#191 84, Charing Cross Road

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This charming classic, first published in 1970, brings together twenty years of correspondence between Helene Hanff, a freelance writer living in New York city and a used-book dealer in London. Through the years, though never meeting and separated both geographically and culturally, they shared a winsome, sentimental friendship based on their common love for books. Their relationship, captured so acutely in these letters, is one that will grab your heart and not let go.

Ada beberapa hal menarik tentang buku ini.  Pertama, saya mendapatkannya buku ini via betterworldbooks.com (di mana pemesanan online buku ini adalah first buy experience in bwb). Saya dibuat agak terkaget namun senang dengan email notifikasi pengiriman buku ini yang unusual, seperti ini:

the unusual mail

Exceptional!

Kedua, this book smells good (old book paper smell).

Ketiga, saya baru selesai membacanya setelah percobaan kedua karena sebenarnya di awal saya sudah membacanya, sekitar bulan Februari lalu. Karena kesibukan, akhirnya saya meninggalkan buku ini dan baru semalam saya membaca dan menghabiskannya.

Next to the review,

Buku ini adalah memoir, yang sepertinya ditulis Helene Hanff untuk mengekalkan pertemanannya dengan Frankie Doel yang telah sangat berjasa dalam usaha Helene memelihara bibliophilenya. Buku ini adalah epistolary, di dalamnya adalah kumpulan surat koresponden antara Helene dan Frankie (dan beberapa karakter lain di sekitar toko buku Marks & Co).

Settingnya di akhir tahun 1940an hingga akhir 1960an. Pertemanan exceptional (saya menggunakan kata ini lagi) yang terjalin tanpa pertemuan tapi kuat berkat kecintaan terhadap buku!

So we were going over this anecdote and Gene (my editor) said, “Who is Landor?” and I plunged into and enthusiastic explanation -and Gene shook her head and cut impatiently:

“You and your Olde English books!”

You see how it is, Frankie, you’re the only soul alive who understands me.

Karakter Helene di sini, witty and bold. She knew what she wants and have a good sense of humor. She dislike fiction and savor old prints, prefer poems outside Keats and Shelley. She said herself that she has peculiar taste in books. Meanwhile, Frankie is in calmer side. Really kind and knowlegeable. Someone who you really can lean on when you looking for certain books.

Saat surat demi surat akhirnya membuat mereka dekat, bahkan hingga orang di sekitar Frankie (staff Marks & Co juga istri Frankie) akhirnya juga bertukar surat dengan Helene, sedikit banyak mengingatkan saya dengan The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Both are a really good literature of books about books.

This book, with only 97 pages inside, is a pure delight. Especially for you who love books. Reading letter by letter you’ll find yourself connected to both Helene and Frankie’s feeling as people who lived in the world of literature.

If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me? I owe it so much.


Title: 84, Charing Cross Road
Author: Helene Hanff
Release Date: October 1st, 1990
Publisher: Penguin Books
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 97 pages
Genre: Epistolary, Memoir, Literature, Autobiography

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