Letters not written

Once in a while I receive a letter here that is so nutty, so outrageous or so hateful that I do not answer it. Otherwise I follow my parents’ injunctions to be courteous, to speak when spoken to and to answer all mail. (Not to brag or complain, but that has meant writing a couple of hundred letters a week.) As book review editor at this magazine for over four decades, I frequently received one kind of letter that I did not feel the need to answer. At least weekly we would hear from professional publicists who were promoting books. We know that some authors employ agents whose job it is to make noise about products under contract. They send releases, make calls and write personal letters to which they do not expect answers.


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