84 Charing Cross Road: A second-hand love affair

It was at a cousin’s wedding that an uncle gave me his copy of 84 Charing Cross Road with a crisp, “Read it. It’s good”. Now, I don’t know about you but long drawn-out weddings are not my cup of tea, and I always look for avenues to keep sane at such events. This book provided me with that perfect opportunity to escape from cope with the wedding festivities.

So, I read the book while getting my mehendi done, while helping my cousin’s trousseau to be packed, in the middle of the night under torchlight, when I couldn’t bear the collective grunts and snores of so many aunts in the hall we were sleeping in, between the many wedding ceremonies, etc. By reading a few pages at a time, I managed to finish the 100-odd pages of the book over 3 days and return it to my uncle. I was just in time to congratulate the newlyweds after the wedding ceremony, and then run out to try to obtain my very own copy of the book.

So what is 84 Charing Cross Road (by Helene Hanff) all about? I found the book’s blurb—an extract from its review in the Daily Telegraph—tantalising.

This book is the very simple story of the love affair between Miss Helene Hanff of New York and Messrs Marks and Co, sellers of rare and second-hand books at 84 Charing Cross Road, London. It is unmitigated delight from cover to cover.

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