Book Reviews, Nonfiction

Book Review: 84, Charing Cross Road

New Yorker Helene Hanff loves books, but not just any old books. In 1949, hoping to satisfy her ‘antiquarian taste’ in books and save herself from the exorbitant prices of New York bookstores, this self-described ‘poor writer’ turns to Marks & Co. Booksellers on London’s Charing Cross Road. So begins a 20-year letter exchange between the lively, somewhat salty and sarcastic Ms. Hanff and the oh-so-very-proper and reserved British bookseller Frank Doel… a letter exchange that slowly but surely turns into a touching friendship. This is the first time I’ve ever taken Amazon.com up on one of its book recommendations.…

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84 Charing Cross Road

This is the first time I’ve ever taken Amazon.com up on one of its book recommendations. Learning I’d read Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (by spying on me really), the good folks at Amazon tried to hook me up with 84 Charing Cross Road. I obligingly fell for their gimmick, and was totally charmed by the initially perfunctory letter exchange between Helene Hanff and Frank Doel,  which evolves gradually like a gracefully aged wine into a full-bodied friendship. Just as naturally, Hanff finds herself corresponding not only with Frank, but with his family and other Marks & Co. employees.…

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Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I’m a history fanatic, but if a book’s about war, it generally needs to be pre-20th century for me. A War of the Roses story, and I am glued, telling myself it was long ago and far away, even somehow romanticizing it. A story about WWI or any war thereafter – well, I am simply uninterested in a reminder we’ve evolved no further than Cro-Magnon man regarding warfare. So, when I got The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (“GLPPPS”) as a gift, it sat unread for a year — until I read 84 Charing Cross Road, another story…

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Book Reviews, Romance

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

In 1946, writer Juliet Ashton finds inspiration for her next book in her correspondence with a native of Guernsey, who tells her about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club born as an alibi during German occupation. I’m a history fanatic, but if a book’s about war, it generally needs to be pre-20th century for me. A War of the Roses story, and I am glued, telling myself it was long ago and far away, even somehow romanticizing it. A story about WWI or any war thereafter – well, I am simply uninterested in a reminder…

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