Friday 26 January 2007

Love Letters to the South: Messages of Hope and Healing from the World’s Best-Loved Celebrities by: Naomi Strasser

Love Letters to the South:
Messages of Hope and Healing from the World’s
Best-Loved Celebrities
Naked Ink Press
ISBN 1595558578

Some books defy almost all categories. This is definitely one of those books. It is a book of hope, dreams, encouragement and support, for those who lost so much in Hurricane Katrina. This book is the brainchild of Naomi Strasser who, along with photographer friend Paul Alexander, decided to create art that would help in some small way to heal.

Alexander donated his time in photographing celebrities from around the world and from different strata of society. Many others contributed to the work, from the stylists working with the celebrities, to Ryan Priest doing the design and layout. This book was the work of the generosity of many, many people who all championed it and gave of their time and talents to make it happen.

The book is a collection of 71 unique portraits of celebrities, from Johnny Depp, Kelly Hu, and Coldplay, to Viggo Mortensen, Helen Bonham Carter and so many more. Accompanying each portrait is a letter, or encouragement note, to encourage the giving to continue. And it is for those who are far from home now, that they should keep hoping and dreaming of their return. Interspersed with photos of the actual devastation from Katrina, these notes provide hope, encouragement and support.

From Johnny Depp who writes “Help and Keep Helping”, to Helen Bonham Carter stating “No amount of rain can drown the music of New Orleans”, the words will challenge us to appreciate what we have and to help those less fortunate than we find ourselves to be.

The publisher, Naked Ink Press, is doing their part as well; they have committed to give at least $25,000 US dollars to both the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and to Habitat for Humanity’s Operation Home Delivery. That is $2.50 from each book, sold for a minimum of $25,000 each more depending on sales.

Shawn Ashmore states: “She beat you, but she didn’t break you!! Stay strong!!” Picking up this book, either for yourself or for others as a gift, will help to make those words come true. So along with Kevin Bacon we will say “Thinking of U.”

It may be trite, but giving this book as a gift, will be a gift that keeps on giving.

(First Published in Imprint 2007-01-26 as "Love it" in the 'Love it/Hate it' book review column.)

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