84, Charing Cross Road
This short book of 20 years worth of correspondence between an American writer and a British bookseller is a wonderful treasure trove of bookish insights. Helene Hanff, an American writer, is in need of antiquarian books, but is dissatisfied with the offerings at American bookstores. She finds Marks and Co. and 84, Charing Cross Road in London, England and writes to have certain books sent. What begins as a mere business transaction blossoms into true friendship between Helene and the people at the shop. Her primary correspondent is Frank Doel, and she becomes friendly with him, his wife and their children. England during the early years of their correspondence, so Helene sent boxes of meat, eggs, and other items that were impossible to get during that time.
The letters are funny, kind, and informative. In this day and age of computers, emails, and busyness, one wonders if this type of epistolary relationship will ever happen again. We have surely lost the art and emotion of letter writing, and after reading this little book, you will see that it is a great loss in deed.