Score: 93+/100 (9.3+ out of 10)
Heartspoken by Elizabeth Cottrel is a delightfully touching and spirited book about the art of crafting notes, cards, and letters. The key word there is art. The author approaches and presents the practice of writing to other people as an art form. It's a somewhat dying art with the prevalence of e-mail, smartphones, and social media. However, it still presents so many magnificent opportunities.
We haven't felt this encouraged and this inspired to do something we didn't feel like doing since Dr. Judson Brandeis kept reminding us to get a check up from a doctor in his book.
This essence of this book can be summarized in several of its beautiful quotes. For example, it follows the golden rule that “good begets good and gratitude begets gratitude.” However, our favorite quote in this entire book is that “getting a handwritten note is like getting a hug by mail.”
That quote right there pretty much summarizes the heart and soul of this book. This is a book about opening up your heart and handwriting things for other people. It's a practice that goes back at least 2500 years to an Ancient Persian queen and possibly before that as papyrus and writing material became more available in places like China and Egypt. Many world leaders and business people to this day still write and dictate letter as well as common folk. Think about some of the great works of literature by the Brontes, for example, who exemplified this. Chess (correspondence chess) used to be played across continents this way over the course of months or years. Imagine that!
In fact, our 2022 Non-Fiction Book of the Year, Wild Colts Make the Best Horses by Mary Rae Mauch was based on the letters of Abigail Adams, one of the founding mothers of the USA, who is mentioned in this book. That really punches home that letters and notes become our history—a record of human experiences and what happened before. If we were missing a lot of the letters of Napoleon and Josephine, we might understand a lot less about them and their relationship. Letters and notes reveal so much more—so many more intimate details—than a scribal record might.
Something else that's great about this book is that it really does have practical uses. This is a self-help book, in a sense. It helps the reader to be mindful and empathetic about the feelings and experiences of other people who could use an uplifting, encouraging, loving, or even funny note, card, or letter from time to time. There are so many opportunities to write to people: when they graduate, when they get married, when they get promoted, when they lose, when they fail, when they're feeling down, when they get divorced, when a loved one passes away, etc. These are all opportunities to write to people and opportunities to make intimate and meaningful CONNECTIONS with people.
And, in the end, we as human beings are social creatures who hinge on making CONNECTIONS with people. It's important in business, politics, family, and everyday life.
Check out this book on Amazon!