84 Charing Cross Road Epub Ñ 84 Charing Kindle -


  • Hardcover
  • 97 pages
  • 84 Charing Cross Road
  • Helene Hanff
  • English
  • 12 October 2016
  • 9781559211406

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84 Charing Cross RoadIf you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road kiss it for me I owe it so muchThis was my second reading of the book and I'm adding a star to my original rating I laughed a lot harder this time and even got a little choked up near the end I don't recall this much chortling cackling guffawing and snorting on my first time through The contrast between Helene Hanff's brash American informality and Frank Doel's staid British professionalism is delightful There's a certain charm in his politeness while at the same time one wonders how long it will take for him to loosen up His first letter to Helene begins Dear Madam to which she replies I hope 'madam' doesn't mean over there what it does here Her humor and generosity did slowly erode his reserve but it took years As she put it I write them the most outrageous letters from a safe 3000 miles awayOutrageous they are and charmingly witty I remember when e mail first started to take hold in the early 1990s I was working for a professor who mentioned to me that it was ahistorical We would henceforth have no permanent record of most of our written communication His comments stayed in my mind while I happily made the switch from snail mail to electronic Re reading this little treasury of collected letters made me think perhaps we've lost than just an outdated form of contact 84 Charing Cross Road is a charming record of bibliophilia cultural difference and imaginative sympathy For 20 years an outspoken New York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 restrained London bookseller carried on an increasingly touching correspondenceIn her first letter to Marks Co Helene Hanff encloses a wish list but warns The phrase 'antiuarian booksellers' scares me somewhat as I euate 'antiue' 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 coverWhen they arrive Hanff is ecstatic but unsure she'll ever conuer 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 beginTwo 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 The epistolary meanderings of Helene Hanff and Frank Dole are insightful playful in their coyness and progressive in their development This is an actual correspondence gone awfully rightThere is a starkness of honesty in this correspondence Yet the prose in the letters aren't uite as dry as might be feared Like I said the back and forth is progressive There is definitely life in these letters This real occurrence happens after the second world warthe last three words of which is a favorite book of mine The books that are being reuested by Helene are not the point of this book It's just that there is a fictional value in these exchanges These people lived I enjoyed this little book immensely hence the rating After hearing about this book for years I finally stumbled upon a 2 ex libris copy earlier this week at a used book sale And without pausing I bought it How appropriate It consists of the correspondence from the late 1940s until the late 1960s between New York writer and bibliophile Helene Hanff and Frank Doel an employee at Marks Co Booksellers at the eponymous address in London Hanff was a voracious eclectic reader who couldn’t find good American editions of the books she wanted to read Responding to an advertisement in a periodical she wrote to Marks Co and began her two decades long epistolary relationship with DoelHer chatty witty and often teasing letters reuesting books and Frank’s conservative straightlaced missives form the backbone of the work As their long distance customer bookseller relationship evolves Hanff occasionally writes to other store employees as well as Doel’s wife the couple’s daughters and the family’s elderly neighbour What gradually emerges is a gentle and moving look at two kindred spirits united by their love of the printed word Hanff’s descriptions of the physical books are so vivid I can practically smell and feel the sturdy covers and the thick creamy pages The book also touches on their differing cultures Hanff’s writing characterized by frank forthrightness Doel’s although no less friendly by a certain civility and politenessTheir correspondence isn’t just about books although there are some amusing illuminating passages about Chaucer Samuel Pepys Jane Austen John Donne and Laurence Sterne Early on Hanff also sends care packages of food and stockings to the bookstore much needed in a time of post World War II rationingAnd there are subtle glimpses into history and the changing nature of society bookstore employees emigrate to other countries to try their luck; the Doels save up money to buy their first used car; ueen Elizabeth II is crowned; Beatlemania descends on LondonBut what I love most of all is the portrait that emerges of Hanff herself A strong and independent single woman who would rather send cash in the mail than fuss with getting a money order she starts out living in a tiny cramped apartment and works her way up the publishing and radio drama worlds drawing on much of her reading of literature thanks to the packages from 84 Charing Cross Road to create her plays What I also admire is how uncluttered this book is There were other letters but Hanff trusts the reader to do the work to connect the dots By reading a “reply” we can intuit what’s being replied to There are no baggy self important italicized passages about what’s in the letters themselves And the graceful ending is stunning in its understatementOne thought Hanff and Doel’s comments about books and literature remind me of the Goodreads community I’ve found here I likely will never meet IRL as they say the people whose reviews and updates I like and comment on but that doesn’t mean our interactions aren’t profound meaningful and lastingThis is a book for and about book lovers to cherish Letters literature friendships kindness and humor fill the pages of this small volume It's a gift from Helene Hanff to anyone who loves books Not much I can say except that all book lovers should read it Long distance friendships and books a lot like Goodreads A beautiful sincere and humorous correspondence between a writer in New York Helen looking for uniue books all the time and having them shipped over from Europe and a bookstore manager in London over the years Fun nostalgic read with a smile An easy 5 starsI listened to this lovely short audiobook It's completely charming The voices are perfect And in an odd way it reminded me of what I love about Goodreads Strangers connecting over their mutual love of books Slowly the book focused repartee morphs into a real sense of affinity and frienshipA bit of warmth to ease the dark cold days of November A nice relief from the miserable state of world politicsI'm late to this party but I highly recommend it especially the audio Loved every single page of this wonderful little novel told in letters The lost art of letter writing but amazing how much we can tell of the relationship between the author in New York and a bookstore in London Reuesting books to be sent to her she makes the acuaintance of Frank Dole his wife his neighbor and other employees of the bookstore Starts out as a purely business relationship we can tell letter by letter as they become friendly discussing their families friends jobs and other events going on in the world at the time particularly the rationing that was still in place in London after the warMade me want to go out and buy a brand new gorgeous stationary set and write my friends some letters Wonderful wonderful book I love this book and love the film they made of it too It is sloppy and sweet and warm and you know just right It is the sort of book one could read in an hour or two over a pot of tea on a cold winter's afternoon and just enjoy Pure delightIf you needed to be reminded that love of literature is as good a foundation of love of the world as any other 'religion' that the people we write to can be closer and dearer to us than those we see day after day then this really is a book written to remind you of just that March 16 2020Dear HH America and possibly the world has gone mad Rationing is a word that would get you a black eye if you mentioned it while waiting in today's mile long line at the supermarket You would think Armageddon is upon us from the carts and carts of groceries people are pushing to their cars leaving the rest to scrape the broken eggs from the floor in aisle Nine where that fight between two shoppers just took place The carnage would surely have been much greater if toilet paper was the prize Where are you when we need you to set us all straight I'm almost considering blackout windows just to keep the rest of humanity out of sight JSPS July 28 2020 Is America being laughed at by the rest of the world I suspect I know the answer but perhaps you can see better from up above


About the Author: Helene Hanff

Helene Hanff April 15 1916–April 9 1997 was an American writer Born in Philadelphia Pennsylvania she is best known as the author of the book 84 Charing Cross Road which became the basis for a play teleplay and film of the same nameHer career which saw her move from writing unproduced plays to helping create some of the earliest television dramas to becoming a kind of professional New Y