Sunday, August 23, 2020

Ten books about the importance of the post office

Jae-Yeon Yoo is a volunteer intern at Electric Literature.

She tagged "ten books in which letters and the postal service—or lack thereof—play a crucial role." One title on the list:
Possession by A.S. Byatt

Byatt’s Booker Prize-winning 1990 novel is all about the paper trail we leave behind, and what others may make of it later on. Two scholars’ paths converge through letters, as they uncover a potential love affair between two famous fictional poets. Poring over drafts and getting tangled up with academic power struggles, the scholars make it their quest to find out the truth behind the letters. Byatt highlights our society’s obsession with written “truth” and explores what it means to collect historical artifacts, challenging the reader to ask questions about a text’s authority and the concept of possession itself.
Read about another entry on the list.

Possession also appears on Paraic O’Donnell's top ten list of modern Victorian novels, a list of four books that changed Charlie Lovett, Michelle Dean's list of the six best books about university life, Kelly Anderson's top five list of books for newlyweds, Rebecca Mead's list of six favorite books that illuminate the Victorian era, Marina Warner's ten top list of fairytales, Ester Bloom's top ten list of fictional feminists, Niall Williams's list of ten of the best books that manage to make heroes out of readers, Kyle Minor's list of fifteen of the hottest affairs in literature, Emily Temple's list of the fifty greatest campus novels ever written, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best fossils in literature, ten of the most memorable libraries in literature, ten of the best fictional poets, ten of the best locks of hair in fiction, ten of the best graveyard scenes in fiction, and ten of the best lawyers in literature, and on Rachel Syme's list of the ten most attractive men in literature, Christina Koning's critic's chart of six top romances, and Elizabeth Kostova's top ten list of books for winter nights.

--Marshal Zeringue