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84, Charing Cross Road

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  838 ratings  ·  147 reviews
In 1949 Helene Hanff, a “poor writer with an antiquarian taste in books”, wrote to Marks & Co Booksellers of 84 Charing Cross Rd, in search of the rare editions she was unable to find in New York.

Her books were dispatched with polite but brisk efficiency. But, seeking further treasures, Helene soon found herself in regular correspondence with bookseller Frank Doel, lay
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Paperback, 230 pages
Published 2010 by Sphere (first published 1970)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,236)
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Lindi
Jun 19, 2008 Lindi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book lovers everywhere
Recommended to Lindi by: Lee Sparks
This is one of my favorite books of all time. Helene Hanff is so very funny, and I am always moved by the friendship that develops through letters between her and a used book seller. I also love her obvious affection for books and reading; she is definitely a kindred spirit. This is the book I was reading (for the first time) 20+ years ago in the story Kitri wrote about me on her GoodReads page. For those not in the know, as I sat on the floor finishing the last few letters, I became the center ...more
·Karen·
I must be the only person on the planet who hadn't already read this one, although I do remember hearing at least part of it serialised on the radio at some stage or other. On my Easter break, doing stuff that involves hanging around offices waiting to have the forms you filled in at home checked, it looked like the best option to fill in those empty hours. That's a bit scathing isn't it? Useful as a filler. Actually, and this, I'm sure, will come as no surprise to anyone, it's gawjus. It's snor ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I first saw the film based on this collection of letters and reminiscences, and years later was thrilled to find the book in a 2nd hand shop. The letters tell of the author's decades-long relationship with the bookshop in the title, as she collected "antiquarian" books (ie greats of English letters). In "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street" we read how she finally got to London and met some of the people connected with the bookshop, as well as many others. In this section she admits that yes, she c ...more
Pequete
What a BEAUTIFUL book! I loved it, took a lot of notes and now I'm craving for English literature. What a book can do to you...

Read this book through BookCrossing (a RABCK from pinklady60) and passed it on after reading it
Lori
This is a beautiful account of a NYC writer and her correspondences with some staff from an antique bookshop based in London. The letter writing begins on October 5, 1949 and continues for over 20 years. The relationship that develops between the letter writers blossoms. As they begin to feel more comfortable with one another, the dialogue becomes quite witty and amusing. What I loved most was getting a glimpse into how the times gradually change through the eyes of the writers (from QE II’s cor ...more
Dlora
84, Charing Cross Road is a fun book to read in comparison with (Hurray! I found my copy.) They are both stories told through the medium of letters; however, 84, Charing Cross Road is a true story. New York writer Helene Hanff corresponded with a London bookstore for twenty years, buying books and developing a relationship with the booksellers there. It's fun to see their characters emerging and get the flavor of England in the post-World War II time period. On top of that, if you like classics, ...more
Chrissie
NO SPOILERS!!!
My edition of this book included two of Helene Hanff's writings – both 84 Charing Cross Road and also The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, which did not at all appeal to me as much as the former did. I am only reviewing 84 Charing Cross Road, and the stars awarded relate only to the former title.

The writing consists of letters between a young woman living in N.Y. and an antiquarian book-seller in London, of course on Charing Cross Road. The letters begin all proper and polite. Helene
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Khairul H.
Apr 13, 2011 Khairul H. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone especially bibliophiles
Recommended to Khairul H. by: Nisah Haron
Could the friendship that blossomed between Helene Hanff and Frank Doel in 1949 happen today with email, Facebook and twitter? Perhaps it could and it could blossom so much quicker but there is something about communicating via letters (or 'snail mail' which I find slightly derogatory but that's just me) that I find quite beautiful. I'm old enough to have exchanged letters with pen pals and I miss that anticipation of receiving a reply, cutting open the envelope and reading the contents.

If Helen
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Vanessa
I loved this so much! It was perfect to read it whilst roaming the streets of London, including none other than Charring Cross Road! I can now check this off the list along with nearly every bookstore within a 10 mile radius of London! :)
Martin Belcher
I remember seeing the film version of this book when I was a teenager in the 1980's and discovered the book recently in Waterstones and experienced a wave of nostalgia!

