I didn't know such a thing existed.
Helene Hanff Appreciation Week: Letter from New York

Helene Hanff Appreciation Week: 84, Charing Cross Road

A while back I wrote about reading (and loving)Helene Hanff's classic collection of letters titled 84, Charing Cross Road. I also promised to go on a Hanff bender, which I have pretty much done.

I have enjoyed every single, solitary minute of it.

That's the good news. The bad news is I've got a busy week coming up, lots of work, lots of things I don't want to do, but I thought, what better time to get out of the way and let a real author (and a completely classy and interesting lady, if everything I've read about her is true) talk for a while? So tune in every day this week for a little taste of my new hero (although I can't decide if I'm in love with her or if I want to be her) Helene Hanff, starting with a tidbit from her book that started me off, in which she shares a 20-year correspondence with Frank Doel, a bookseller in Marks & Co. in London.

From the first letter:

"Gentlemen: Your ad in the Saturday Review of Literature says that you specialize in out-of-print books. The phrase 'antiquarian booksellers' scares me somewhat, as I equate 'antique' with expensive. I am a poor writer with an antiquarian taste in books and all the things I want are impossible to get over here except in very expensive rare editions, or in Barnes & Noble's grimy, marked-up schoolboy copies."

And from my favorite letter of hers:

"Frank Doel, what are you DOING over there, you are not doing ANY thing, you are just sitting AROUND.

Where is Leigh Hunt? Where is the Oxford Verse? Where is the Vulgate and dear goofy John Henry, I thouht they'd be such nice uplifiting reading for Lent and NOTHING do you send me.

you leave me sitting here writing long margin notes in library books that don't belong to me, some day they'll find out i did it and take my library card away."

Tune in tomorrow for another daily dose of Helene.