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In 'Write for Your Life,' Anna Quindlen urges you to pick up a pen and jot down your feelings

I’m a longtime fan of Anna Quindlen, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist-turned-novelist. I’m a writer, and also a regular in the stationery aisle at bookstores and discount stores, so of course I picked up Quindlen’s newest book, “Write for Your Life.”

In this slim volume, the author argues that there has never been a more important time to pause, reflect, and write down what you’re thinking and feeling. On actual paper. Now, let’s be clear: These aren’t instructions on writing for professional or would-be novelists. We’re talking about letters, diaries, postcards, even notes in lunch boxes. This book encourages everybody, not just writers, to write because it’s a way to connect with ourselves and one another.

If you’ve ever received a letter from someone you care about, you know the feeling. Whether it’s a note from a friend or a recipe card from a great-grandmother, there’s something special and intensely personal about that kind of hand-written correspondence. And we all need to do more of it.

Quindlen uses real-life examples to illustrate her point. Anne Frank was just a teen-aged girl writing to an imaginary friend, “Kitty.” But the diaries in which she documented her life offered the whole world a glimpse into the horrors of the Holocaust. Quindlen talks about doctors and nurses who use journals to work through their emotions, and she draws on her personal experiences as a mother and daughter.

“Write for Your Life” would be a great gift for friends and family members. If they read it, you just might get some meaningful mail in return.

Suzanne Perez is a longtime journalist covering education and general news for KMUW and the Kansas News Service. Suzanne reviews new books for KMUW and is the co-host with Beth Golay of the Books & Whatnot podcast. Follow her on Twitter @SuzPerezICT.