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letter never sent

I just finished reading 84 Charing Cross Road, which I (rather aptly) bought second hand about two years ago and which I didn't get around to reading until now. Why did I wait so long? It was absolutely wonderful, a witty love letter to literature and book-lovers in general. Although I did end up feeling like an emormous philistine - Helene Hanff is enthusiastically tracking down copies of Cardinal Hume's lectures and Donne's sermons, and what am I always tracking down through second hand book shops? School stories and Ronald Searle cartoons. Not quite in the same league, intellectually.

Anyway, I absolutely adored the book, Hume lectures and all, mostly because Hanff is funny and kind and passionately loves books (not the same books as me, but who cares) and it has inspired me to start re-reading my favourite book of collected letters ever - in fact, possibly it's just my favourite book ever: William Maxwell's and Sylvia Townsend Warner's The Element of Lavishness, which is one of the few books I unreservedly recommend to everyone. Anyone who can read it and not love both of the letter writers is no friend of mine.

And now, having taken a walk through the gorgeous Spring sunshine in the park, I'm going to sit down with a cup of tea and read some more of it. And then tonight, Patsington's parents are taking us out to dine in a very, very fancy place to celebrate his birthday, so I will have to prepare myself for a night of gluttony. Hurrah for Saturdays!


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 19th, 2005 04:05 pm (UTC)
Do you see? Now you know why I was saying the same thing last year!
Mar. 19th, 2005 09:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, there's almost nothing nicer than hearing people talk about books you love. :D I can highly recommend Helene Hanff's other books. She has a bit in "Q's Legacy" about having cataract surgery that is one of the most hilarious things I've ever read.

:::pets TEoL fondly:::
Mar. 20th, 2005 01:54 am (UTC)
The Element of Lavishness is on my TBR list because you mentioned it over at Chicklit.com - now the thing to do is read it.

Helene Hanff wrote a sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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