The book is charming and follows the correspondence between a New York screen play writer and self confessed antiquarian book lover, Helene Hanff and Mr Frank Doel a partner in a second hand book shop at 84 Charing Cross Road in London called Marks & Co. We begin in 1949 and follow the realtionship between the two via very fu
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Mmars
Unlike most Goodreaders I was not that enamored with 84 Charing Cross Road. I'm beginning to think that epistolary works are not my cup of tea. At least not right now. I was also disappointed in Guernsey Ladies Potato....and nearly everyone on Goodreads has rated that higher than me.

First, let me say, that I think I would have adored Helene Hanff in real life - her quick mind, her generosity, her lack of conceit, etc.
I enjoyed the first part of the book, in which the friendships are establishe
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Bridgette
I am going on a NYC literary walking tour with a couple of friends which includes this writer's old haunts. After reading the beautiful story of her journey as a writer, and her ever-growing bond with a person she had never met (but is ultimately the inspiration for book, and her fame), I am super excited for the tour. It's introduced me to a lot of NYC-based writers whose works I've never read. I am thrilled to have discovered Hanff along the way, I want to read more of her work.
Tristan
A wonderfully light read. Miss Hanff has a marvelous sense of humor and it comes through loud and clear. As an example, when she attempts to read on of John Donne's sermons and has to bounce back and forth between four books in an attempt to find the whole thing and sends a letter to Marks and Co asking for Donne's complete sermons if they can get it cheaply she ends the letter with: "I am going to bed, I will have hideous nightmares involving huge monsters in academic robes carrying long bloody ...more
Ape
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian Robbins
As a child I had a fascination with snow. Because it didn’t often snow where I lived, and when it did it never seemed to stay for long, I lived out my fascination through books & films. All a book had to do was mention snow & I was hooked. Hence at nine & ten one of my favourite books was “Jet, Sled Dog of the North”. I took it out from the public library and read it so often, that it eventually disintegrated enough for it to be withdrawn from circulation. I was in my 40s before I fo ...more
Dan
A cute story of a friendship between an American book lover and the employees of a British book shop comes to life through a series of letters that they send to each other. Over time the letters become more and more personal, discussing not only the titles that the American woman wants to order, but also the lives of the woman and the booksellers.

I listened to this audiobook several years ago, I think around the time I was midway through college. I don't remember the details, now, as it's been
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K
Aug 15, 2009 K rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K by: Mintzis
"Chicken Soup for the Used Bookstore Lover's Soul" might be an appropriate title for this slim volume, which consists of the 1950s-1960s correspondence between writer Helene Hanff and London used bookstore Marks & Co. It may sound stuffy and boring, but it isn't -- early on, Hanff drops her formal tone and begins her letters with lines like "WHAT KIND OF A BLACK PROTESTANT BIBLE IS THIS?" and "...what are you DOING over there, you are not doing ANYthing, you are just sitting AROUND...I have ...more
melissa
Have you ever read someone else's diary?

Do you peruse PostSecret or the rants and raves on Craigslist?

Did you like The Jolly Postman series or The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy?

Are you a bibliophile?

If you answer "yes" to any of the questions above, I highly recommend taking one to two hours to sit down with 84, Charing Cross Road by Philadelphia-born Helene Hanff.

Be prepared to laugh, smile, and reevaluate your connection with your own collection of books.

Thank you very much again to Alastair Ha
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El
This is a quaint, cute little read. It's a compilation of letters spanning 20 years between Helene Hanff in New York and Frank Doel, a bookseller in London. A literary comradery began between the two as Helene would send the booksellers food and other sundries during the war years.

There's really not a whole lot to say about the book. It's sweet and touching and super easy to read. It didn't change my life, which was disappointing based on some of the things I've heard about it. There's a movie o
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Lacy
I was so looking forward to this book and it did not disappoint. Definitely a book for a bibliophile. This edition also included The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street which was a delightful surprise.
Rosemary
I adored '84 Charing Cross Road' which is the 1950s/60s correspondence between reclusive New York reader and writer Helene Hanff and Frank Doel who works at the London rare book shop where she orders her books. Huge life events get the briefest mention between caustically funny paragraphs about books that many people will never have heard of. It's also very touching - I cried at the end. I am a softie for things like that though!

