Back to top
Universal Letter Writing Week begins Jan. 9 and we're celebrating by sharing some of our favorite epistolary novels (and a movie based on book!). Epistolary novels are written in the form of letters or other documents, like diaries or newspaper clippings. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a more famous example, while Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette is a more modern take.
Book River
Book River Items

Letters from Bear (2020)

by Gauthier David

In this beautifully illustrated book, Letters from Bear by Gauthier David, Bear has set out on a journey to find his friend, Bird, who has migrated south for the winter.  As he travels through forests, deserts, oceans and more, Bear writes letters to Bird, letting him know he's getting closer every day. Heartfelt words are enriched by the illustrations of Marie Caudry, telling their own story along the way. — Vicki Heller, Collection Development Librarian

Dear Mrs. Larue : Letters from Obedience School (2011)

by Mark Teague

Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School by Mark Teague is the hilarious adventures of canine Ike LaRue. Sent to Brotweiler Canine Academy after some behavior transgressions at home, Ike laments his daily experiences in a letter writing campaign to his owner, Getrude LaRue.  With little hope he will be released from his confinement, Ike takes matters into his own hands. — Vicki Heller, Collection Development Librarian

The Martian (2016)

by Inc Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Mark Watney was left stranded on Mars after being presumed dead by his fellow astronauts. In a series of video logs, Mark (Matt Damon) details his intricate survival techniques with the little supplies he has left. Based on the book of the same title by Andy Weir— Dina Ragano, Fiction, Movies & Music Department Coordinator

Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke (2021)

by Eric LaRocca

This horror novella is told exclusively in emails and instant messages between two women from the summer of 2000. The nostalgia ends there, however, as tension mounts and the correspondence soon escalates into a macabre affair that must be read to be believed. — Emily Vinci, Fiction Manager

The Rainbow Comes and Goes : a Mother and Son Talk About Life, Love, and Loss (2016)

by Anderson Cooper

The year-long email correspondence between the journalist and his mother, exchanged in the aftermath of a brief illness in 2015, illuminates a window into their relationship, demonstrating in this intimate and lively read that it's never too late to have a rich relationship with family. — Magan Szwarek, Reference Services Director

Attachments (2011)

by Rainbow Rowell

Set long ago in 1999, Beth and Jennifer trade daily e-mails when boredom strikes at work. What they don't suspect is that Lincoln, working the graveyard shift, reads their highly personal missives as part of his job, monitoring flagged e-mails for inappropriate material.  As the two trade emails, Lincoln feels increasingly like a cyber-stalker, but then something funny happens: Beth begins confessing a crush on a mystery man at work. — Magan Szwarek, Reference Services Director

The Day the Crayons Quit (2013)

by Drew Daywalt

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt is a very funny picture book about Duncan’s box of crayons, who write him letters with their grievances when they decide to quit. The accompanying illustrations are very cute and really show the personalities of the different color crayons. This is a creative and fun book that will make you laugh out loud. — Gail Tobin, Hanover Park Branch Manager

Dear Primo : a Letter to My Cousin (2010)

by Duncan Tonatiuh

Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin by Duncan Tonatiuh is a picture book that tells its story through letters sent between two cousins: Charlie lives in America and Carlitos lives in Mexico. Even though they live in different countries, they are more similar than different. The book introduces some Spanish words and traditions and the illustrations are bright and vibrant with a kind of primitive feel that complement the story. — Gail Tobin, Hanover Park Branch Manager

I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness (2021)

by Claire Vaye Watkins

Partly told in letters from her mother written at age 10, I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness feels like a fever dream memoir. Claire Vaye Watkins is a new mom struggling to understand how she ended up there and where she wants to go, but her husband and infant seemingly play very little active roles as she explores the ghosts of her past. — Sarah Strzalka, Digital Services Manager