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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
4,4332741,607 (4.25)1 / 934
  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. 80
    The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff (Booksloth)
  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. 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. 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: A Two-Sided Love Story 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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English (245)  Spanish (10)  French (7)  Catalan (6)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (274)
Showing 1-5 of 245 (next | show all)
A series of letters between the author and a London book shop. Endearing, oddly fun, fascinating in its discussion of literature, by the way. Just an hour's read, if that but a nice refreshing drink. ( )
  DonaldPowell | Feb 5, 2019 |
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff; (5*)

This is a beautiful story of friendship at a time when writing letters was the only form of communication amongst friends and businesses.
Helene is a script writer from New York with a passion for rare books. She is outspoken for a woman of that time and has a very witty sense of humor.
Frank is a book dealer from London. He is rather a proper gentleman who works in a small book shop that specializes in out of print books.
When Helene comes across a catalogue for the store she immediately writes to them with an order.
Frank replies and in his proper British manner begins with 'Dear Madam'.
Helene replies with the remark 'I hope madam does not mean over there what it does here'.
And so begins a beautiful exchange of lives that starts with a shared love of books and over the years develops into so much more.
This is definitely a wonderful read, especially for anyone like myself who loved writing and receiving letters before computers killed off the romance of it all. I highly recommend this one. ( )
  rainpebble | Feb 3, 2019 |
Charming story of a friendship between a NYC screenwriter and a London bookseller told in epistolary form from 1949 to 1969. What starts as a simple request for some rare books evolves into a warm friendship. I have wanted to read this book for some time, it was sweet. ( )
  rmarcin | Jan 22, 2019 |
Thus reminds me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and also You’ve Got Mail. I love them both and I really enjoyed this book too.

This is a true story, a correspondence between two people sharing letters. It’s the 1940’s, Helen is in the United States, she writes to a book store in the UK to order a few books. She starts exchanging letters with Fred, who works at the store.

They share a correspondence that lasts for decades.

I thought the very most touching part was Helen sending food to Fred and his coworkers while the UK had food rations. Needless to say how grateful they were.

My only complaint at all is that it’s hard to tell how frequent their letters were. Some letters had huge gaps of time between them, months or years. I couldn’t tell whether there had been letters in between. ( )
  Mishale1 | Jan 4, 2019 |
Lovely, comforting and happy read. This is easily my happiest books of the last few months. I love letters books, books about books, books that give you the urge to look for other intriguing books. Notes at the bottom of pages are so my jam. A lovely, quick but not fast read. I'll probably come back to it often. ( )
  writerlibrarian | Dec 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 245 (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 (60 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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
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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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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 6 descriptions

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