“Well, you know, whatever her name is.”

Joe : I bet you read that book every year. I bet you just love that Mr. Darcy. And your sentimental heart just beats wildly at the thought he and well, you know, whatever her name is, are truly, honestly going to end up together.

Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly at Cafe Lalo (NYC)

Kathleen : The man who is coming here tonight is completely unlike you. The man who is coming here tonight is kind and funny. He’s got a wonderful sense of humor.

Joe : But he’s not here.

Kathleen : Well, if he’s not here, he has a reason because there is not a cruel or careless bone in his body. But I wouldn’t expect you to understand anybody like that.

You, with your theme park, multilevel, homogenize-the-world mochaccino land. You’ve deluded yourself into thinking you’re some sort of benefactor bringing books to the masses. But no one will ever remember you, Joe Fox.

And maybe no one will remember me, either.

But plenty of people remember my mother. And they think she was fine. And they think her store was something special.

You are nothing but a suit.

I put in You’ve Got Mail as a means of inspiring myself to pack for our NYC trip. The NYC trip is tomorrow by the way. But, I haven’t started packing; I’ve been mesmerized by my 9,000th time watching this movie. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are just so delightful. I’ve been reminded how much I adore romances that happen through epistolary means.

I think I adore these partly because it’s the most genuine and yet the quickest way to access someone’s innermost thoughts and partly because Bryan and my “courtship” began over AIM and continued through snail mail.

In case you are in need of some weekend entertainment, or in case you, like me, keep a long list of books “I’ve been meaning to get around to reading” on your phone, I leave you with my favorite stories (books and movies) whose plotlines center on the written word (whether that’s by pen or keyboard).

Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevermer (actually written via the two authors’ correspondence)
Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster (and also this modern retelling)
Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer (“Frances” is Flannery O’Connor)
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (letters become important at the end)
– Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (be sure you read both books: Crown Duel + Court Duel; they’re often sold as one. This book centers around an exchange of letters in the second book, though it’s told in first person)
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (actually a journal, not letters)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (similar in this genre is The Guy Next Door by Meg Cabot and Attachments by Rainbow Rowell)
The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

It goes without saying that I grew up on the Dear America series…

You’ve Got Mail (1998)

I’m sure I’ve left many books and movies off – some on accident, some due to ignorance. Please send all your epistolary recommendations as The Strand bookstore tops my list of places to visit in New York City.


One thought on ““Well, you know, whatever her name is.”

  1. I do indeed have a list of books to read on my phone – I add to it every time I walk in to a bookstore. Also, this scene in You’ve Got Mail may just be my favorite ever. I also like the “that caviar is a garnish” scene : )

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