Sunday, April 20, 2008

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

American writer Helene Hanff's love of unusual and out of print books led her to form a friendship with Frank Doel, a British bookseller. The result is this book of correspondence between the two of them that spans twenty years. This book is funny and heartwarming and is a must read for anyone who is obsessed with books. Here are a couple of my favorite passages:

My friends are peculiar about books. They read all the best sellers, they get through them as fast as possible, I think they skip a lot. And they NEVER read anything a second time so they don't remember a word of it a year later. But they are profoundly shocked to see me drop a book in the wastebasket or give it away. The way they look at it, you buy a book, you read it, and you put it on the shelf, you never open it again for the rest of your life but YOU DON'T THROW IT OUT! NOT IF IT HAS A HARD COVER ON IT! Why not? I personally can't think of anything less sacrosanct than a bad book or even a mediocre book. -- page 54

Have you got De Tocqueville's Journey to America? Somebody borrowed mine and never gave it back. Why is it that people who wouldn't dream of stealing anything else think it's perfectly all right to steal books? -- page 61


hopeinbrazil said...

Thanks for the good review and great quotes. I usually don't watch a movie before I've read a book, but I didn't know there was a book! The movie with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins is humorous (at points) and poignant.

Framed said...

This looks like just the kind of book I like. Thanks for your review.