Funny Letters From Famous People.
Charles Osgood, editor
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
ISBN: 0767911768 $9.95 US $13.95 CAN
There is always something audacious about reading other people's letters. You have the feeling that you are secretly looking into the soul and mind of the letter writer without his or her knowledge.
Unfortunately, in today's age of emails, television, and every other modern day distraction, we have little time or the patience for the letter writing that was quite prevalent years ago.
Luckily for us, many letters written by famous people have been saved, providing a virtual gold mine of information pertaining to these individuals. Gleaning through these letters, you will also discover a great deal of humor as evidenced in Charles Osgood's collection Funny Letters From Famous People.
One of the difficulties of publishing this kind of a book is to decipher hundreds of letters before deciding which ones to include in a book that has as its principal objective humor.
Osgood, who is the anchorperson of CBS News Sunday Morning, succeeds admirably in his presentation of letters written by politicians, authors, artists and show business personalities.
We can't help but have a good chuckle reading the letters of Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Groucho Marx, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Eugene O'Neill, Charles Dickens, and many more.
As an example, an extract taken from one of Chopin's letters to his friend Julien Fontana pertaining to Chopin's health describes how awful he feels after contacting a cold and goes onto to say that three doctors examined him. The first doctor said he was going to die, the second indicated that he was actually dying and the third told him he was dead already.
In another letter, American short story writer and novelist John Cheever and his wife Mary were asked by their friend Josephine Herbst to take care of her cat Delmore. After several years, Cheevers writes to his friend to recount his experiences with the cat. He tells of how the cat used the Kleenex box as a place to "dump a load," and unfortunately for Cheevers, who had a cold at the time, used one of the tissues to wipe his nose. Cheevers goes on to recount that he took Delmore to the kitchen door and dropkicked him into the clothes yard. I hope animal rights activists will not come knocking on Cheevers' door!--
This is a wonderful collection of humorous letters to meander through, as it adheres to the often -quoted adage "laughter is the best medicine."