84, Charing Cross Road

( 16 )

Overview

It all began with a letter inquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London. As Helene's sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the stodgy and proper Frank Doel of 84, Charing Cross Road, a relationship blossoms into a warm, charming, feisty love affair.
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Overview

It all began with a letter inquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London. As Helene's sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the stodgy and proper Frank Doel of 84, Charing Cross Road, a relationship blossoms into a warm, charming, feisty love affair.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
What started as a request for an out-of-print book evolved into a 20-year friendship. In her saucy letters, Hanff playfully harangues the staff : "SLOTH: I could ROT over here before you'd send me anything to read." Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140143508
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/28/1990
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 59,544
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.85 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Helene Hanff is the author of APPLE OF MY EYE, THE DUCHESS OF BLOOMSBURY STREET, LETTER FROM NEW YORK, Q'S LEGACY and UNDERFOOT IN SHOW BUSINESS. She wrote a number of books for young readers the best known being MOVERS AND SHAKERS and TERRIBLE THOMAS. Born in Philadelphia, Helene lived most of her life in New York City.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 13, 2011

    Highly Recommend

    This is one of my favorite books of all time. I reread it at least yearly and it never fails to touch me in so many ways. i laugh and I cry and who could ask for more from an old friend?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Friendship with Depth and Love

    In these days of e-books, and bland books constructed from franchised ideas and formulas, we are presented "84, Charing Cross Road," a story about a relationship begun because of a mutual love of old great books.

    Frank Doel owns the English bookstore, and Helene Hanff mails him a request for a book. Correspondence and a relationship begins. Contently and confidently married, Doel responds as an older brother might, and the two grow to cherish each other despite the distance.

    As they care for each other, and slowly, their local friends and family become aware, we see how love transcends the sea. Neither character has an agenda, and this left me feeling a little less cynical about the world around me.

    Like Nick Bantock's "Griffin and Sabine," it carries a romantic mystery and intrigue. We read the correspondence and imagine.

    Like so many of today's e-mail- and chatroom-only friendships, they learn to appreciate each other, though knowing only the other as they choose to describe themselves.

    This isn't a story about books or bookstores, despite the honest representation of their demeanor and personality. Any booklover knows the search for a book, and the texture of a bookseller's knowledge and connection with his books.

    This is a book about the depth, trust, and love of one unexpected relationship. Book lovers will enjoy the context, and good friends will smile knowingly.

    The movie with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft is likewise worth viewing, carrying the letters into a emotional zone of charm and delight.

    --Brockeim

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Why we love books we can hold in our hands, put on our shelves, and read in the bath!

    84, Charing Cross Road is the address of a London bookseller. The New York author, Helen Hanff, purchased numerous hard to find books from this shop shortly after WWII and the correspondence between her and the bookseller reveals the value of friendships developed through their letterwriting. Ms. Hanff writes of her career as an author and TV writer, as well as her humble generosity in helping out a particular group of people she doesn't even know.
    Charmingly intimate in tone and style, the letters cover many decades. It was with considerable nostagia that I read this book.
    For anyone person wanting to capture the flavor and the culture of a by-gone-era this is a great example of post WWII British/American relationships.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2013

    Delightful, easy read.

    Made up entirely of letters between the author and folks at a book store across the pond, this is a fun book that captures another time. It is amazing how much of the personalities is conveyed through just a few lines!

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  • Posted May 23, 2013

    This book is charming. The author is intelligent and fun. I wo

    This book is charming. The author is intelligent and fun. I would have liked to meet her.

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  • Posted January 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    It is true that good books can can come in small packages. This

    It is true that good books can can come in small packages. This book is charming. I couldn't put it down. I loved reading the letters. Letter writing is such an art that has died out. This is a book that I would highly recommend for bookclubs because it will make readers laugh, cry, and care. Readers will get invested in all of the characters. The movie is also wonderful.

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  • Posted December 24, 2011

    amazing correspondence between NY booklover and supportive London bookseller

    LOVED this deep dive into the past....such a wonderful record of the past.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    Charming and wonderful.

