Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Delightful Read!

If you loved Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road then chances are EXCELLENT you'll love the folks on Guernsey, too. I feel like I've made new, life-long friends. Here are a some of my notes/quotes, things I loved. Interesting how the very first quote, and the later one on page 53 are like statements from a pamphlet encouraging you to give your child a Charlotte Mason education! I simply cannot imagine being "cut off from the world" for 5 YEARS!!! I experienced a good bit of that in the Peace Corps in Malawi for 2 years, but eventually American culture caught up with me when the long-delayed Newsweek magazine's reached me. For news I did at least have the BBC World service. Still, I rememeber freaking out on the ride out of O'Hare airport at the sci-fi looking Chevy Lumina Vans! As for grinding bird seed for flour, that makes me think of Laura Ingalls in "The Long Winter."

“That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book.” (p. 11)

“Eventually, I said something to the effect that I could never marry a man whose idea of bliss was to strike out at little balls and little birds.” (p. 25)
“We had no news from the outside world for FIVE YEARS….” [emphasis mine] (p. 37)
[written about Kensington Gardens….] “applauded to write the Ministry of Food for having ordered peas to be planted in the grounds surrounding the [Albert] memorial—writing that no better scarecrow than Prince Albert existed in all of England.” (p. 44)

“Reading good books ruins you from enjoying bad books.” (p. 53)
“…I chose to write about Anne Bronte because she was the least known of the sisters….Lord knows how Anne managed to write any books at all, influenced by such a strain of religion as her Aunt Branwell possessed. Emily and Charlotte had the good sense to ignore their bleak aunt, but not poor Anne. Imagine preaching that God meant women to be Meek, Mild and Gently Melancholic. So much less trouble around the house—pernicious old bat!” (99. 61-62)

“Do you know what sentence of his [Shakespeare’s] I admire the most? It is ‘The bright day is done, and we are for the dark.’” (p. 63)

“It is so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun, to have lived light in the spring to have loved, to have thought, to have done, to have advanced true friends?” [poem quoted but not credited to an author] (p.64)

“Well, after that, I thought there might be something to this poetry after all. I began to go to meetings, and I’m glad I did, else how would I have read the works of William Wordsworth—he would have stayed unknown to me. I learned many of his poems by heart.” (p. 72)

“But you want to know about the influence of books on my life, and as I’ve said, there was only one, Seneca. Do you know who he was? He was a Roman philosopher who wrote letters to imaginary friends telling them how to behave for the rest of their lives. Maybe that sounds dull, but the letters aren’t—they’re witty. I think you learn more if you’re laughing at the same time.” (p. 89)

“Have you ever noticed when your mind is awakened or draw to someone new, that person’s name suddenly pops up everywhere you go? My frined Sophie calls it coincide3nce, and Mr. Simpless, my parson friend, calls it Grace.” (p. 116)
“After a bit, he said, ‘Grandpa, that’s something I never am.’ I asked him, ‘What’s that?’ And he said, ‘Lonesome in my spirits.’” (p.124)

“Dr. Stubbins pronounced that you alone had transformed ‘distraction’ into an honorable word—instead of a character flaw.” (p. 138)

“A window was open and the wireless was playing a beautiful piece of music. We stopped to listen, thinking it must be a program from Berlin. But, when the music ended, we heard Big Ben strike and a British voice said, ‘This is the BBC-London.”….London was still there!’” (p. 151)

“Marcus Aurelius was an old woman….” (p. 170)

“And I say that if some toffee-nosed Brit wants to call being human Collaboration, they’ll need to talk to me and Mrs._____ first.” (p208)

“Light-hearted is a short step from witless in my book.” (p. 219)

[Throwing darts at a picture of the Duchess of Windsor!!] (pp. 252—253)

“You should see them [the pigs] grin as he approached the fence.” (p. 261)


Leonie said...

Oh, I liked 84 Charing Cross Road! I also like the quote about the effect of books on our lives. Part of who I am today is as a result of books.

Hopewell said...

"Part of who I am today is as a result of books." Me too! Absolutely!

Melissa Wiley said...

Delightful is exactly the right word for this book. I enjoyed it tremendously. Love your selection of quotes! A most quotable book indeed...