A window into a long-distance friendship Jan 10, 2014
I came upon the work of Helene Hanff via the film, 84 Charing Cross Road, which I found to be a delight. I purchased the book to see what the actual basis of the film had been. It's a brief book of letters between a book buyer and a book seller, one in New York and one in London, over a period of three decades after World War II. The insights I gained about how that experience differed for people in the U.S. and people in the U.K. were numerous.
The realization of highest import to me was the fact that I rarely ever hear anyone discussing books they have read, or want to read, in-depth any longer in my own community. Even among my friends, a literate and articulate bunch, the discussion of the written word has disappeared. Everyone is so focused on multimedia entertainment that they have forgotten the slower-paced pleasures of books and the subsequent sharing of those books with others in conversation.
The appreciation for the qualities of thought and content in books glitters throughout this brief volume. For anyone who loves books, Hanff's compilation of letters is itself a love letter to the world of letters and literature.