    This tome is proof that much can be accomplished with but a few words. All devoted readers should make it a point to read this thin but endearing and enduring work. The series of letters between Ms. Hanff and her London correspondent are a delight -- my only regret is that there weren't more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2010

    WHAT I READ WHEN I AM FEELING DOWN.

    When I have this feeling that life is just not worth working at any more, I think of 84 Charing Cross Road. It's charming, heart-warming, and I fell in love with Helene Hanff. She is witty and not afraid to express her thoughts, no matter how outrageous. I love the way she thinks and makes friends so easily, even though these people are on another continent. Helene's generosity and the complete gratitude from the people on 84 Charing Cross Road astounds me. If you need a book to make you feel good, read it, it will do the charm.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2005

    Enchanting!

    This book has charmed and beguiled me to no end! I absolutely, absolutely love it! The letters between Helene Hanff and the staff at Marks & Co are so whimsical, so warm, so wonderful! I just adore this book!! Book lovers - you must read this!!!! 84 Charing Cross Road is now a favorite. I am eager to do a staff recommendation on this book at work. This book really resonates with my soul. I totally understand the author's passion for books, and her enthusiasm for the UK is contageous.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2004

    Meghan, 20 Years into a Book!

    This is a lovely book. It is a book of letters written back and fourth between two wonderful and outgoing writers, they have no problem speaking their mind. Helen Hanff, an American from New York, recorded 20 years of her life writing letters to Frank Doell, an English bookseller from London. They share a love for books and express their opinions on the books they have read. The author really expresses their critism and sarcasm in the letters which makes the book funny, you really get into it. It allows you to feel exactly what their saying and how their saying it. This book is great for someone who loves a good book. They won't want to put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2004

    Bookletters

    I really enjoyed the book, 84 Charing Cross Road. This book is about a young, struggling author, named Helene, who orders books from a small book store in London. Helene and the owner of the bookstore begin to exchange polite letter to one another regarding book purchases. But, after awhile, the employees start to mingle with her. Soon enough, the whole bookstore and there family members are sending friendly, formal letters to Helene. A good thing that the author did in this book was not being very descriptive, but still gives you the feeling that you were there. To me, this boosted the reader¿s pleasure. This book is very odd, in that there is not really a problem, Helene is just ordering books. This book is somewhat like, Dear Mr.Henshaw, because it is a book full of letters. This is a good book for readers who are not so much into detail and are not looking for much action. I would get this book if you want it for a nice, quiet, relaxing read. I personally really enjoyed this book. Though is did not have much action, it was still very hard to put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2003

    Great Correspondance

    This is a marvelous book. I reread it last night because the film version was on tv. I love the blunt caustic wit of Helen in her corespondances. I've yet to read the two sequals to this book (duchess of bloomsburry street is her trip to England, and q' legacy). I thought it sad but literarilly fitting that she never did get to stroll personally through the shelves of her beloved store or to meet her dear Frank Deol. The Film shows something that you never read in the book that she actually got there. She went only after the store was borded up and abandoned and only after she had made enough money to go there from selling the book of her letters. I saw the film on tv when i was about 10 yrs old. My other owned the book so I read it. It is so brilliant I recomend it to anyone who loves books and the intimacy of reading. It's better than the Griffin and Sabine series because these people actually lived and breathed the streets and lives of the written world. =>)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2002

    A BEAUTIFUL, HEARTWARMING BOOK

    Anyone who loves books will love this story about a vibrant New York lady's passion for collecting them, told in alternating letters of correspondence between the struggling author and a British antiquarian seller who supplied by mail the treasured secondhand books she could barely afford to buy. An amazing true story spanning twenty years, it was made into a memorable and moving film starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins, and is available on video. Some editions of 84 Charing Cross Road come with the companion book The Duchess of Bloomsbury (or you can get it separately), a diary Ms Hanff kept when she visited London for the first time; but not until the original book had made her famous and she was finally able to afford the dream trip she had longed for. Sadly, Ms Hanff passed away recently, but her story will live on forever in the letters that touched the hearts of thousands.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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