Helene Hanff Appreciation Week: Queen of England
Fifty bucks well spent.

Helene Hanff Appreciation Week: Just Helene

Hanff Thanks so much for joining me for Helene Hanff* Appreciation Week. As I looked through her books for excerpts to share, I just grew in my love for her. You know how rarely that happens? Sadly, familiarity often does breed contempt in this world. But not where Helene is concerned. The more I learn about her, the more I love her. Consider this excerpt from her obituary in the New York Times:

"But ''84, Charing Cross Road'' could not provide its author with the economic stability she sought throughout her life. ''The one drawback about being a writer is that you never know in any month where the rent is coming from six months from then,'' Ms. Hanff told Publishers Weekly in 1985.

In her last years she was 'broke,' by her own account, living on royalties and Social Security and accepting a $5,000 grant from the Authors League Fund to help pay her hospital bills.

No immediate family members survive."

Now, as my sister points out, there is no justice in a world where Helene Hanff died broke. But I have to give Hanff credit for making it as a writer and reader, even if she didn't end up with anything. Frankly, just making her New York City rent for most of her adult life speaks to her tenacity.

I've enjoyed this week, but I'm holding a couple of pleasures in reserve: Hanff is also the author of books titled Apple of My Eyeand Q's Legacy. When I read them you'll be the first to know, but I want to leave them for a while and enjoy the delicious anticipation. In the meantime, have a great weekend.

*The picture is from Wikipedia, and as, by all accounts, Helene hated having her picture taken, I shouldn't have used it. But I couldn't help myself. I think it's a great picture.