84 Charing Cross Road – Book Review

“I don’t browse in bookshops, I browse in libraries, where you can take a book home and read it, and if you like it you go to a bookshop and buy it.”

This is a wonderful book of letters written between an American writer and the employees working in a used book store in the U.K..

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Let me tell you this isn’t a romance book filled with love letters ( bcos I had that misconception). The letters are written through a span of 20 years and has nothing but lots of love for books, appreciation for used books particularly non-fiction and a growing intercontinental friendship.

Growing up, I loved the idea of penpals. (Writing letters to strangers who turn into friends, was one of my biggest fantasy when I was a little girl, but it never came true bcos a) I was lazy and b) yup, just laziness.)

But Helene not just sends letters inquiring about books but also sends the employees and their families, lots of food as gifts over Holidays. And you know what makes it more heartwarming? This is all real, just like Helene loves only the real thing and not fiction, these events really happened and the letters were made public and into a book.

Even though I wasn’t aware of half the books she mentions in the letters, I could relate with her the whole time. You can see how the friendship unfolds from the way Frank and Helene address each other in the beginning and how informal it gets later. There’s so much I loved that I’m finding it hard to express how deeply broken I was, by the end of the book. Such a short sweet read! 

Do not forget to pick this book up, if you are looking for something to warm your heart, to resonate with a bookworm’s struggle in finding the right editions and just plain old-fashioned epistolary novel between strangers who have one thing in common – Books! 

I can’t not leave without the much popular quote from the book –

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

5 🌟 and more! 

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