books. Just wish I could have read half of them
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Kelli Sobolik More than 1 year ago
only 38 pages for the price and the book lockked up on page 5
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b_rinkus More than 1 year ago
once it came in the mail i couldnt stop reading it! my friends also got a kick out of some of the letters that are so funny and sweet at the same time! a must read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If i could explain with words how much i love this book, i would. but i don't have the words, therefore i'll just say that if you are a person that loves to read other persons love letters because you think its adorable and sometimes, they make you cry..this is a book for you. It's inspiring, lovely, a little bit sexual(only a couple letters) and really "deep sounding". It's an amazing book, i truly never thought i was going to like it this much. I can't stop reading it, whenever i'm bored, it inspires me to do something.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun to read and see into other people's stories of love!
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