by Helene Hanff
Avon Books (1970)
If there was ever a text book for our “why not try an older book” initiative here at Page Turners from the Past it’s clearly Helene Hanff’s bestseller 84, Charing Cross Road. Where else would you find a most entertaining older book, circa 1970, by an author who not only loves reads from the past but comes right out on the seventh page with the confirmation?
The book’s made up of a series of engaging letters from page turner (Hanff) to Marks & Co., Booksellers, a London house that specializes in older book sales. Here on page seven our bibliophile writes: “I do love secondhand books that open to the page some previous owner read of interest. The day Hazlitt (a book of Hazlitt’s essays she’d ordered) came he (Hazlitt) opened to “I hate to read new books,” and I hollered “Comrade!” to whoever owned it before me.”
Well comrade indeed. The only difference—which flies in the face of page turners from the past— is the fact that Helene Hanff (who lived in NY City and wrote for television and crafted children’s books) is, by her choice of books from the London seller, a bit, shall we say, highbrow.
And damned funny! And as her letter’s reveal, very generous! Read More »