Wednesday, April 15, 2009

84, Charing Cross Road

Title: 84, Charing Cross Road
Author: Helene Hanff
Genre: Biography, Epistolary
Pages: 97
Published: 1970
Date Finished: 2 April 2009
My Rating: 5 Stars
Challenges: New Author, RYOB, Decades, Numbers, 100+

84, Charing Cross Road is a book that has been on my radar for years and I really wish I hadn't waited so long to pick myself up a copy.
Coming in at a slim 97 pages 84, Charing Cross Road is a delightfully charming collection of letters between witty and outspoken New York writer Helen Hanff and stereotypically reticent British book seller Frank Doel.
The 20 year correspondence began in 1949 when Helen wrote to Marks and Co. Booksellers at 84, Charing Cross Road, London to request some rare, out of print titles. Before long Helen befriended Frank and the entire staff at Marks and Co.
I laughed out loud while reading many of the letters and was charmed by the kindness and genuine friendship displayed between a group of people who had never met. I also just loved reading Helen's thoughts and feelings and about her love of books.
This charming little book is not to be missed! (Yes, I do realize that I use the word charming a lot when describing books. I guess I am easily charmed.)
I myself have been wishing I had a Frank Doel over in England to help me locate some books as my interest in out of print British authors seems to be at a peak right now. Oh how nice it would be to have Frank track down some Noel Streatfield, D.E. Stevenson, or Barbara Pym, amongst many others, right now. At least I have the internet to help me, something Helen did not have.

8 comments:

Tricia said...

I'm glad you loved this one as much as I did!

Cynthia said...

I have been looking for some D. E. Stevenson's also....

Carrie K. said...

I've heard so many good things about this book - I just put it on hold at the library. Sounds like perfect Spring Break reading. :)

Beeswax said...

I will put this in my queue. Your description reminds me a little of the beginning of The Geurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Jo said...

This sounds great.
I sympathise over streatfeild Apart from the childrens books and Saplings,its difficlt to find any. I read saplings and loved it and would like to read more.

Anna said...

I've heard comparisons of this book to Guernsey, which I recently finished and loved. I'll have to check this one out, too. Thanks for the review.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Anonymous said...

Check out the history of Marks & Co at:
http://www.84charingcrossroad.co.uk

Laura H said...

I just finished this book and thought it was charming too.