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The following Easter she sent another package with real eggs in, up until now most people had had to put up with powdered eggs so this was a complete luxury.

Slowly the formality was dropped, and Franke would address her as Helene; other members of staff would write to her, and even his wife, Nora. She compiled these letters into a book, had them published and they became an overnight success, bring her out of the shadows of the publishing world to literary success.

Publication of the book in the UK meant that she was invited over and finally got to spend time in London and other parts of the UK and met with Nora and her daughters. I really enjoyed this book; Hanff is such a character and her boundless enthusiasm for all things literary comes across in her letters to Frank. Even though she is a hard up writer, she is generous to all the staff at the bookshop, building friendships across the Atlantic.

Doel manages to lose his English reserve too as they write back and forth. One for anyone with a love of books and bookshops. View all 12 comments. Letters going between Helen Hanft and mostly Frank Doel is what this novel is about, but to say it like that does not explain what is so wonderful about these correspondences. Helen is writing from America to a bookstore in London where Frank Doel works.

This correspondence begins with her requesting to find nice books at a rate she can afford. The two begin to exchange letters that continue for years, until the untimely death of Frank. Other members of the staff and Frank's wife also correspond Letters going between Helen Hanft and mostly Frank Doel is what this novel is about, but to say it like that does not explain what is so wonderful about these correspondences. Other members of the staff and Frank's wife also correspond with Helen. To be honest it is hard to describe in words why this book is so great. It is in no way a romance, but there are true respect and connection between these characters.

It is a book that is based on a true story. I think what makes me like it so much is that in a world that believes it can't survive without an internet connection, two people spend years writing letters. View 1 comment. In , I had the opportunity to watch the darling, witty film adaptation, and a reread has been on the cards ever since. During September, I decided to pick it up once more. The beautifully presented Sphere edition which I own contains both of the aforementioned, and from the very beginning, the entirety was so very comforting.

My initial feeling on dipping back into its pages was one of sheer delight, I first read 84 Charing Cross Road and its sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury , some years ago. My initial feeling on dipping back into its pages was one of sheer delight, which soon mutated into something akin to the lovely, comfortable wearing of my favourite oversized Thrice hoodie, circa Like a warm hug.

Like a remnant of times gone by. One cannot fail to be charmed by these volumes. They are lovely, if brief. Such friendships struck up here are lovely to get a glimpse into, particularly as they progress from one year to the next. The letters span a twenty year period, which is incredible in itself if one thinks about it. The Duchess of Bloomsbury is written in diary format, and closely follows the daily write-up of what Hanff did whilst in London on a book tour to celebrate the success and British publication of 84 Charing Cross Road.

Culturally, the sequel is fascinating. London is a city I know very well indeed, and it was amazing to me to read about the ways in which it has changed in just a few decades. Of course, some of it is absolutely the same, and the majority is easily recognisable, but the atmosphere has completely changed by the sound of Hanff's recollections. People were polite then. They held doors open and everything. Hanff, and the way in which she recounts every little detail, is charming and amusing. The Duchess of Bloomsbury is a lovely piece of travel literature, and a wonderful sequel.

It must be said and probably goes without saying, if you are at all familiar with her character that I adore how sassy Hanff is, and how wonderfully creative her responses are. She has a British sense of humour, when it boils down to it; she often speaks of fellow Americans who have no idea what she is speaking about. The importance of small kindnesses is demonstrated throughout, and both books are absolutely lovely.

I know it's kind of pathetic that I continue to re-read books, but I was at a low point several weeks ago and needed something to help cheer me up. The former is the correspondence between Helene Hanff a lover of used books an I know it's kind of pathetic that I continue to re-read books, but I was at a low point several weeks ago and needed something to help cheer me up.

The latter recounts Hanff's visit to England she finally makes it!


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It's written in journal form. It's Hanff's sense of humor--which I somehow can really relate to--that makes the book so delightful. But there's also something beautiful in how letter correspondence you know, the kind that requires a stamp, not an internet connection binds people together in a very personal way. The stuff that seals friendships, even though people are separated by an ocean and never officially meet--or see each other for the first time only decades later.

Made me think that it's such a shame that people don't write letters more often and prompted me to pen one myself after I finished my reading! Wouldn't I like to get my hands on that! View all 7 comments. I first read 84, Charing Cross Road back in the 70s. It is timeless.

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I came across this paperback and couldn't resist reading again. Letters, books and quips crossed the ocean from until and a friendship flourished as I first read 84, Charing Cross Road back in the 70s. This is a book for all book lovers - an unmitigated delight. View all 3 comments. Jun 19, Lindi rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: book lovers everywhere. Shelves: numerous-rereadings , about-writing , non-fiction , grown-up-books , favorite.

This is one of my favorite books of all time. Helene Hanff is so very funny, and I am always moved by the friendship that develops through letters between her and a used book seller. I also love her obvious affection for books and reading; she is definitely a kindred spirit. For those not in the know, as I sat on the floor finishing the last few letters, I became the center This is one of my favorite books of all time. For those not in the know, as I sat on the floor finishing the last few letters, I became the center pole of a blanket tent being assembled by my three preschool children.

I reread 84, Charing Cross Road regularly, and did it again last night.

