Jessica's Reviews > 84, Charing Cross Road

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
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Feb 18, 11

bookshelves: book-club
Read in February, 2011, read count: 3

Read this during a plane ride. One of the best little books I've come across. Skip the movie.

REREAD - 8/15/2008
84, Cross Cross Road, by Helene Hanff, is one of my favorite books of all time. Clocking in at less than 100 pages, it’s a short but delightful read. Seriously. Delightful.

Helene Hanff is a writer in New York. She writes to Marks & Co. in London in 1949, looking for rare and out-of-print books. Frank Doel responds on behalf of Marks & Co., and so begins a twenty-year correspondance and friendship. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll stop the summary there.

Here are a few of my favorite tidbits:

“But they are profoundly shcoked to see me drop a book in the wastebasket or give it away. The way they look at it, you buy a book, you read it, you put it on the shelf, you never open it again for the rest of your life but YOU DON’T THROW IT OUT! NOT IF IT HAS A HARD COVER ON IT! Why not? I personally can’t think of anything less sacrosanct than a bad book or even a mediocre book.

“WELL!!! All I have to say to YOU, Frank Doel, is we live in depraved, destructive and degenerate times when a bookshop - a BOOKSHOP - starts tearing up beautiful old books to use as wrapping paper. I sad to John Henry when he stepped out of it: “Would you believe a thing like that, Your Eminence?” and he said he wouldn’t. You tore that book up in the middle of a major battle and I don’t even know which war it was.”

This book showcases friendship and generosity and bibliophilia. What more could you want? Go out and read it!!
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