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Q's Legacy

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  1,078 Ratings  ·  154 Reviews
Here is the remarkable story of how Helene Hanff came to write 84, Charing Cross Road, and of all the things its success has brought her. Hanff recalls her serendipitous discovery of a volume of lectures by a Cambridge don, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. She devoured Q’s book, and, wanting to read all the books he recommended, began to order them from a small store in London, a ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 252 pages
Published February 1st 1986 by Thorndike Press (first published 1985)
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Ingrid Morris I'd say after... You may also want to read "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street" in between.
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Community Reviews

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Deborah Markus
This seems to be the least-loved of Hanff's books. Readers apparently expect another book full of dated entries, be they letters or diary entries, and are nonplussed by this fairly straightforward narrative.

I think Q rounds out her other books very well exactly because it's more conventional in structure. 84, Charing Cross Road is the book that makes readers fall in love with Hanff's voice. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street makes those fans cheer, because (spoiler alert!) she finally gets to go
...more
Cindy Rollins
Aug 18, 2016 Cindy Rollins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread, 2016
This book is purely for Anglophiles of which I am the biggest. I have read this book several times now, each reading has me looking up streets on maps of London and books on Amazon.

Probably not for everyone but a delight for those who already love Q and London.
Wallace
Aug 17, 2010 Wallace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
Type: {Impress Your Friends Read: noteable; prize-winner of all around intelligent crowd conversation piece)
Rating:{I’m Lovin’ It: Very Entertaining!}

Why You’re Reading It:

You adore Helene Hanff and wish you could have met her (oh wait, that’s me)
You like intelligent, funny women who were ahead of their time
Glimpses into New York when it was all about writers and the theater are your bag
Interesting, short non-fiction entertains you
You’re smart
What I Thought:

I might always regret that I discovere
...more
Amy
Jan 07, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I am curled up on the giant, green easy chair that has turned into my office over the past weeks caught in that moment of bliss that happens when you finish a nearly perfect, five star book. I didn't plan to read the whole book this evening. I planned to watch my show, prepare some stuff for tomorrow, interact with the family.
Helene didn't let me follow through with that plan.
I read 84, Charing Cross Road this past January and fell in love. Like The Grand Sophy, Daddy-Long-Legs, and To Kill a
...more
Lisa
This starts out as an interesting book about the author's love of reading and books, her start as a struggling writer in New York City, and how she came to write the great 84, Charing Cross Road. But it deteriorates in the second half into a diary of her second trip to England, and I wonder if she was just encouraged to write another book that fans of 84 and The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street would buy, even thought the book turns out to be quite a hodgepodge. Kind of sad, because she is a good an ...more
Trelawn
Jul 26, 2015 Trelawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thorougly enjoyed this. Helene continues her story, this time starting with her encounter with Arthur Quiller Couch "Q" lecture series. She read them to continue her education and through them developed a love for Leigh Hunt, Milton and lots more. She wanted to read and own these books which is how she came to write to Marks &Co of 84 Charing Cross Road. This installment follows her career through the 70s and 80s when her book becomes a tv series and then a West End play and finally a Broadw ...more
Kris
Jul 20, 2008 Kris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I was an autodidact until I read and fell in love with 84 Charing Cross Road. Helene's penchant for, to my mind, obscure literature, made me feel like I never left the third grade. This books reveals why she has such hunger for great lit. She had to drop out of college for financial reasons and she was desperate to continue learning. Helene stumbled across books of lectures by Q, a don in England, and doggedly studied the great works pointed out by Q. Read 84 Charing Cross Road first s ...more
Mandy
May 23, 2009 Mandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Why didn't Helene Haniff write more books?
Ginger
Completely charming. It will mean infinitely more if you've already read 84 Charing Cross Road, but it is even better than 84CCR.
Donna
Oct 12, 2009 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of "84"
Recommended to Donna by: citizen reader blog
Shelves: biography-memoir
Well, I'm glad I pursued this second sequel to "84 Charing Cross Road", but I think this one came up a bit short. Perhaps everyone just so much loved the "voice" of Helene that they kept asking her to write...and she had only one 'great' book in her. This story is again more of the "how I came to write '84'" stuff. There are, of course, a few really great quips and memories that make the book worth reading and, again, I'd love to be one of her friends seeing New York City through her eyes, but s ...more
Claudia
May 09, 2013 Claudia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved all of Hanff's other books but I found this one to be a rather muddled narrative about her second trip to London. I had hoped this book would focus more on the books she loved that were Q's Legacy to her.
Antof9
I loved the dedication to Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch - "Not to pay a debt but to acknowledge it." And I loved her connection to, and the parts about, "Q", as he was called by his students. But this is no "84", and once you get past the parts specifically about Q, it loses a bit of steam. It is, however, interesting to read about how "84" came about, how it was loved (or not), and how her royalties on the book compared to the cost of a stamp for the thank you note to a fan. But it doesn't even talk ...more
Jane Reye
Dec 22, 2014 Jane Reye rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
3.5 stars. A taste of Q's Legacy:

Q brought English literature into my life and my passion for London grew. Sam Pepys's London might be gone, but Leigh Hunt's was still there. I wanted to take the walks he took at night. I wanted to stand on Westminster Bridge and look at the view, because Wordsworth said Earth had not anything to show more fair. But it was all day-dreaming. Between my hand-to-mouth income and my fear of travel, I never really expected to see London. Staring at that ad, I though
...more
Ashley
Jun 05, 2008 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book lovers
As a fan of 84 Charing Cross Road and The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, this book could not and did not disappoint. It is a mini-auto-biography of Helene Hanff and her love affair with books. It was the search for books by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch ("Q") that lead her to other books that would eventually cause her to ask for the services of a small, antiquarian bookshop in London. The first part of the book seems like an overview of the aforementioned books plus earlier books like Underfoot in Sh ...more
Jan C
May 01, 2011 Jan C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, england, ny, 2011
I enjoyed this.

