Letter to a Future Lover: Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions, and Other Ephemera Found in Libraries (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Ander Monson knows how to mess with our idea of what the word “book” means. LETTER TO A FUTURE LOVER is a series of essays that analyze the notion of the library. As such, Monson printed a limited number of copies of his book in boxes, each page printed on a separate card in random order, with a place for borrowers' names and due dates to be stamped at the end. How’s that for “book?”


If that sounds too complicated, we’ve got bound versions of LETTER TO A FUTURE LOVER at Brazos, and there’s nothing like settling into Monson’s brainy, observant, sometimes hallucinatory voice. Example: “When we listen to laugh-track laughter we listen to the dead.” And: “You too, bleached- blond forty-something DWF reading DFW in a major Texas airport, with fake boobs and too-tight tank. What are your needs?” Monson meets mine.

— Ben


An exuberant, expansive cataloging of the intimate physical relationship between a reader and a book

A way to leave a trace of us, who we were or wanted to be, what we read and could imagine, what we did and what we left for you.

Readers of physical books leave traces: marginalia, slips of paper, fingerprints, highlighting, inscriptions. All books have histories, and libraries are not just collections of books and databases but a medium of long-distance communication with other writers and readers.
Letter to a Future Lover collects several dozen brief pieces written in response to library ephemera--with "library" defined broadly, ranging from university institutions to friends' shelves, from a seed library to a KGB prison library--and addressed to readers past, present, and future. Through these witty, idiosyncratic essays, Ander Monson reflects on the human need to catalog, preserve, and annotate; the private and public pleasures of reading; the nature of libraries; and how the self can be formed through reading and writing.

About the Author

Ander Monson is the author of Vanishing Point, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Neck Deep and Other Predicaments. He edits DIAGRAM and the New Michigan Press. He lives in Tucson and teaches at the University of Arizona.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781555977061
ISBN-10: 1555977065
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: February 3rd, 2015
Pages: 160
Language: English