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“84 Charing Cross Road” by Helene Hanff


18.12.2011


I'm dying to go back to London more than ever, whatever made me imagine it was a good idea to read what is basically a love letter to that city while not in it? This is lovely, the first part reproduces the letters between a New York writer and a London bookshop's stuff in Charing Cross Road. Mainly Frank Doel but also other employees. Books are their bridge but that's not their only topic of conversation at all and well, I love epistolaries. The second and longer part of the book describes Helene's long-awaited visit to London, where she becomes The Duchess of Bloomsbury (one of the titles this book was published under) and it's coddled out of her mind by her fans (English and non-English alike) and visits the places she's been dreaming of reading about all her life.

I need to go back to the National Portrait Gallery, which already is my favourite London museum (I'm not a huge fan of museums, a bit like Helene) and see Jane Austen and the Brontes, and everybody.

In a time where anything might be shipped over from anywhere and most books are digitalized (to mock me for saying that the English version of the ebook is evading me) it's strange to imagine waiting for copies of books to be found by your bookseller.

Quotes:

Recipe for Yorkshire pudding: 1 cup of flour, an egg, half a cup of mil and a good shake of salt all beat together to reach the consistency of thick cream. Let rest in the fridge. Pour a bit of grease on a baking pan, leave pan in hot oven, take the pan out after a while and pour the mixture in, leave for about half an hour.

So, I got fed up trying to find an English version of this to take the quotes from, Spanish it'll be:

☸  [pp52] Cada primavera hago una limpieza general de mis libros y me deshago de los que ya no volveré a leer, de la misma manera que me desprendo de las ropas que no pienso ponerme ya más. A todo el mundo le extraña esta forma de proce¬der. Mis amigos son muy peculiares en cuestión de libros. Leen todos los best sellers que caen en sus manos, devorán¬dolos lo más rápidamente posible..., y saltándose montones de párrafos según creo. Pero luego JAMAS releen nada, con lo que al cabo de un año no recuerdan ni una palabra de lo que leyeron. Sin embargo, se escandalizan de que yo arroje un libro a la basura o lo regale. Según entienden ellos la cosa, compras un libro, lo lees, lo colocas en la estantería y jamás vuelves a abrirlo en toda tu vida, ¡PERO NUNCA LO TIRAS! ¡JAMÁS DE LOS JAMASES SI ESTÁ ENCUADERNADO EN TAPA DURA! Pero... ¿por qué no? Perso¬nalmente creo que no hay nada menos sacrosanto que un mal libro e incluso un libro mediocre. La verdad es que mi instinto es LIBRO = SAGRADO, pero hace un año o así llené el baul del coche de mi viejo de libros para vender en librerías de segunda mano. Nunca llegaron a esas librerías. De hecho, creo que siguen en el baul. Muchos de ellos eran de Orson Scott Card, cuya homofobía y misogínia me causaron tal impresión que no puedo abrir ninguno de sus libros excepto El Juego de Ender sin que me entren nauseas.


☸  ☸  ☸  More quotes to be added.

Dictionary:
Berserk</a>: were Norse warriors who are reported in the Old Norse literature to have fought in a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury, a characteristic which later gave rise to the English word berserk. Berserkers are attested in numerous Old Norse sources. Most historians believe that berserkers worked themselves into a rage before battle, but some think that they might have consumed drugged foods. And this so explains the use in Neon Genesis Evangelion!

var·let (värlt): 1. An attendant or servant. 2. A knight's page. 3. A rascal; a knave.



2011, 2011: nonfiction in english, book-2011, #epistolary, *author: female, @read in english, [quotes], [quotes] books, +historical, +social issues, #non-fiction, +philosophy, +bookish, [dictionary], @_england, @_london, @_new york


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