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Q's Legacy: A Delightful Account of a Lifelong Love Affair with Books

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,660 ratings  ·  261 reviews
This 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
Paperback, 177 pages
Published August 5th 1986 by Penguin Books (first published 1985)
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Ingrid I'd say after... You may also want to read "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street" in between.…moreI'd say after... You may also want to read "The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street" in between.(less)

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 ·  1,660 ratings  ·  261 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 rated it really liked it
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.
Kevin
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is the perfect companion piece to 84, Charing Cross Road, as it picks up on what happen to Hanaff after the success of her book. It was also really funny in parts like on her exam for a scholarship she had labeled the Pacific Ocean as Africa and then after her eye surgery


There was, for instance, the beautiful brown-and-white collie who came toward me one day in the park and who, as I stooped to pet him, turned into a brown suitcase in a man's white-cuffed hand. And there was the lovely
...more
Jane Reye
Dec 22, 2014 rated it liked it
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 thou
...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Helene Hanff---she of 84, Charing Cross Road fame---recounts her life pre-84, Charing Cross Road, sharing stories of her other writing endeavors (mostly disappointing) with plays and children's history and magazine articles, as well as post-84, Charing Cross Road, with her visits to London and books about those visits. ...more
Wallace
Aug 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Anna
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: Bridget
I love Helene Hanff’s books. Despite being the most famous, 84, Charing Cross Road isn’t my favourite (although I enjoyed it). I adored Underfoot in Show Business and this one, both of which are humorous memoirs based on anecdote rather than letters. Hanff is a wonderfully entertaining and sympathetic writer, as well as (unusually) someone I can really relate to. Like her, I aspire to live alone in a small but pretty flat with plenty of time to read in peace. If Underfoot in Show Business dwells ...more
Chris
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!!

For anyone who loved "84 Charing Cross Road," this is how the book, and the subsequent theater productions, came to be. I loved spending a couple of days in my two favorite cities: New York and London, with one of my favorite writers, Helene Hanff.
...more
Amy
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Judy
Now I want to read 84, Charing Cross Road.

The first half of the book was more engaging than the second half. When Hanff started to mention all of those people, I had a hard time keeping them straight. Finally, I decided I didn't need to know all the names (fans, old friends, publishing house employees, people in the acting world ...)

p. 43 I thought this little incident revealed a lot about her character. A fan wanted to give a small dinner party for her. Hanff's thought:
How do you write back and
...more
Trelawn
Jul 26, 2015 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 Broadway p ...more
Heather Moore
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
It has been an absolute pleasure to read more Helene Hanff this year. She feels like an old pal. She’s witty and quirky and so interesting, and takes things as they come in such an open-handed way. Her books are a breath of fresh air. If you’re looking to read her works, I recommend first reading 84, Charing Cross Rd, then Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, and finishing with Q’s Legacy.
Hannah Edinburgh
Jun 21, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, cozy, britain
This seemed less like what’s billed on the cover and more like a mishmash of memoir-related items that wouldn’t fit into other books. There wasn’t enough coherence throughout to pull me through it. A little bit of a slog.
Kevin
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great compaion piece to 84, Charing Cross Road. The pick's up with Hannff's life after the book and chronicles her trip to London. I love her writing style, funny fast paced.

This is a bit from the section after her eye surgery.
There was, for instance, the beautiful brown-and-white collie who came toward me one day in the park and who, as I stooped to pet him, turned into a brown suitcase in a man's white-cuffed hand. And there was the lovely Saturday afternoon when I was sailing insou
...more
Donna
Oct 12, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Lisa
Jan 30, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Claudia
May 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Mandy
May 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Why didn't Helene Haniff write more books? ...more
Sarah Coller
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've read this right on the heels of 84, Charing Cross Road and am absolutely delighted with the both of them! What a sweet, endearing memoir full of hilarious anecdotes and witty life observances. I'd never heard of this author or her books before receiving these two this fall but I know I'll be recommending her now. I think the thing I love about Hanff the most is her desire to educate herself. She didn't need college professors to spoon feed her. She read to learn and to learn what to read. I ...more
Donna
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I ordered this book because I had recently re-read "84 Charing Cross Road". On the cover the story is described as "A Delightful Account of a Lifelong Love Affair with Books". Well I don't know if that's how I'd describe but I did enjoy it very much.

How Ms. Hanff came to put together her letters to and from Frank Doel at Marks & Co. bookshop is very interesting. She was told that there wasn't enough correspondence to make up a book but eventually someone believed that there was and so it began.
...more
Ellie Kakoulli
Apr 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
Well Miss. Hanff, you’ve done it again!

Yet another brilliantly charming, conversationally written memoir.

Helene’ s voice is instantly recognisable and an absolute joy to read (even though, this is technically only my second foray into her work, after 84 CCR!) it’s like returning to an old friend and I cannot wait to read more of her delightful, witty ways!

4 highly rated stars, for one underrated legend!

P.S - This is my 91st (yup, 91st) book of the year -quite frankly I am shookath to my very c
...more
Linda
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Linda by: Chris's update
This was like hooking up with a long lost friend. I've long loved 84, Charing Cross Road and meant to read other of Hanff's books, but...
A lot of this book concerns the revolution of her book into a play -in both in London and NYC. She talks about what started her out with her love of books. This hit home with me. Another section related her trials after having cataract surgery. I've had that and sailed right through and expected the same for Hanff. Surprise!
I've meant to look up her NYC residen
...more
Sarah83 sbookshelf
Such a lovely story and such a lovely author. 😍
Becca Harris
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book more than I expected I would! I loved 84 and Duchess but this gave more of the backstory. I had a really dear moment when I recognized a couple of lines in poetry here that I had just learned recently. I am sure I will reread this soon!
Hannah
Jul 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Liked it, but didn’t love this one like it’s predecessors. I did shed a few tears at the end, though.
Gina Johnson
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Another winner!!! I enjoyed this book so much! Helene Hanff speaks to a book lovers heart in a language only they can understand. She’s snarky and heartwarming and funny and honest and I’ve loved 84, Charing across Road, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, and now, Q’s Legacy. These will definitely be reread...probably over and over again.
Kris
Jul 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Tina
Apr 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My edition of this book doesn't have the subtitle that others have, "A Delightful Account of a Lifelong Love Affair with Books," but that's precisely what this book is. This volume is a natural successor to 84 Charing Cross Road and The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, although more straightforward in style than those two (which were epistolary and diary entries). This volume is Hanff's series of essays about the effect that Q, or Arthur Quiller-Couch, had on her life.

I was curious about Q, since H
...more
Tara
There is just something about Helene Hanff's writing that feels like I am reconnecting with an old friend. This book is a bit of a mish mash, taking us through Helene's early exposure to English literature (thus leading her to purposefully acquire books from England rather than from one of the many NYC bookstore options), her own literary successes and failures, and the struggle to pay her rent for decades. Similar to The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street (one of my favorites of her books), we travel ...more
Karen
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
For the 24 hours I have been living in Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road. Yesterday, I read 84, then watched the movie from 1987 on youtube, starring Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench. Then, still not getting enough, I read this book. What I loved most about this autobiography is how Hanff, unable to afford college, except a year on scholarship, taught herself. She went to the Public Library of Philadelphia (I assume the main branch of the library on Logan Circle), and found the book: Th ...more
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Play Book Tag: Q's Legacy - Helene Hanff - 4 stars 2 12 Oct 31, 2016 08:07AM  

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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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