Ok, I'm not one for flourishing adjectives, but this book truly is delicious. I first picked up "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society" at the local library, loved it, and then it was suggested to me to read "84, Charing Cross Road." What a treat! This is a collection of real letters between NYC writer Helene Hanff and a small London bookshop in post-WWII society. It gives the reader a good glimpse into the how much, and how little, society and literature has changed. They have since made this into a stage play, a tv special and a movie with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins. A wonderful read any day of the year.
When I received the book, I was somewhat disappointed because it was so small. I rarely buy small books because I read so quickly, but I'm so glad I read this one. It a truly captivating story that will stay with me all my years.
It says on the cover, "A 20 year transatlantic love affair by mail." If there is a love affair going on, its with Books. These two people have a wonderful friendship, but there is definitely no love affair going on between them, so I'm disappointed they put that on the cover, although they may have been referring to the books.
This is a book I would recommend to anyone. Its truly magical. There is no way I can part with this one, I'm keeping this on my shelf. :)
Take an hour out of your day and read this book. It is one of the touching works of a by gone era. In a time before Facebook, Myspace and even email you can enter the world of Helene Hanff and Frank Doel. She is a struggling New York writer and he is a London Bookseller. The long distance correspondence between these two is timeless. It is a true friendship that began with a book. The letters and love bring you back to Britain and Broadway of the late 1940s to the end of the 1960s. I highly reccommend this time capsule of a book.
Classic book, true story of the correspondence from NYC to London. Woman who yearned for English literature in original condition connects with a London bookseller during the late 1940's and continues corresponding and purchasing books until the late 1960's. Lively letters covering books, post war conditions in England, life style in NYC. This copy is a first edition paper back.
A really good quick read...
84, Charing Cross Road is a charming record of bibliophilia, cultural difference, and imaginative sympathy. For 20 years, an outspoken New York writer and a rather more restrained London bookseller carried on an increasingly touching correspondence. In her first letter to Marks & Co., Helene Hanff encloses a wish list, but warns, "The phrase 'antiquarian booksellers' scares me somewhat, as I equate 'antique' with expensive." Twenty days later, on October 25, 1949, a correspondent identified only as FPD let Hanff know that works by Hazlitt and Robert Louis Stevenson would be coming under separate cover. When they arrive, Hanff is ecstatic--but unsure she'll ever conquer "bilingual arithmetic." By early December 1949, Hanff is suddenly worried that the six-pound ham she's sent off to augment British rations will arrive in a kosher office. But only when FPD turns out to have an actual name, Frank Doel, does the real fun begin.
Two years later, Hanff is outraged that Marks & Co. has dared to send an abridged Pepys diary. "i enclose two limp singles, i will make do with this thing till you find me a real Pepys. THEN i will rip up this ersatz book, page by page, AND WRAP THINGS IN IT." Nonetheless, her postscript asks whether they want fresh or powdered eggs for Christmas. Soon they're sharing news of Frank's family and Hanff's career. No doubt their letters would have continued, but in 1969, the firm's secretary informed her that Frank Doel had died. In the collection's penultimate entry, Helene Hanff urges a tourist friend, "If you happen to pass by 84, Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me. I owe it so much."
This short book of letters between Helene Hanff and a London bookseller are full of charm, erudition, opinion and grace. Reading it makes you want to take up some of the classics sitting on the shelf and get reading.
This charming classic, first published in 1970, brings together twenty years of correspondence beetween Helene Hanff, a freelance writer living in NYC and a used book dealer in London. Through the years, though never meeting and separated both geographically and culturally, they share a winsome, sentimental friendship based on their common love for books. Their relationship, captured so acutely in these letters, is one that will grab your heart and not let go.
It all began with a simple inquiry about rare second hand books from pert, sassy New York writer Helene Hanff to a prim, stodgily English bookshop. As the letters and books crossed the Atlantic, a stict business relationship blossomed into a warm, charming, feisty friendship. Quick and fun to read.