My reading has a postal theme at the moment, as one of my friends has rekindled my interest in writing letters.
To the Letter, by Simon Garfield is a fascinating history of postal services in the UK and abroad, combined with wonderful examples of correspondence from famous people, such as Ted Hughes, and not so so famous, such as a couple who fell in love via letter during the Second World War. It also mentions a great English eccentric, W. Reginald Bray.
Bray’s story can also be found in The Englishman Who Posted Himself written by John Tingley, a philatelist and collector of postal ephemera. It is a slight, but nicely illustrated book about man who set out to test the Royal Mail to its limits by posting himself (with his bicycle) and other strange objects, such as a carved turnip and a rabbit’s skull.
I am also about to read the correspondence of the famous Mitford sisters; surely one of the most interesting families of the twentieth century? They included Hitler and J.F. Kennedy among their acquaintance, so I am prepared for lots of name-dropping.