‘The unsent letter, as [Caroline] Atkins shows in her enjoyable range of examples,’ writes Frances Wilson on What a Hazard a Letter Is in her long review in the TLS of books about letters and letter-writing, ‘has a thrilling, virgin quality. It is by turns a non-event, a near-miss, a relief, a tragedy, a possibility, a loss, a gain, a potential, a deprivation and a spoilt story. The unsent letter also has an excess of immediacy and authenticity, which is usually why it is unsent.’
The new March edition of Sainsbury’s Magazine reviews What a Hazard a Letter Is and praises ‘this immaculately observed book’, and particularly noting the letters written by Virginia Woolf, and David O. Selznick to Alfred Hitchcock.
The new issue of Pilot magazine gives a half-page review to ‘a proper piece of literature, beautifully written and grabbing one’s attention from the first lines … The description of people and places,’ it goes on, ‘is the sort of thing you once wpould have expected from writers like Norman Lewis and Eric Newby - a wonderful read in its own right and journalism of the highest standard.’
On 19 February Graham Coster gave a sold-out talk on The Flying Boat That Fell to Earth as one of the first events to be held at Stanfords’ beautiful new Mercer Walk store in London’s Covent Garden. Anyone who hasn’t yet visited should go and take a look - everything that a bookshop in the 21st century should be…
The March issue of Aeroplane magazine reviews The Flying Boat That Fell to Earth in its new issue, and its ‘personal paean to a highly romantic form of air travel, and the author’s quest to experience it for himself’. Praising the book as ‘written with a view to broad appeal’, it concludes, ‘there is no mistaking the high standard of Coster’s writing, not his passion for the subject.’
In the latest issue of Country Life, Clive Aslet gives What a Hazard a Letter is a wonderful review.
‘This is an enchanting book,’ he writes, ‘and, quite soon, any country housebedroom that doesn’t have it on one of its occasional tables won’t be worth sleeping in… Don’t deprive yourself a moment longer,’ he concludes: ‘Buy the book.’
The latest edition of QI’s extremely popular weekly podcast No Such Thing as a Fish features Caroline Atkins’ What a Hazard a Letter is, praising it as a book that ‘looks very interesting’. The discussion begins around halfway through.
The new issue of Country Living includes a long feature - four handsomely designed pages - about handwritten letters (including unsent ones) by Caroline Atkins, author of What a Hazard a Letter is. ‘Letters prove to us that once we cared’, Caroline (a regular contributor to the magazine) quotes Janet Malcolm as saying: a truth she confirmed while writing What a Hazard. ‘Make every word count’, is her parting advice. ‘And don’t leave them unsent.’
What a Hazard a Letter is has received a long, considered and enthusiastic review in the Spectator magazine. Cressida Connolly praises a ‘sparkling collection’, which she found ‘lively and well researched, and includes many examples I’ve never come across before’. ‘It’s a great idea for a book’, she says.
BTO News, the journal of the British Trust for Ornithology, has just reviewed Birdwatching London very favourably, praising David Darrell-Lambert’s ‘enthusiasm and personality’, and the spreads on individual birding locations as ‘packed full of information’. The reviewer thanks David and the book for leading him ‘to discover some new places, including some hidden gems’ - South Norwood Country Park and Morden Hall Park: ‘Both these sites are amazing, and you don’t feel as though you’re in the middle of London.’