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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
4,9502971,633 (4.24)1 / 981
Correspondence between Helene Hanff and agents of Marks & Co., chiefly Frank Doel.
  1. 205
    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. 110
    The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff (Booksloth, Cecrow)
    Cecrow: A sort-of sequel to 84 Charing Cross Road, detailing Helen's visit to London, England.
  3. 40
    The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley (BasilBlue)
  4. 40
    The private papers of a bankrupt bookseller by William Young Darling (BasilBlue)
    BasilBlue: Fascinating peek at the nature of book sellers and book buyers in the early 20th century.
  5. 51
    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. 10
    Bibliophilia by N. John Hall (sneuper)
    sneuper: Like Bibliophilia, 84 Charing Cross Road is a correspondence between a collecter and an antiquarian bookseller.
  9. 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)
  10. 00
    The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss (MyriadBooks)
  11. 22
    Book Traveller by Bruce Bliven (trav)
  12. 11
    At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays by Anne Fadiman (Booksloth)
  13. 01
    Twice Born by Margaret Mazzantini (remeig)
  14. 01
    Address Unknown by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor (bnbookgirl, bnbookgirl)

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» See also 981 mentions

English (265)  Spanish (10)  French (8)  Catalan (7)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Arabic (1)  All languages (297)
Showing 1-5 of 265 (next | show all)
This is such a sweet little book. Charming, witty, impossible not to like. It was easy to feel a bond to Helene and the others and makes me nostalgic for times when you could form a type of friendship with an independent business rather than being one of thousands of emails/letters to big companies where you get lost in the shuffle.

Quick read, but it definitely cause an emotional reaction. So glad I stumbled upon it. If you're thinking about this one, pick it up. you wont regret it. ( )
  literarylifelines | May 13, 2021 |
This is one of my all times favorite books. I have re-read it too many times to keep track, and I have given many copies to friends.

I find it uplifting when I need something upbeat to read. It is also perfect when I have just a couple of hours to devote to a book. But its size - so short - is no indication of the richness in it. This collection of letters between strangers reveals so much about them and the lives that they led: dreams of travel, love of books, financial troubles, solidarity, friendship and, perhaps, love.

This is not a chronological romance, just a glimpse in the lives of real people, and how much of their dreams and aspirations is poured out in day-to-day missives. Are we all so transparent? Can we all see ourselves and others if only we pay more attention to the memos, email and text messages we send and receive constantly? I don't know, but I do wonder!
( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
Epistolary novel with correspondences spanning 1949 through 1969. The exchange of letters starts out between the author Helene Hanff based in NYC and a second-hand London bookshop, Marks & Co. located at 84, Charing Cross Road, and delightfully expands to include the authors friends and the bookseller's family, colleagues and even a neighbor.
This is a very slim volume, 70 pages in the edition I read. The author's wit is clear, as is her love of books (but not fiction!:-) It gives a window into post-WWII life in London.
I found transcription typos especially endearing. I assume they were left in on purpose. The ease of ordering books, overseas and on credit no less and the prices involved were also eye-opening.
I just loved the friendships which evolved over the 20 years between these correspondents!
It makes you want to get a pen-pal start writing long letters again. ( )
  deslivres5 | Apr 2, 2021 |
Just lovely! I read this after the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. You can certainly see how 84 Charing Cross influenced that book, but Helen Hanff's book is real life and that makes it much more charming. It made me long for my own correspondence adventure. ( )
  ColourfulThreads | Feb 18, 2021 |
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 265 (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 (40 possible)

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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Gentlemen: Your ad in the Saturday Review of Literature says that you specialize in out-of-print books.
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]
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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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Correspondence between Helene Hanff and agents of Marks & Co., chiefly Frank Doel.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
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.'
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Average: (4.24)
1 8
1.5 4
2 33
2.5 8
3 195
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