Book Reviews · The Reading Corner

BookTubeAThon 2015: Day 2 Updates + Book Review: 84 Charing Cross Road

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BookTubeAThon 2015 day 2 has finally ended (It’s still 10:30, but the day ended for me because I can’t read no more XD) and it was another success. I managed to finish reading 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and this means I crossed another challenge off my list and this challenge is to read a book by an author who share the same letter of my last name, which is H.

I enjoyed listening to Ed Sheeran while reading today. Both of his albums were on repeat and I enjoyed the warmth and coziness of Sheeran’s voice while reading my books and drinking my tea (What a good feeling!).

Also, I managed to read another chunk of The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. I read 140 pages and I am proud of that. Now, I am only 250 pages away from finishing the first challenge, which is to read a book with blue on the cover, and so far, I am really enjoying this book so much, but I won’t talk about it a lot because there will be an entire review that will be posted sometime this week.

Now, since I finished reading 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, here is the full review of what I thought of the book.

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 Synopsis (Goodreads):

“If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me! I owe it so much.

In 1949 Helene Hanff, ‘a poor writer with an antiquarian taste in books,’ wrote to Marks & Co. Booksellers of 84 Charing Cross Rd, in search of rare editions she was unable to find in New York. Her books were dispatched with polite but brisk efficiency. But, seeking further treasures, Helene soon found herself in regular correspondence with bookseller Frank Doel, laying siege to his English reserve with her warmth and wit. And, as letter, books and quips crossed the ocean, a friendship flourished that would endure for twenty years.

Review:

Again, I will start with saying that I got into this book with no idea of what it’s about. All I knew is that it was based on letter exchanging and that’s about it. I didn’t have any kind of expectations of whatsoever about this book because I didn’t hear anything about it.

I borrowed this book from my friend and it’s been setting on my shelves for few months now and the BookTubeAThon seemed like a great chance to read some of the unread books that’s been setting on my shelves.

Now lets talk about the book. The book started with a letter, which kind of throw me off. I felt as if I was thrown in the middle of a conversation and I didn’t have an idea of what’s going on and what are they talking about. I think it would be better if the book started with a paragraph or a page giving the reader a little of information to prepare them but without giving out too much info and spoil the book (Just an opinion). But, I think the author’s purpose is for the readers to get to know the characters through out the many many letters.

To say the truth, I didn’t really liked that half of the book is based on letters only. I felt bored at some point because reading the letters didn’t allow me to see the entirety of Helene personality or any of other characters’ personalities as a matter of fact, and it annoyed me, and even though there was more than two people exchanging letters in the book (It’s not only Helene and Frank), I still didn’t get that feeling of fully understanding the characters; I still felt like something was missing. They sounded flat and with no depth to me, which I am sure that they are not because it’s a real life letter correspondent between Helene, the writer and Frank, the bookseller, and I am sure they are more interesting in person.

On the other hands, there were some funny moments. I loved that Helene is a bibliophile and her interest in books made me excited. I imagined her amazing bookshelves and they must be great because she received an awful lot of books during this book. I enjoyed the friendship that grew over the love of  books between Frank and Helene, it was quite enjoyable and adorable.

Overall, the book had some good and funny moments, and also, some sad ones. But, I still couldn’t fully get into the book or the characters and that maybe because of making the book based on letters correspondent, which didn’t work for me. I feel that this style didn’t give a room for the characters to express their emotions. In other words, it lacked emotions, which help me connect with them emotionally. It felt a little bit stiff in my opinion.

I hear that there is a movie about this book and they say it’s a great movie. So, I think I will be watching the movie sometime in the future with the hope of redeeming the image of this book in my mind.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

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