84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
A slim volume (a break from some of the lengthy books also included in this series) of a selection of the correspondence between a New York writer, and the staff of a London bookseller. Their mutual love for books shines through the brief letters, and you can see how the friendship grows throughout the twenty-years they exchanged letters.
The book is charming and heartwarming (and a little bit heartbreaking too), and Hanff’s wit and exuberance sparkles.
There is a book based on the movie as well, starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins, although I’ve never seen it and am slightly afraid to; I don’t want to risk it tarnishing my joy and delight in the book if it doesn’t live up to my dreams.
It all began with a letter inquiring about secondhand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London. As Helene’s sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the staid and proper Frank Doel of Marks & Company, a relationship blossoms.
If you enjoyed this book (and if you didn’t, please don’t tell me; I’m not sure I could bear hearing it), you’re in for another treat. I actually had a hard time deciding which one of Hanff’s to feature in the series, so don’t miss Apple of My Eye. which is basically a love letter to her home of Manhattan.
To see all the books featured in 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads, go to the series page.
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