Friday, 22 May 2015

Book review: 'Snail Mail' by Michelle Mackintosh. A 'Portable Magic' post.

Hi you.
First things first, because you know I never hide things from you [well, actually you don't know that because, if I was hiding something from you, you wouldn't know would you? Because, well, it'd be hidden. But anyway ...] I need to tell you up front that the book I'm sharing today was sent to me, free of charge, for review purposes. But the views are my own and I didn't receive any other payment.
Right then ... now I've got that out of the way [hopefully without having to take a truth serum or show you my bank statements] let me just say that from time to time I get asked to feature or review books but I've only ever accepted the offer when:
  1. I feel it's something both you and I would actually like to read AND
  2. it's something which won't look out of place here on my paper-loving, life-documenting, nonsense-chattering style blog.
For example I was once offered a book of sewing projects for babies, yet it had two fatal flaws: 
  1. sewing and
  2. babies...
... neither of which I ever mention here and so ... alas ... I had to decline. [BTW: it was a book of  projects which adults could sew for babies ... it wasn't babies doing the sewing ... because that would have been a book I'd liked to have seen!]
But today's book fits in perfectly cosily here as it is dedicated to something we've chatted a lot about here over the last few years: snail mail!
Firstly, here's how the publishers introduce this lovely, and hefty, ode to all things postal:
"Beautifully illustrated and complete with cut-out postcard designs and papercraft and rubber stamp templates, Snail Mail explores the art of handwritten correspondence - learn how to romance someone the old-school way through love-letters; understand the etiquette of thank you cards, and be inspired to take time to reflect on your life through writing.
Michelle Mackintosh shows you how to improve your handwriting, make your own paper, personalise stickers and stamps, or make beautiful DIY invitations. In a world of internet trolls, 140-character limits, Snapchats and textspeak, are we losing the ability to really communicate with our loved ones? Snail Mail brings back handwritten communication - and more - in one perfectly proper package.

It's time to take back the written word!"
And here's what I made of it ...

To begin with - and before you even open it - this book has presence.

It's far weightier [it's a hardback] and more substantial than I'd imagined from looking at photos of it and, with its airmail striped spine and page edges it's beautifully bound:
And from there on in it just gets better and better.

It's an exceptionally beautiful piece of work. And the time, skill and dedication which must have gone into making such a treat for the eyes surely reflects what must be a true love of the subject matter.

In its quest to win us over into returning to more traditional, slower, more personalised, postal contact every page is there to draw us in further. Each one is lovely to look at and there are no obvious 'filler' pages:
There really is something pretty each time your turn over:
And its stunning details make it a complete joy to flip through:
It covers a wide range of postal-themed topics ranging from types of letter you could send, to how to do just that:
And from copies of letters from figures in history, to the practical crafting templates and fun stickers in the back, there's little postal-themed this book doesn't touch on.

This book is perfect for you if:
  • you believe that we spend too much time communicating online and we need to get back to something  [personally ... I love communicating online  - ahoy there! - but I know not everyone feels the same].
  • you're nostalgic for days of pen friends and stickers or you want to share those times, stories, pleasures with your kids.
  • you'd like to revel in an exceptionally creatively designed papery joy that you can leave on your coffee table to share with others.
When reading some of the text [eg. detailing how to write letters, what to say and not to say etc] I did at times wonder if the book's ideal target audience was someone younger than me. Either that or I'm just feeling especially old this week!!

But if you know of a young stationary-loving, thoughtful, girl who you need to find a gift for ...  then I couldn't think of a nicer gift.

I know my teenaged self would have passed out with glee if I'd have unwrapped this on my birthday. Heck, what with the dedicated space to write your name in the front and all those cute stickers in the back ... I think it would've made my stationary-collecting-book-loving head spin!

So ... if you'd like to find out more about Snail Mail by Michelle Mackintosh then:
  • You can visit the Amazon page where you can flip through some of the pages
Or you can read further reviews from this blog tour here:

For more book talk from me visit my 'Portable Magic' Pinterest board:

And for more mail-related projects you can always dip back into my 'Going Postal' series which I started way back in summer 2011.

Thanks for stopping by to pause, to read, and - if you've got time - to leave a comment today.

Julie :-)


  1. How beautiful, just what I would have loved in the very distant past when I needed my letters to friends near & far to stand out from the crowd. Perhaps that is the background of all paper craft addicts with our obsession with creating something original that is definitely 'us'!

    1. There's certainly a connection isn't there? I don't think I've met a crafter who doesn't also get giddy in the stationary/office supplies aisle too!

  2. Great review.....and as my daughter has just got herself 3 pen pals [yes they do still exist in this online age] this book sounds perfect for her....I'm off to Amazon.

    1. There's so many ideas in there for anyone with pen pals - I'm sure she'll love it! I'm so pleased the review's been useful!

  3. Thank you. You provided me with a great present for my daughter-in-law and I found a bookshop in Australia that would gift wrap it and post it to her. Yeah!

    1. I'm loving how people are finding the review *useful* - that's just perfect. And goodness ... if you've managed to sort all that out before 10am I reckon you can take the rest of the day off!

  4. wow how beautiful! I'm moving away to London in September and I'll be far away from my boyfriend and family so it'f be great to get into sending snail mail again <3

    Sophie | Dreams and Colour Schemes

  5. I'm thinking I have to have this book ...

  6. it sounds absolutely gorgeous. One for the wishlist, I think

  7. I'm a big fan of pen paling and this book look so cool

  8. Ooh, it looks delightful (and what a very thoughtful review!).........!

  9. Oh my goodness, by the time I'd got half way down I was already mentally reaching for my cheque book! You've shown us some beautiful pages, and your bullet points had me reaching for my pen. Thank-you so much for this - I didn't even know of its existence. And I can think of a young lady or two who'd appreciate this too :).

  10. well that's at least one Christmas present sorted

  11. It is indeed perfect for a young stationery loving teenager so that's exactly who I'm going to buy one for! TFS Julie x

  12. How i would have loved this when i was a teen - I had many many penpals. How i would love this now....especially if it helps me improve my handwriting. Although i think that might be a lost cause all these years later. Thanks Julie x


Thanks for leaving me a comment, asking me a question, sharing your own story or just randomly saying hello.