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

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  1,501 ratings  ·  236 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.

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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  1,501 ratings  ·  236 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
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
Cindy Rollins
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, reread
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.
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
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
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

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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
May 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Why didn't Helene Haniff write more books?
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
Sarah83 L
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: litsyclassics
Such a lovely story and such a lovely author. 😍
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
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Completely charming. It will mean infinitely more if you've already read 84 Charing Cross Road, but it is even better than 84CCR.
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
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
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The sequel to 84 Charing Cross Road gives more in depth detail and clarity to Helene Hanff's earlier life including in and around the time of the original book being published. It was interesting to read more of Helene's life than just the snippets contained in the now famous letters. I enjoy her no nonsense humour as she weaves not only her own personal anecdotes but also of the many who are drawn to cross her path. Warm, clever and funny, she is the type of person for whom friendship is a gift ...more
Michael Fitzgerald
Without the individual success of the first book, 84, Charing Cross Road, neither this nor The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street would ever have been subsequently written or published, but I kind of feel that they shouldn't be separate volumes. They deal so much with the same subject matter. ...more
Amanda Witt
A great view into Helene's world of how a Cambridge literature lecturer led her to her own literary career and inspired her. A follow on book from 84, Charing Cross Road where she wrote regularly to this London bookshop to order books.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
The story of how 84 Charing Cross Road came about.

I enjoyed the first half more than the second for reasons I can't put my finger on.
Amy Noe
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hard-copy
While I didn't love this quite as much as the first two in this companion set, I still really adored it. Helene Hanff is an absolute delight.
Jun 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I loved the parts about books and Q.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun book. Liked it enough to order 84, Charing Cross Road and Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: myp, 4fave, bio
This is another enjoyable memoir from Helene Hanff. She starts by telling us that:
"Q and I first met on a summer morning when I was eighteen, at the main branch of the Philadelphia Public Library where I'd gone in search of a teacher."

She can't afford college so decides to learn from books. But not just any books. She scours the library for books written by credible authors who could help develop her understanding of English literature. She starts at "A" and it isn't until she reaches Sir Arthur
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographical, memoir
Helene Hanff rounds out her collection of memoirs by telling us how it all began, with her interest in literature and the English professor who, through his writings, inspired much of her interest. It tells of some later travels to England, how she felt about her book being adapted to a play, and the difference in reactions from audiences in England and the U.S. It's a sweet continuation of her story interwoven with her usual array of colorful characters. As always, fun and sweet to read.
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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

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