84, Charing Cross Road - Helene Hanff I cannot believe I've only just read this book, an accidental 'pick-up' at a bookstore yesterday. I had heard of it, albeit in passing, which somehow makes it worse. But I picked it up, started reading it a couple of hours ago & have just finished.

This correspondence get its hooks into you a few pages in. I fell in love with the idea of these 2 people exchanging letters about books; one, "a poor writer with antiquarian taste in books" who lives in New York & is desperate to buy them cheap & clean, and the other; a Londoner, who works in a bookstore, Marks & Co at 84,Charing Cross Road.

You'd not think that such a correspondence, so simple in nature, could be; sweet,funny,tender, poignant...with busts of hilarity intersped for good measure, but it is and more. It's incredibly human; in its generosity of spirit & the start of a friendship between 2 people, strangers who've never met over a span of 20 years, over the purchase of 'antiquarian' books.

As someone who loves London, I was rooting for Helene to finally get there to see it & meet these lovely people. Her longing to "step off the boat-train and feel its dirty sidewalks under my feet" to, "walk up Berkeley Square and down Wimpole Street and stand in St Paul's where John Donne preached and sit on the step Elizabeth sat on when she refused to enter the Tower..." came across the pages, so strongly & surely, that it would seem to be the biggest tragedy if she didn't make it there, and right now dammit.

Among the many, many lines & passages that I'm fond of; I have to highlight this one, "A newspaper man I know, who was stationed in London during the war, says tourists go to England with preconceived notions, so they always find exactly what they go looking for.I told him I'd go looking for the England of English Literature, and he said: Then it's there."