“If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me! I owe it so much.”
Even though the bookshop itself is long gone, you can rest assured that I will be walking by where it stood next time I am in London. I shall buy a new copy of 84 Charing Cross Road and I shall leave it there for someone to find, a reminder of just how much Helene Hanff, even at a distance, loved the place.
You see, I feel like I too owe it quite a lot. If it weren’t for the bookshop and the wonderful people that kept it going for as long as it did, this book would not be a reality, and that’s not something I can live with. Honestly, I can no longer imagine a world without the existence of this little peculiar and hopeful family.
People brought together by books. Real people brought together by real books. It’s like witnessing firsthand a favorite meet-cute crossing the ever-changing line that both separates and connects fiction and reality. It happened. For me, it was an infusion of hope and wonder, wrapped in a collection of letters that speak of gratitude, that speak of dreams, laughs, and that sheds some tears.
These voices, these people, they become alive in your head from the moment you first meet them, from the moment you first read their words. They are a delightful bunch, let me tell you. Their company is entertaining beyond reason, and you soon find yourself involved as if you were always part of the whole scheme.
“People oughtn’t to breeze into your life and out again in ten seconds, without leaving even a name behind. As Mr. Dickens once pointed out, we’re all on our way to the grave together.”
I have yet to sit down for a couple of lifetimes and consider the concept of coincidence, but the truth is that this book has already played its wonderful magic on me. I have met someone through its pages that would have otherwise probably remained a stranger for eternity. This person from what feels like a world away wrote to me because her edition was lacking a page – we have been talking ever since.
I feel like I somehow owe it to Helene Hanff not to break this little enchanting chain. That is why we are giving away a copy of 84 Charing Cross Road this month.
To participate all you have to do is leave a comment on this post saying, “I will kiss it for you.”
Best of luck to you all, fellow book lovers. May the magical hat be on your side!
P.S. You have until the 20th of July to participate.