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Stop Making Sense

I read anything that's nailed down, or even just moving slowly. Cereal boxes, candy wrappers, all genres, etc., and I don't always have much time for arbitrary distinctions like literary fiction vs. genre fiction.

West vs. East in Letters

84, Charing Cross Road - Helene Hanff

84, Charing Cross Road is a slim collection of letters sent between Helene Hanff, a New Yorker working on the Ellery Queen TV show, and Marks & Co., a London shop that sold used/rare books. It's the slangy, sarcastic, informal American vs. the proper, reserved Brits, with humor and goodwill on both sides.

The book, although slight, is entertaining, and I'm a sucker for the epistolary format. I did wonder where Helene kept finding the money over the years to buy these books and to send care packages overseas to the Brits, but not to actually go visit them. Curious. I also wondered how the letters came to be published. Finally, how did Helene find out about the book shop in the first place? The world was a much bigger place back then, after all. An afterward giving a little more of the context would have been appreciated.

But this is nitpicking. I'd recommend this one for epistolary fans and those interested in post-WW II England and America. It shouldn't take you more than a few hours to knock it out.