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Jun 08, Joshie rated it really liked it Shelves: own , literature-american , 4-star , biographies-and-memoirs , women-writers , non-fiction. This is not your ordinary love story but it is the kind of romance every bibliophile dreams. Not only does the book-loving feels very validating but to read about someone who cares enough about second hand, leather bound, and first edition books where descriptions and disappointments, whilst surrounded with everyday life, are laced in humour a This is not your ordinary love story but it is the kind of romance every bibliophile dreams.

Not only does the book-loving feels very validating but to read about someone who cares enough about second hand, leather bound, and first edition books where descriptions and disappointments, whilst surrounded with everyday life, are laced in humour and wit is magnificently sweeping and sweet.

But this is not only for the love of books but also for the love of second hand bookshops and its people. Both 84 Charing Cross Road and its sequel The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street pelt with bittersweet conclusions; and they're immensely touching for that. To have bought this in a second hand bookshop with the bookseller saying that I would definitely love this and I should watch the film after is rather telling. I will never forget the old man's kind eyes as he handed me my change. I think, sometimes, that home is a feeling: the similar feeling I have when I open the door to my room or I get inside a bookshop and the scent of books greet me, or when I slump down the floor surrounded by them during spring cleaning but I feel it most vividly when I hold them in my hands and they take me to some place else to comfort and distance me from the sometimes ugly reality.

And to share these with someone who shares the same inclination is unforgettable. View all 5 comments. I owe it so much. I shall buy a new copy of 84 Charing Cross Road and I shall leave it there for someone to find, a reminder of just how much Helene Hanff, even at a distance , loved the place. You see, I feel like I too owe it quite a lot.

Honestly, I can no longer imagine a world without the existence of this little peculiar and hopeful family. People brought together by books. Real people brought together by real books.

The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street

It happened. For me, it was an infusion of hope and wonder, wrapped in a collection of letters that speak of gratitude, that speak of dreams, laughs, and that sheds some tears. These voices, these people, they become alive in your head from the moment you first meet them, from the moment you first read their words. They are a delightful bunch, let me tell you. Their company is entertaining beyond reason, and you soon find yourself involved as if you were always part of the whole scheme.

As Mr. I have met someone through its pages that would have otherwise probably remained a stranger for eternity. This person from what feels like a world away wrote to me because her edition was lacking a page — we have been talking ever since. View all 4 comments. These two sections — this book — had it all from my perspective: humour, sensitivity, books, London, human connections. I alternately found myself smiling and laughing, and simply drank in all of it.

June – The Reading Mother

The book is certainly not new; it was published in , and the author passed away in I suspect, however, that it will continue to be in print for many years to come. If you suffer just the least bit from anglomania and consider yourself to have a pretty good sense of humour and a sensitive heart, you must read this book. Reading this is like sitting in a cafe with a good friend from way back, eating Pavlova cake and letting the afternoon slide by, with cognac and coffee. Absolutely charming, witty, elegant and funny little book. Quite a bit nostalgic as well.

Loved everything about it! It's always a curious indulgence to read other people's letters, more so if those people had come to know of each other through books and had grown to be friends due to a mutual taste in a particular brand of literature, even more so if the content of their letters isn't limited to trivia from their mutual lives, and even more so if the correspondence spans decades but isn't really obsessive-compulsive. A breezy read. Bought it this afternoon on a whim. Twenty pages in, and I'm in love already. This edition contains two books that were separately published.

It contains some letters. And the letters were not written by some literary giants. In fact, the letters were exchanged between a 'script writer' for TV programs in New York and a person employed in a bookshop in London. The correspondence was mostly about the placement of orders for books. And the period was between This edition contains two books that were separately published. And the period was between - The premise of the book looks so plain. But the letters are a delight for any lover of books. The letters are relatively small. And in that limited space, many interesting definitions find space and some of the criticisms on some of the authors appear just like that.

Besides, there are also interesting passages narrating the joy of buying the first edition books, the joy of buying a good second hand copy, the joy and reason of buying books, etc.. Some Excerpts: 1. On Fiction: " On Non-Fiction: "that's for me, I'm a great fan of i-was-there books. On buying books: "It's against my principles to buy a book I haven't read, it's like buying a dress you haven't tried on.

Yes, the simple correspondence of inquiring about a book and the subsequent ordering of it gradually turns a bit personal. The whole book shop knows about it and the family of the Londoner knows of it. The rapport begins between persons living across the Atlantic. The Christmas gifts and Easter gifts are exchanged.

The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street Summary & Study Guide

And when everything goes well a letter arrives at New York announcing the death of the Londoner. And while reading that letter one becomes very emotional A classic, fun series we collect! Sweet illustrations, too. Sign up to receive my nourishing blog posts in your mailbox! E-Mail Address. Comments We read wonderful winter this winter! You must correct that problem, Jeannette! Thank you for the adult titles, too! I love all these. Take it from me, you may feel pressurised, you may feel like you have to do these things.

Neither Father Time nor your real father will pay your council tax. And it came back to bite us on the bottom in the shape of a 5 am wake-up call from the bailiffs. I was constantly dieting, I was constantly trying to make myself better, and I kind of think that I wasted these years.