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Topic: epistolary novels

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Subject: epistolary novels
Date Posted: 3/21/2012 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,138
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I started reading Dracula this week and never realized it was written in the epistolary format. I would have read it ages ago if I'd known! I'm enjoying it very much and was wondering what other epistolary novels you gals (and gents) have read and really enjoyed.

I've read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, One Thousand White Women, The Red Tree, and have The Color Purple on my TBR. I'm sure I've read more than that, but those are the ones that are jumping out at me. I probably have a bunch on my TBR already that I don't know about.

Date Posted: 3/21/2012 11:09 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
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Exit the Actress by Priya Parmar  is one  it is about Nell Gwynn, Charles II's mistress.

 

How could I forget one of my all time favorites 84, Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff.



Last Edited on: 3/21/12 11:19 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/21/2012 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
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Ooh, those both look great - thanks! I'm super excited about the 84, Charing Cross Road one though. Sounds pretty awesome! I put both of them on my WL. I'll have to see if my library has them so I don't have to wait so long. :)

Date Posted: 3/21/2012 1:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2008
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Kelly, I agree with both of Letty's suggestions, great books! I have a copy of 84, Charing Cross Road different from the one on yor WL (this one) if you want to add it to your WL I can post it to you. I just rented the movie with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins from the library. I'm hoping to watch it this weekend!

Date Posted: 3/21/2012 1:44 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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Oooh, I agree "84 Charing Cross Road" is probably one of the best.

I didn't know that about "Dracula" - that's one that I've never gotten around to reading. 

Date Posted: 3/21/2012 2:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I never liked it and couldn't imagine why anyone would write in that style -- until I read Dracula.  Oh, THAT's what they're all trying to mimic.  'Cause that was dang good.  My best read of 2010.

Date Posted: 3/21/2012 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
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Aubree, you are a dream!! :) I added it to my WL, thanks so much!

Sharla, I'm loving Dracula!! It just might end up as one of my top books of the year.

Date Posted: 3/21/2012 4:01 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
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Both Kelly and I enjoyed 84 Charing Cross Road - the book, and the movie.  Also enjoyed  Hanff's Duchess of Bloomsbury Street which is a "sort of" sequel, written in diary form.

Guernsey Literary....Society is an all-time favorite.

Another novel, read recently is Homeland by Barbara Hambly, set during the American Civil War, told through a series of friends' letters .

Linda



Last Edited on: 3/21/12 4:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/21/2012 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2009
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i really ENJOYED!! "84 Charing  Cross  Road "  the movie IT's one of my all time favorites   i'll put the book on my WL  

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 3/22/2012 9:00 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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Is Epistolary books where the story is mainly told through letters? If so than Wuthering Heights, Thirteenth Tale and Historian all fit in to that category. I personally hated Wuthering Heights, but I loved Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and the Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.  The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman might fit that category as well.

Date Posted: 3/22/2012 11:39 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
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Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock uses artwork in an interesting epistolary style.

Editing to add that there is a tag for epistolary novel that might be useful.



Last Edited on: 3/22/12 12:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/22/2012 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
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Wow!  I loved Wuthering Heights and considered it one of the best books of last year but I hated Heathcliff.   He's evil!  Also have read The Thirteenth Tale and The Historian, both of which I truly enjoyed.  Tried Dracula last year but couldn't get into it so postponed it until another time.  Exit the Actress is on tap for this year as is One Thousand White Women.

Date Posted: 3/22/2012 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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I re-read "Wuthering Heights" last year, and I don't think it falls into the category, though. It was told as a tale by the housekeeper/nanny but not through letters. 

Date Posted: 3/22/2012 2:14 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
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Luftwaffe Letters by Edward Thorpe. Haven't read it yet, but I thumbed through it and it looks great.

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 3/22/2012 3:24 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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You know, Mimi, thinking about it, Thirteenth Tale isnt told through letters either (though I could have sworn Wuthering Heights was). In Thirteenth Tale, the author is telling the tale to the biographer so the book is filled with flash backs.

REK, My issue with Wuthering Heights, is everyone considers it a romance. It is such a disturbing and twisted book, it haunted me for months, but I saw NO romance in it at all. There was obsession, control,  evil, and vindictiveness, but no romance.  It is so haunting, that even to this day, I could tell you many details of the book  and I only read it once about 7 yrs ago (which makes it great writing) but not something I would classify as a favorite, lol.

Date Posted: 3/22/2012 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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Yeah, I agree - Heathcliff is one messed up dude, and Catherine isn't much better.  There's one line in it that I found stood out for me, though. "of dissolving with her, and being more happy still”  It's a twisted tale, not a love story, but that line is the crux of their connection.

Having said that, I love in the Thursday Next books when Heathcliff is up, yet again, for Romantic lead hero Bookie award ;) 



Last Edited on: 3/22/12 4:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/22/2012 9:07 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
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Kat--I agree about Wuthering Heights.  I listened to the audio a couple years ago and hated it. It is so dark and twisted and there wasn't one single character that was likable to me. The only other classic novel that I can say I hated worse is Tess of the Durbervilles---horrible, dark and depressing!

Date Posted: 3/23/2012 8:07 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
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I remember loving Tess when I read it in high school.  Can't remember a thing about it.  Maybe I'll try to read it again one day.

When I read Guernsey, I found that I really enjoyed the epistolary style.  I didn't like The Historian because it just had too many nested loops and I had a hard time keeping it straight.  But Exit the Actress was one of my favorite books so far this year.

Date Posted: 3/23/2012 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,138
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Ooh, thanks Elizabeth. I didn't think to check for a tag. Doh! :) Loving all of the suggestions!

Bonnie (LoveNE) - ,
Date Posted: 3/23/2012 10:01 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2007
Posts: 5,982
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Still waiting for someone to explain epistolary...I know it is not what happened to me after I delivered my children...

Date Posted: 3/24/2012 11:06 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,138
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LOL Bonnie, sorry. :) Epistolary novels are written through letters, texts, articles, recipes, etc. Correspondence or documents of some sort. :) Here's the wiki page for it. Ooh, and lookey! There is a list of some epistolary novels on the wiki site. Sweet. :)



Last Edited on: 3/24/12 11:06 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/24/2012 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Hey Bonnie --

You say tomato; I say tomahto; you say potato; I say potahto; you say episiotomy; I say epistolary...

Date Posted: 3/24/2012 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
Posts: 929
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LOL Bonnie and Deb!

Bonnie (LoveNE) - ,
Date Posted: 3/24/2012 10:14 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2007
Posts: 5,982
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LOL Deb! (actually I grew up in Massachusetts so I'm the one who says tomahto!

Date Posted: 3/25/2012 8:25 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
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I re-read Dracula two years ago, and loved it!  It always amazes me how modern it sounds.  One of my all-time favorite episiotomies  you know, was The Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger.  

Through letters, notes, report cards, matchbook covers, and telegrams, a novel set in the 1940s follows the sometimes underhanded efforts of Joey Margolis, a fatherless twelve year old, to persuade New York Giants third baseman Charlie Banks to be his role model.

Hilarious read.  You will fall in love with Joey...or want to wring his neck.  I actually bought another copy of this book and mailed it to my brother, who shares my sense of humor, and loves baseball.  He loved it too.

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