After getting this book, I subsequently obtained The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street so I was trading their places on my bookshelf, fully intending to put this book back in the closet for a while, awaiting its turn to come back to the "to be shelved" list. I made a fatal mistake - fatal to the plan - I opened the book and started reading. It never made it back to the closet.

I've enjoyed every Helene Hanff book that I have read so far (only three). I love her sense of humor.


What for
...more
Liz VanDerwerken
I absolutely adored 84 Charing Cross Road, but my one complaint was that I wished it was longer! Helene Hanff's writing is quick-witted, unapologetic, and brisk, and an absolute treat to read. I was obviously delighted to discover several other books authored by Hanff, among them Q's Legacy. This volume recounts her self-made literary education, the volatile nature of writing as a career, her friendships and social circles in the publishing world, and what first brought her to a decades-long cor ...more
Amy
Wonderful, wonderful book -- perfect for book lovers (particularly the anglophile bibliophile) and those who have come to adore Helene Hanff and the cast of characters at Marks and Co through her letters and books. I realize now I've never seen the film version BBC or otherwise, of 84, Charing Cross, and think I should remedy this at some point in the near future. Once again (as I am tempted to do with every reading of 84, Charing Cross) I want to make up a reading list and follow along. One of ...more
Heather
Oct 09, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the most unfocused of all Hanff's books, it's still a delight for fans. Q's Legacy covers Hanff's self-education as well as two trips to England (once to see the filming of a BBC production of her breakout book 84 Charing Cross Road, another to see the play adaptation opening on the West End). In her old age, Hanff can seem more than a little unreasonable on occasion, but her charming quirks are still very much in evidence. The Helene Hanff of 84 Charing Cross Road is a sass-mouthed New ...more
Denise
Dec 09, 2009 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book that goes into more detail about Helene's life than you could get from 84, Charing Cross Road. It still revolved around her love of books but I think I liked 84, Charing Cross Road a little better. I would recommend this book to any true bibliophile.
Margaret
A memoir in books from the author of 84, Charing Cross Road with the same enthusiasm as her letters to her booksellers. Hanff's tone is infectious.
Shelly
May 02, 2008 Shelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves to read
Another hit from Ms. Hanff. I just love reading her! It's like you're talking with an old friend, catching up on her life. She is witty and fun without the cynicism of today's proverbial chick-lit.
Julie
Apr 09, 2009 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Someone has said that this book is a love letter to life, learning, books and bibliophiles. I couldn't say it better. Read it after you've read the two 84 Charing Cross books though.
Carolyn (in SC) C234D
I have enjoyed this author's books so much. This is the story of how she came to write 84, Charing Cross Road, and the effects of its success on her life.
Linda Seltenright
quote - "A delightful Account of a Lifelong Love Affair with Books"... I couldn't say it better. Helene Hanff is a funny, charming, delighful author and I love spending the afternoon with her.
Cynthia Egbert
Dec 15, 2008 Cynthia Egbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book for those who need a nice illustration of what a mentor can be in a person's life. Q was a great mentor.
Diana
May 30, 2013 Diana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
Disappointing. Hanff spends so much energy recounting her previous (wonderful) book that she never quite gets around to what Q taught her.
Elevetha
3.5 stars.
Ingrid
Jul 07, 2014 Ingrid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful story.
Dawn
Nov 16, 2016 Dawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful follow-up for fans of Hanff's much celebrated 84 Charing Cross Road

Hanff, as she put it, led a fairly unglamorous life - aside from the odd trip to London, which seems to involve meeting pretty much everyone (famous & non famous), she doesn't get up to much. But this book isn't about what you do but how you do it. She makes friends wherever she goes & finds joy in the simple pleasures of the life.

Best of all she does it while being a bit on the grumpy side (my preferred appr
...more
David
Oct 04, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of course I would love the story of a quirky autodidact, how could I not? Having just read the sequel to "84, Charing Cross Road," I was glad this book put a bit more meat on the bones of the author's life story. It is also satisfying to know that this quirky person had her greatest successes writing about her quirky self. In this book, we learn a bit more about her background, and then about how she became a writer, the ups and downs, etc. One favorite episode: The author is having a difficult ...more
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Play Book Tag: Q's Legacy - Helene Hanff - 4 stars 2 8 Oct 31, 2016 08:07AM  
Around the Year i...: Q's Legacy, by Helene Hanff 4 16 Jan 24, 2016 07:40AM  
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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
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“Standing there, staring at the long shelves crammed with books, I felt myself relax and was suddenly at peace.” 90 likes
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