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84, Charing Cross Road

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  55,429 ratings  ·  7,952 reviews
This charming classic love story, first published in 1970, brings together twenty years of correspondence between Helene Hanff, at the time, a freelance writer living in New York City, and a used-book dealer in London at 84, Charing Cross Road. Through the years, though never meeting and separated both geographically and culturally, they share a winsome, sentimental friend ...more
Paperback, 97 pages
Published September 1974 by Avon Books (first published January 1st 1970)
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Sandy Millin In old books, several pages were printed on a single sheet of paper and the reader would have to cut (separate) the pages themselves. You can read mor…moreIn old books, several pages were printed on a single sheet of paper and the reader would have to cut (separate) the pages themselves. You can read more in number 5 here: http://wwword.com/1585/words/jargon/r... A page cutter is a special tool for this, but I think a paper knife was used a lot from what I've just read. I can't seem to find a picture of a page cutter.(less)
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Nonfiction. It's a collection of real letters written by real people. On paper. Sent through the mail, in envelopes.…moreNonfiction. It's a collection of real letters written by real people. On paper. Sent through the mail, in envelopes.(less)

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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  55,429 ratings  ·  7,952 reviews


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_ngallagher
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My heart hurts
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
"If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me? I owe it so much."

This was my second reading of the book, and I'm adding a star to my original rating. I laughed a lot harder this time, and even got a little choked up near the end. I don't recall this much chortling, cackling, guffawing and snorting on my first time through. The contrast between Helene Hanff's brash American informality and Frank Doel's staid British professionalism is delightful. There's a certain charm in his p
...more
Brina
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novella, letters
As a child, I loved writing to pen pals. Anywhere I went that offered a chance to sign up to be a pen pal, I did with earnest. None of the pen pals ended up amounting to much, but it was thrilling to receive letters from them in the mail. I come from a line of pen pal writers as my mother wrote to an English girl her age for her entire childhood and teenaged years. It is not surprising then, that I one of the first books I reviewed on goodreads was Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey fro ...more
Luffy
The epistolary meanderings of Helene Hanff and Frank Dole are insightful, playful in their coyness, and progressive in their development. This is an actual correspondence gone awfully right.

There is a starkness of honesty in this correspondence. Yet the prose in the letters aren't quite as dry as might be feared. Like I said, the back and forth is progressive. There is definitely life in these letters.

This real occurrence happens after the second world war(the last three words of which is a fav
...more
Glenn Sumi
After hearing about this book for years, I finally stumbled upon a $2 ex-libris copy earlier this week at a used book sale. And without pausing I bought it. How appropriate!

It consists of the correspondence, from the late 1940s until the late 1960s, between New York writer and bibliophile Helene Hanff and Frank Doel, an employee at Marks & Co. Booksellers at the eponymous address in London.

Hanff was a voracious, eclectic reader who couldn’t find good American editions of the books she wanted t
...more
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
First read in November 2019. Reread on New Year's Day 2021 and loved it even more than the first time I read it! 😭❤ ...more
Angela M
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Letters, literature, friendships, kindness and humor fill the pages of this small volume. It's a gift from Helene Hanff to anyone who loves books. Not much more I can say except that all book lovers should read it .

Long distance friendships and books - a lot like Goodreads .
...more
Esil
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
An easy 5 stars!

I listened to this lovely short audiobook. It's completely charming. The voices are perfect. And in an odd way it reminded me of what I love about Goodreads. Strangers connecting over their mutual love of books. Slowly the book focused repartee morphs into a real sense of affinity and frienship.

A bit of warmth to ease the dark cold days of November. A nice relief from the miserable state of world politics.

I'm late to this party, but I highly recommend it -- especially the audio.
...more
Annet
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful, sincere and humorous correspondence between a writer in New York (Helen) looking for unique books all the time and having them shipped over from Europe and a bookstore manager in London over the years.... Fun, nostalgic read with a smile.
Diane S ☔
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved every single page of this wonderful little novel, told in letters. The lost art of letter writing, but amazing how much we can tell of the relationship between the author in New York and a bookstore in London. Requesting books to be sent to her she makes the acquaintance of Frank Dole, his wife, his neighbor and other employees of the bookstore. Starts out as a purely business relationship we can tell letter by letter as they become more friendly, discussing their families, friends, jobs a ...more
Jean-Luke
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
March 16, 2020,

Dear HH,

America (and possibly the world) has gone mad. Rationing is a word that would get you a black eye if you mentioned it while waiting in today's mile-long line at the supermarket. You would think Armageddon is upon us from the carts and carts of groceries people are pushing to their cars, leaving the rest to scrape the broken eggs from the floor in aisle Nine, where that fight between two shoppers just took place. (The carnage would surely have been much greater if toilet p
...more
Trevor
Aug 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I love this book and love the film they made of it too. It is sloppy and sweet and warm and, you know, just right. It is the sort of book one could read in an hour or two over a pot of tea on a cold winter's afternoon and just enjoy. Pure delight.

