84, Charing Cross Road

People used to write lovely letters. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff is a collection of letters between the author and the used bookshop Marks and Co. It is lovely to see the friendship between the American author and the British bookseller, Frank Doel, grow. It begins as the American orders books, sometimes in a jaunty, teasing tone. when Hanff learns of the rationing in post-war Britain, she sends a care package of things like eggs and tinned ham to the shop for Christmas. They begin to speak of their lives, Hanff's as a female writer in NYC, Doel's as a family man in London. Others at the shop, and Doel's wife and, by the end, his eldest daughter write as well. Early on, Hanff keeps saying that "next summer" she'll get to England to meet everyone but things just keep coming up and "next summer" never seems to include the trip.

So in a way, it is a book about not letting time go by. Doing what you dream of while there is still time. I really liked it and will be passing it along to my mom as I think she will enjoy it too. a 6.

Does anyone know if the bookshop is still there?


  1. I really liked this one, and the movie was pretty darn good too. Anne Bancroft makes a really nice Hanff. :)

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