To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing
By Simon Garfield (Gotham Books, $28)

Simon Garfield’s latest tome is a love letter to letters — you know, that ancient art of putting pen to paper and stamp to envelope. Confident that “the last letter will appear in our lifetime,” Garfield’s homage takes us from recently unearthed ancient Roman letters all the way to our inbox and how email has changed our writing style. The result is a detailed and whip-smart chronicle of correspondence that begs the question: What will happen to our understanding of the past (and ourselves) if we measure our thoughts in byte-size characters rather than long, flowing hand? “Without letters,” he writes, “we risk losing sight of our history, or at least its nuance.”