Also in this volume is the sequel 'The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street
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Vicky
Feb 02, 2008 Vicky rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Get ready to curl up in your favorite spot for a couple hours of pure delight! You will feel as if you know the author and her newfound friends as you turn the pages of this quick read.

Helen Hanff's sense of humor is engaging and I love how the authors of the books she buys become like close friends in her life and how she connects to previous owners of those books.

This book also gave me a peek into the contrast of the lives of ordinary people in two countries in the aftermath of WWII .

I lov
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Peggy
Very interesting to read the book (collection of letters not written as an epistolary novel) that was made into film with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft that is somewhat of a classic (among book nerds and Hopkins fans). (I know that last sentence had two parentheticals. I'm sorry). First, 84 Charing Cross is a delightful and rather slight read that because the letters are real captures an authentic slice of life after World War II. I couldn't help but think, they did this in the movie, based ...more
Mollie *scoutrmom*
Mar 08, 2010 Mollie *scoutrmom* rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: booklovers and armchair travelers
Recommended to Mollie *scoutrmom* by: Jim Lazear
Shelves: non-fiction
A delightful record of a correspondence between a bookaholic writer and her enabler, the bookshop at the title address. The relationship grows from 1949 for twenty years, progressing from "Gentlemen" to "Dear Frankie". Also in this edition is the sequel, "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street", a love story between the author and London, not so much a travelogue as a journal of a dream coming true. Delightful.
Davida Chazan
Long before the Internet, or even computers, New Yorker Helene Hanff started buying books from Marks & Co. in London, thereby beginning relationships that lasted for decades. Her account of this was made into this book You can read my recently revised review here http://drchazan.blogspot.co.il/2015/0...
Kevin Cooper
I bought this because I've seen the movie several times and loved it.
I normally do this the other way round, having read the book several times I go see the movie.
It did not disappoint. I could imagine the reading of the other letters that
were not included in the movie and it was quite a surreal feeling.
Brittany
This book truly makes me feel like I should take up to a pen-pal if not just to make a new friend to visit in a foreign land!

"I am here on the plane trying to see faces, trying to hold onto London, but the mind intrudes with thoughts of home: the mail piled up waiting for me, the people waiting, the work waiting."
Emma
It's only when I started reading The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, which my edition of this book abruptly segued into, that I realised 84 Charing Cross Road was non-fiction. Here I was thinking I was a third of the way through the book itself, and suddenly here's its author promoting it in London. So odd ... I was like, wow, this is an odd exercise in metafiction, until I had to Wikipedia it. I loved 84 CCR but the London part of this book sort of ruined the magic of it a little. I had been thin ...more
Romi
This was a very neat book, but I feel like I reacted to it in a different way than the people whom Helene heard from after it's first publication did. I think it's an interesting, enjoyable, at times very amusing work; I feel like the author is a really neat person and I throughly enjoyed seeing her character and personality come out in the letters and diary entries, but I didn't quite think those letters were beautiful or astounding. I just thought they were... unique, giving of an interesting ...more
Emily
I loved this book from the moment I opened it at age fifteen. I've read it several times since and still love it. I love that the letters contained 84 Charing Cross Road were simply written as letters, actual correspondence, with no though to eventual publication.
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Helene Hanff (April 15, 1916–April 9, 1997) was an American writer. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she is best known as the author of the book 84 Charing Cross Road, which became the basis for a play, teleplay, and film of the same name.

Her career, which saw her move from writing unproduced plays to helping create some of the earliest television dramas to becoming a kind of professional New Y
...more
More about Helene Hanff...
84, Charing Cross Road The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street Q's Legacy Apple of My Eye Underfoot in Show Business

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“Why should I run all the way down to 17th St. to buy dirty, badly made books whenI can buy clean, beautiful ones
from you without leaving the typewriter? From whereI sit,London’s a lot closer than 17th Street.”
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