84, Charing Cross Road

84, Charing Cross Road is a charming record of bibliophilia, cultural difference, and imaginative sympathy. For 20 years, an outspoken New York riter and a rather more restrained London bookseller carried on an increasingly touching correspondence. In her first letter to Marks& amp; Co., Helene Hanff encloses a wish list, but warns, " The phrase 'antiquarian booksellers' scares me somewhat, as I equate 'antique' with expensive. " Seven 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 decades later, Hanff is outraged that Marks& amp; 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. "

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Published 1975 by Grossman (first published 1970
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84, Charing Cross Road

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gave it

I laughed a lot harder this time, and even got a little choked up near the nd.

Re-reading this little treasury of collected letters made me think perhaps we 've lost more than just an outdated form of contact.

gave it

A proclaimed Anglophile who wrote to employees of the Marks and Company Book Shop in London over a twenty year period, Hanff published her letters in book form as a gift to future readers and letter writers.Helene Hanff is enamored by out of print, hard to find British literature.

By chance, Hanff 's upstairs neighbors are British, and they give her the name of Marks and Co. Starting in 1949, Hanff begins writing to Marks' employees requesting new or slightly used second hand copies of all things British, everything from Chaucer to Austen and all rare books in between.

What started as an enquiry becomes a twenty year correspondence with employees at the shop.The main pen pal Hanff wrote to was an employee named Frank Doel.

Even though she was eager to visit London, Hanff 's sincere writing left me with a smile as I envisioned her thrill of opening the letters and packages that emerged from a simple correspondence.

gave it

Strangers connecting over their mutual love of books.

gave it

Responding to an advertisement in a newspape, she wrote to Marks& Co., and began her two decades-long epistolary relationship with Doel.Her chatty, witty and often teasing letters requesting books and Frank ’ s more 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 siblings, the couple ’ s daughter and the family ’ s elderly neighbour.

The books also touches on their differing cultures, Hanff ’ s writing characterized by frank forthrightness, Doel ’ s, although no less friendly, by a certain civility and politeness.Their correspondence isn ’ t just about books, although there are some fu, illuminating passages about Chaucer, Samuel Pepys, Jane Austen, John Donne and Laurence Sterne.

gave it

Helene Hanff is an American writer desperate to fill her reading dreams with editions of books she has trouble finding in the US.

Letters and conversation about books- the beauty of them, the written ords, the jokes- this is a book lover 's dream.

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