Three years ago I was reading… 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff


This review is actually my response to The Nostalgia Book Tag which I came across on The Book and Stuff Blog and was created by CW at Read, Think, Ponder. Two great sites right there.

Of course what it meant I ended up doing was ignoring all the tags I’ve actually been tagged to do and diving in with this one instead. Because I’m awkward like that!

The concept of this tag is that you pick a book you read three or more years ago and review it from memory. This really appeals as I only started this blog so recently that the majority of the books I’ve read haven’t been reviewed on here. And I always kind of have this plan to flick through some of my favourites so I can review them but it never happens. But here’s a readymade excuse to do it without the bother of actually looking through them. Awesome.

Now just the small task of picking which book to review. And wow that was a tough decision. But in the end I managed to whittle it down 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.

This book is always at the forefront of my mind because, well, it’s brilliant. Perhaps one of my favourites of all time. It’s particularly relevant at the moment with my new project to read lots of New York based books and this one is half New York, half London.

The synopsis, however, makes it sound like the dullest thing ever. I actually tried to pitch it to one of my friends the other day as a great book to read but I’m not surprised she didn’t take me up on the offer when I described it like this:

So this woman in the 1950s living in New York wrote all these letters to a little book shop in London ordering rare books that she couldn’t get her hands on in America. And they’re real letters and it’s just really sweet and heart-warming.

Yeah, doesn’t exactly sound thrilling, does it?

But I still find myself gravitating to it when I need an easy read pick-me-up. There’s something so innocent about the book – to think that even though the world was still recovering from the aftermath of the Second World War there was this funny woman with a great sense of irony ordering books and showing such generosity to a group of people she’d never met. Nothing upsetting or tense or threatening, just real people living normal, uneventful lives.

If you’re still not fancying reading it then can you just take my word for it? It’s only a short read and it really is very funny. But you have to buy it second hand. You’ll see why when you read it.

Well that was fun. And effortless. I might make this a regular feature. Kind of like a Throwback Thursday for books (if I ever actually stuck tot hear features and, you know, it was actually Thursday).

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