84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Introduced by bookstagrammer Beth Bonini
I’m sending some snail mail out into the world today. Will any of us become long-term friends? Perhaps not; but still there is something wonderful about these tangible connections.
Have you ever had a pen pal? I’ve had just one proper pen friend: Robbie Thornhill, from Durban, South Africa. We met at age 15, when our families were both traveling on one of those ‘Five European Countries in Eight Days’ bus trips, and then corresponded for several years. I’ve no idea what happened to him, sadly.
For me, 84 Charing Cross Road is the ultimate book of epistolary friendship. If you can think of a better one, do please let me know. Anne Bancroft, who played Helene Hanff in the spot-on film, writes so aptly about the basis of friendship between Helene (freelance writer) and Frank (a bookseller). “We (the readers) recognise that the books desired, located, sent and received are the happy vehicles for much else: friendship, affection, generosity, wit — in other words, for all the best things life can share with us.” Sounds like a good description of #bookstagram, doesn’t it?
Marks & Co, the shop made famous by Helene Hanff’s book.
An aside from Anne Brichto of Addyman Books in Hay:
“One of my first exciting jobs in a bookshop was to source some of the books they used in the film. I found the Isaac Walton and a few others. I was working at 48 Charing Cross Road at the time so bookshop magic again!”
84 Charing Cross Road made me a writer
Jean Hanff Korelitz recalls her eccentric and influential cousin Helene Hanff, the author of ‘84 Charing Cross Road’. Read the article here.