Book Review: Notes from a Public Typewriter

Notes from a Public Typewriter
Edited By: Michael Gustafson and Oliver Uberti
Published By: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date:  March 27, 2018
Page Count: 160

Buy it at AmazonBarnes & Noble, or IndieBound
Source: ARC kindly provided by publisher
Nonfiction - Inspirational - Letters/Essays

Notes from a Public Typewriter is a perfect coffee table book.  Inviting, but with small, discrete sections so you won't be (overly) disappointed when your host returns from putting the finishing touches on dinner or greeting another guest  From the beginning, the very idea of this book absolutely enchanted me: a collection of the best things written (mostly) anonymously on a typewriter in an independent bookstore.  And having read it, I am absolutely enchanted with the depth and range of human emotion expressed within. 

Organized into several sections, the entries are loosely arranged by theme:  meta comments on typewriting, declarations of love, relationship woes, social connection and alienation, and mysteries among others.  But honestly, I think the best way to review this book is to give you a few snippets of the contents and let them speak for themselves.

"Life, like this typewriter, has no backspace.  Type strongly and don't look back."

"You. You are loved."

 "Sometimes I get lost just to assure myself someone cares enough to find me."

I read this book at my parents' house, and I kept pausing to share bits of it with them.  To my mind, any book that creates that desire to share is a great one.  Notes from a Public Typewriter has made visiting Literati a bucket list item for me, and makes me wish that they would open a store in my town.  Ann Arbor, MI here I come!


A collection of confessional, hilarious, heartbreaking notes written anonymously on a public typewriter for fans of PostSecret and Other People's Love Letters.
When Michael Gustafson and his wife Hilary opened Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, they put out a typewriter for anyone to use. They had no idea what to expect. Would people ask metaphysical questions? Write mean things? Pour their souls onto the page? Yes, no, and did they ever.

Every day, people of all ages sit down at the public typewriter. Children perch atop grandparents' knees, both sets of hands hovering above the metal keys: I LOVE YOU. Others walk in alone on Friday nights and confess their hopes: I will find someone someday. And some leave funny asides for the next person who sits down: I dislike people, misanthropes, irony, and ellipses ... and lists too.

In Notes from a Public Typewriter, Michael and designer Oliver Uberti have combined their favorite notes with essays and photos to create an ode to community and the written word that will surprise, delight, and inspire.