Thursday, November 04, 2010

84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff

This is the story of an American writer living in New York and a used bookstore in England.   What started out as business transaction as Helen Hanff was looking for antique books in good condition blossomed over twenty years into a fantastic friendship.

What I Thought:
First, the story behind how I came to read this book.  While having a blast at the Southern Festival of Books with my dad, he ran into an old friend and they started chatting.  He is an avid book lover and enjoys sharing his passion with others, including mailing boxes of books to various small libraries across the country who most likely have very limited budgets.  When he found out I was a librarian, he insisted that I must read this book.  Not only insist...he mailed me a copy along with a sealed envelope  instructions that I couldn't open until I finished the book.  The envelope contained a very nice letter and a recording of a Helen Hanff NPR tribute in 1997.   Many thanks to my new book friend for this wonderful book!

So, the book.  Honestly...this is a book that probably would have never picked up on my own.  Which would have been a shame, because it is a wonderful memoir!  The book is letters that are written between Helen and her friends regarding the bookstore.   It's fun to see the formality of the first letters, then as the years go by the mood lightens and the correspondence grows to more friends of whom she has never met!

If you've never read this book, it's a quick read that is simply delightful!  I encourage you to pick it up and give it a read.

Very highly recommended.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff.

Reviewed from a personal copy.

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