If you needed to be reminded that love of literature is as good a foundation of love of the world as any other 'religion', that the people we write to can be closer and dearer to us than those we see day after day - then this really is a book written to
...more
Paul
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: letters
This book is a complete delight. It is not a love story or a romance, but a series of letters between two book lovers from the late 1940s to the late 1960s. Helene Hanff is a lively and outspoken New Yorker who is unable to get hold of decently bound books, especially older and slightly more obscure ones. She answers an ad and contacts Marks and Co at 84 Charing Cross Road. There Frank Doel, a very proper English bookseller responds and starts to find and send her books from the lists she sends. ...more
Britany
I've known about his little gem for so many years, waiting for a special moment to finally dive in. I just love books filled with mementos and letters. I grew up sorting cards and old mail at my grandmother's house to the PostMan Books and now a grown up letter book. Helene Hanff is an American writer desperate to fill her reading dreams with editions of books she has trouble finding in the US. She starts a correspondence with an English bookstore.

I ate up this book like a cat with a bowl of cr
...more
Dem
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An endearing little book and quick and easy read. I enjoyed it but not one for my favourite shelf.

I have wanted to read this book for years as it has such amazing review and I just never came across a hard copy but found an audible version and went with that. Not sure audible is the best format for a book where the content is a series of letters back and forth as they performance seemed quite repetitive. However I do love the “ old snail mail” format and have just one Aunt who still correspon
...more
PattyMacDotComma
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
5★
If you love books and letters, this is the book for you! People have been interacting kind of anonymously for a long time, without dating apps or the internet. I used to handwrite letters back and forth to friends I seldom saw – now it’s emails and posts, but same banter, bluster, shared triumphs and tears.

This is the most charming, funny, and touching book about a 20-year, long-distance correspondence which starts out as a relatively simple book order. Helene Hanff, a New York writer herself
...more
ij
This memoir was a great read. It consisted of letters primarily between Helene Hanff, the author, and Frank Doel, an employee of Marks and Company, Booksellers. The title of the book 84, Charing Cross Road was the address to the bookshop, in London. The letters started on October 5, 1949 and continued back and forth for almost twenty (20) years.

In the first letter, Ms. Hanff describes herself as a “poor writer with an antiquarian taste in books.” These books she thought to be too costly in New
...more
Melisa
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely. Charming. A book lover’s book.
Piyangie
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is an epistolary book that contains the correspondence between Helen Hanff, an American scriptwriter, and Marks & Co., a London second-hand book store at 84, Charing Cross Road. The chief correspondent on behalf of Mark and Co. is Frank Doyle and this correspondence continues faithfully for nearly two decades until the death of Frank.

The letters are charming and very interesting to read. They provide an insight into the friendship between Helen and Frank. It begins with a shared interest i
...more
Caroline
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have just re-read this book for about the fifth time. I think it ought to be compulsory reading every three or so years, or it should be imbibed medicinally if one is feeling generally under the weather.

As everyone knows - it's the correspondence between the warm and bouncy American scriptwriter Helen Hanff, and the stuffy head buyer of an antiquarian bookshop in London called Frank Doel. Their correspondence spans from 1949 to 1969. Slowly, slowly, Hanff's warm letters melt Doel's English res
...more
Kalliope



Dear Mila,

When you gave me the large and heavy cubic box as my Christmas gift, with the red ribbon on top, I could not believe my eyes. What on earth had crossed your mind to offer me such a striking gift? And my wonder expanded as I opened it and realized the reason for the size. It was fool of a variety of goodies.

There was on top another parcel, a light one this time, of a round shape. When I unwrapped it, I had in my hands a Klein blue hat, in the shape of a 1920s bell. The colour of my coat
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Book 1 of 2019! I can't believe I'd never read this before. I was inspired by @hardcoverheartsblog (in Instagram) to readalong on January 1, but had to download the audio to play along.

I knew this was an epistolary account between a reader and someone at a bookstore, but I had a lot of misconceptions:
1. This is a romance
2. The letters are between two people
3. Everyone lives in the UK
4. This is a novel (no!)

