Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

Tsitsi Dangarembga appears in court this week, just days after her novel This Mournable Body was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. Read more about her July protest during a government crackdown in Zimbabwe here

Letter to a Future Lover

Marginalia, Errata, Secrets, Inscriptions, and Other Ephemera Found in Libraries
Ander Monson
Readers of physical books leave traces: marginalia, slips of paper, fingerprints, highlighting, inscriptions. All books have histories, and libraries are not just collections of books and databases, but a medium of long-distance communication with other writers and readers.

Letter to a Future Lover collects several dozen brief pieces written in response to library ephemera—with “library” defined broadly, ranging from university institutions to friends’ shelves, from a seed library to a KGB prison library—and addressed to readers past, present, and future.

Through these witty, idiosyncratic essays, Ander Monson reflects on the human need to catalog, preserve, and annotate; the private and public pleasures of reading; the nature of libraries; and how the self can be formed through reading and writing.

Share Title

Publication Date
Trim Size
6 x 9
An exuberant, expansive cataloging of the intimate physical relationship between reader and book

About the Author

Ander  Monson
Credit: Patri Hadad
Ander Monson is the author of Letter to a Future Lover; Vanishing Point, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Neck Deep and Other Predicaments. He edits DIAGRAM and the New Michigan Press. He lives in Tucson, where he teaches at the University of Arizona.
More by author


  • “[Monson’s essays] ride against scheme, the strictures of genre and the assumptions of form. . . . Each entry asserts a future for old-fashioned reading.”—The New York Times Book Review
  • Letter to a Future Lover becomes an invocation from the present to a distant set of readers, the ‘future lovers’ of its title, reminding them, above all else, that we were here.”David Ulin, Jacket Copy
  • “Ander Monson brings a scavenger’s eye and romantic spirit to these funny, poignant pieces of history public and personal.”The Barnes & Noble Review  
  • “Monson writes with an ease and enthusiasm. . . . Letter to a Future Lover finds a million paths to the same point — ‘The loss of things. A species a minute. A book a second.’ — but in doing so, it also enacts the magic of the written word.”—The Boston Globe
Back to Table of Contents