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84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
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84, Charing Cross Road (1970)

by Helene Hanff, Frank Doel

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: 84, Charing Cross Road (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,7852331,375 (4.24)1 / 858
  1. 176
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (khuggard, DetailMuse, helgagrace, ehough75, kraaivrouw)
    khuggard: Another tale about book lovers who come together through letters, with the same, post-war England setting.
    kraaivrouw: Another book about people who connect via their love of books and reading.
  2. 60
    The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff (Booksloth)
  3. 40
    The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley (BasilBlue)
  4. 40
    Private Papers of a Bankrupt Bookseller, The by Anonymous (BasilBlue)
    BasilBlue: Fascinating peek at the nature of book sellers and book buyers in the early 20th century.
  5. 41
    Q's Legacy by Helene Hanff (lilithcat)
    lilithcat: "Q" is Arthur Quiller-Couch, whose book On the Art of Writing led Ms. Hanff to what would become many of her favorite books and writers.
  6. 74
    The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (withwill, teelgee)
  7. 30
    The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee (Booksloth)
  8. 21
    An Alphabetical Life: Living It Up in the World of Books by Wendy Werris (sfelber)
    sfelber: Another book about books-this time the book selling business. A fascinating read. This memoir by Wendy Werris details her life from working in a San Francisco book store as a kid to becoming an independent book rep. A true behind-the-scene view for bibliophiles.… (more)
  9. 00
    The Thorn and the Blossom: A Two-Sided Love Story by Theodora Goss (MyriadBooks)
  10. 11
    At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays by Anne Fadiman (Booksloth)
  11. 12
    Book Traveller by Bruce Bliven (trav)
  12. 01
    Venuto al mondo by Margaret Mazzantini (remeig)
  13. 01
    Address Unknown by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor (bnbookgirl, bnbookgirl)
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English (205)  Spanish (10)  French (6)  Catalan (6)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (233)
Showing 1-5 of 205 (next | show all)
This epistolary novel is pure delight from beginning to end. Having come across an advertisement for a second-hand book store in London, Helene Hanff began a correspondence that spanned two decades. Her pithy and witty letters asking for out-of-print books contrasts nicely with the proper and business-like replies from one Frank Doel, employee of the bookshop. It doesn’t take Helene long to become friendly with people she hardly knows, and soon those feelings are reciprocated; who could resist Helene and her style of writing! As letters continue to fly across the pond, the people involved do become friends of a sort. Though sad at the end, as all things do come to an end, even people and book stores, this little collection of letters will have you laughing at Helene’s brashness in demanding the books she desires. It is wondrous in its simplicity. ( )
  Maydacat | Jun 20, 2016 |
A compact, charming, epistolary novella that highlights over 20 years of correspondence from/to/between a writer in NYC and a bookseller at the titular address in London. Through their correspondence, the reader gets a sense of what post-WWII life was like both in the USA and in the UK, and becomes a part of a trans-Atlantic family. There are personal triumphs and tragedies, all told through humorous, poignant, and heartfelt letters.

I enjoyed the reading experience, but I felt that the actual writing was a bit thin to try and compile as a single work. I was looking for more overall. ( )
  BooksForYears | Jun 1, 2016 |
Well that was a delight. ( )
  AngelClaw | May 17, 2016 |
This is a book I've wanted to read for years now, but only just got around to doing so because one of my things is to read books and watch movies based on them. I've had the DVD out from Netflix for ages, so I finally got around to reading it. I wasn't expecting to fall in love the way I did. I was expecting some charming letter-writing and maybe two characters falling in love. I'd forgotten this was the true story of a woman in the US writing to a bookshop in London. I'd forgotten that in real life, things are often more complicated and more heartbreaking than they are in fiction.