It's a short, enjoyable read about books and readers, so in that vein it is somewhat of a
...more
Vanessa
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An all too brief but enjoyable and witty collection of letters of correspondence between Helene Hanff from N.Y City and the various staff at Marks & Co. bookshop trading in antiquarian books in London. Lovely, endearing relationships form and you come to love the developing friendships that occur over the 20 year timespan. It's a shame that we have lost the art of letter writing, such a wonderful idea for a book and it's no wonder this became so popular when it was first published. A charming li ...more
Lynne King
As soon as I came across this book on Goodreads and read the blurb, I could see that all the literary ingredients I look for in a book were there in this series of letters between two individuals. Consequently I had to purchase it.

Firstly, it was the personality of Helene Hanff, a Jewish writer in New York. I’ll just never tire of Jewish humor as it’s such a never-ending pleasure for me. Some of the “treasures” that pour from people’s mouths. As for New Yorkers, well words fail me in that regar
...more
Sara
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why is it that people who wouldn’t dream of stealing anything else think it's perfectly alright to steal books?

Now there is a question I would like to have answered. It comes from the correspondence of Helene Hanff, and it speaks to her love of books and her cheeky relationship with the man in receipt of her letters.

The lovely correspondence of Helene Hanff, a New York bibliophile, and Frank Doel, a British bookseller, with occasional letters from others thrown in to round out the story, takes p
...more
Elyse  Walters
May 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book in the mail (a surprise gift) -- so I read it 'on the spot'.

The book is only about 100 pages long --but a charming read (one I'm glad I read).

This is an older book (first published in 1970)....The year I graduated High School.

The author Helene Hanff, a freelance writer was living in New York City. She spent twenty years corresponding to a used book dealer in London. (they did not do this over the internet). ***SLOW MAIL***!
Though never meeting in person, they shared a comm
...more
Laysee
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
84 Charing Cross Road chronicles a beautiful twenty-year relationship between an American reader of antiquarian books and Marks & Co. Booksellers, London. The latter ‘is the loveliest old shop straight out of Dickens’. It has very old grey oak shelves that smell of age and dust going up to the ceiling. This epistolary book contains the correspondence from 1949 to 1969 between Ms. Helene Hanff, a penurious writer who loves antiquarian books, and Frank Doel, the knowledgeable and efficient booksto ...more
Victoria
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful, charming and wistfully old fashioned. This chronicles the 20-year correspondence between the author and a British bookseller whom she relied on for obscure titles, a correspondence that blossomed into a warm and caring friendship. I saw the film version many years ago and always meant to read this very short epistolary and it did not disappoint.

Noteworthy little tidbit about this author and the impact of this book. The apartment where she lived in NYC has been named Charing Cross Hou
...more
Paul Secor
Recommended to anyone who truly loves books and reading or to anyone who still writes letters or enjoys reading other folks' letters. These letters are good ones and may even inspire you to write a few of your own.

Reread in June, 2020.

I pulled this off the shelf yesterday and read it (for probably the fourth time since I bought it 40 years ago) yesterday afternoon.

A bit of trivia at the outset: I had always assumed that Helene Hanff's first name was pronounced Heh-Lean. A few years ago, I saw a
...more
Srinivas
Apr 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Every one

who likes to read books,
who likes to write about books,
who likes to talks about books,
who likes to buy 2nd hand books,
who likes the lavish smell of books,
who likes to sniff the pages before they buy books.






MUST read this book.
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Patrick Hamil...: Helene Hanff 12 9 Mar 03, 2021 12:09PM  
Catching up on Cl...: 84 Charing Cross Road - November 2020 57 84 Nov 29, 2020 05:38AM  
Old Books, New Re...: July 2020 Epistolary BOTM - 84, Charing Cross Road 17 41 Jul 27, 2020 09:19AM  
Play Book Tag: 84, Charing Cross Road - Helene Hanff - 5 stars 4 22 Sep 17, 2019 06:51PM  
Bookworm Bitches : May 2018: 84, Charing Cross Road 7 43 Jan 28, 2019 07:27AM  
PenPal Readers: 84 Charing Cross Road - First goal 50% 5 10 Nov 06, 2018 01:31PM  
Quick Read Books 3 28 Oct 11, 2018 04:22AM  

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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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Did you set an extremely ambitious Reading Challenge goal back in January? And has this, uh, unprecedented year gotten completely in the way of...
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“I do love secondhand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest. The day Hazlitt came he opened to "I hate to read new books," and I hollered "Comrade!" to whoever owned it before me.” 227 likes
“I love inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins, I like the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned, and reading passages someone long gone has called my attention to.” 177 likes
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