Completion Date: August 18, 2011
Reason for Reading: Fun!
It all began with a letter inquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London. As Helene's sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the stodgy and proper Frank Doel of 84, Charing Cross Road, a relationship blossoms into a warm and charming long-distance friendship lasting many years.
I love books about books, so when I started seeing reviews of this book around the blogosphere, I knew I was going to have to read it. Helene Hanff is frustrated by the books available in American bookstores, so when she sees an advertisement for Marks & Co. in a magazine she decides to try her luck overseas. She writes a letter to the bookstore telling of her wishes. This letter starts a friendship that will play out for years. The letters are almost always answered by Frank Doel, but while her letters are very informal and often humourous; he has a bit more restraint. This was a charming little book. It is told through letters both between Helene and Frank, but also with other employees of the store, Frank's wife, and other friends of Helene making occasional appearances. If you haven't read this book yet, I strongly recommend it.
The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff
Completion Date: August 17, 2011
Reason for Reading: Sequel to 84, Charing Cross Road.
A zesty memoir of the celebrated writer's travels to England where she meets the cherished friends from 84, Charing Cross Road.Over the years of correspondence in the first book, Helene often speaks of visiting England and meeting the people that have kept her in books for many years. There is always something that comes up that prevents her from doing so, though. Then, Frank dies and it seems she has left things much too late. She always promised to visit, though, so she has finally made her trip to England. At this point she has published her famous book and it is it that largely plays a roll in her finally getting the chance. The first book is told through letters, but this one is told through journal entries. She seems like such a fun person and she really comes to life through this book. It is a bittersweet journey, but she makes the best of it and visits all the places she has dreamed of for years. This book could also be seen as a travelogue.
Completion Date: August 21, 2011
Reason for Watching: The library actually had a copy.
True story of a transatlantic business correspondence about used books that developed into a close friendship.It was fun to see the events of the book played out in a movie format. Anne Bancroft plays Helene and Anthony Hopkins plays Frank. It was a charming movie that I watched last night. I think Anne and Anthony did a really good job bringing the two characters to life. I also was impressed by how well the movie followed the book. The characters actually read the letters aloud, so they continue to play a large role. I enjoyed the movie and think I am going to see about getting a copy of both the movie and the two books of my own.
Have you read the books before? What did you think? If you have seen the movie, do you think it was faithful to the book?