I fell in love with the people and the bookshop almost at once. Something about the tone--proper but with an unexpected humor--made me care about these people. Their love of books certainly did not hurt. Helene seemed amazingly generous, sending food parcels during tough times, instructing a friend to sneak some extra nylons onto a desk, and asking after so many of the employees who had touched her heart through books and letters though they had never met. Her image of England--the one of literature--endured through the whole book, and I cried at the end for how it all played out. This book a beautiful and lasting tribute to Frank's humor, Helene's quirkiness and kindness, and the passion for books everyone at 84, Charing Cross Road had. It's amazing what effects these people had on each other from across the sea. And it's amazing the effect they had on me across the decades. ( )
  katekintail | Apr 10, 2016 |
What a delightful little book! I haven’t read anything in quite some time that made me so nostalgic for the printed word, used bookshops, marginalia, and the like. It made me a little sad, though it’s also heartwarming and humorous at times. In short, 84, Charring Cross Road is the perfect book for bibliophiles. It’s a very slim volume, but trust me - it’s worth it. ( )
  les121 | Mar 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 205 (next | show all)
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of what may be the most unlikely New York Times bestseller ever: Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road. ...84 Charing Cross Road is a perfect example of why you can't judge a book by its cover, its length, or the unorthodox nature of its content. Ultimately what makes the book work is what makes any book work, whether fiction or nonfiction: the relationships between the characters....84 Charing Cross Road is at its core a book about lovers of books, and is at the same time one of the funniest and most touching books you'll ever read
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hanff, Heleneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doel, Frankmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Anne BancroftIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gómez i Casademont, PuriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kooten, Barbara vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Premoli, MarinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
F.P.D. In Memoriam
First words
Gentlemen: Your ad in the Saturday Review of Literature says that you specialize in out-of-print books.
Quotations
My friends are peculiar about books. They read all the best sellers, they get through them as fast as possible, I think they skip a lot. And they NEVER read anything a second time so they don't remember a word of it a year later. But they are profoundly shocked to see me drop a book in the wastebasket or give it away. The way they look at it, you buy a book, you read it, you put it on the shelf, you never open it again for the rest of your life but YOU DON'T THROW IT OUT! NOT IF IT HAS A HARD COVER ON IT! Why not? I personally can't think of anything less sacrosanct than a bad book or even a mediocre book. [54]
I do love secondhand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest. The day Hazlitt came he opened to "I hate to read new books," and I hollered "Comrade!" to whoever owned it before me. [7]
It [the Book Lover's Anthology] looks too new and pristine ever to have been read by anyone else, but it has been: it keeps falling open at the most delightful places as the ghost of its former owner points me to things I've never read before. [56]
Have you got De Tocqueville's Journey to America?  Somebody borrowed mine and never gave it back.  Why is it that people who wouldn't dream of stealing anything else think it's perfectly all right to steal books? [61]
A newspaper man I know, who was stationed in London during the war, says tourists go to England with preconceived notions, so they always find exactly what they go looking for.  I told him I'd go looking for the England of English literature, and he said:
"Then it's there." [13]
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the main work - Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road (unabridged).  Please do not combine with omnibus/combined editions, anthologies or abridged editions.

The UK edition titled 84 Charing Cross Road, ISBN 0860074382, 1844085244 and 1860498507, is actually an omnibus edition of this title and The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.  Works identified as this omnibus should NOT be combined with this work, 84 Charing Cross Road.
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Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
VIRAGO EDITION:
Your ad in the Saturday Review of Literature says that you specialize in out-of-print books. The phrase 'antiquarian book-sellers' scares me somewhat, as I equate 'antique' with expensive. I am a poor writer with an antiquarian taste in books and all the things I want are impossible to get over here except in very expensive rare editions, or in Barnes and Noble's grimy, marked-up schoolboy copies.

So begins the delightfully reticent love affair between Miss Helene Hanff of New York and Messrs Marks and Co, sellers of rare and secondhand books, at 84 Charing Cross Road, London. For twenty years this outspoken New York writer and Frank Doel, a rather more restrained London bookseller, carry on an increasingly touching correspondence to the point where, in early December, 1949, Helene is suddenly worried that the six-pound ham she's sent off to augment British rations will arrive in a kosher office.
Soon they are sharing more personal news about Frank's family and Hanff's career. No doubt their letters would have continued, but in 1969 the firm's secretary informed Helene 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.'
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140143505, Paperback)

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."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:11 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

What started as a request for an out-of-print book evolved into a 20-year friendship between Helene Hanff, a freelance writer living in New York, and Frank Doel, a used-book dealer in London.

» see all 4 descriptions

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