Standing there, staring at the long shelves crammed with books, I felt myself relax and was suddenly at peace.

— Helene Hanff

The most wonderful Helene Hanff quotes you will be delighted to read

And for at least that moment, I wouldn't have traded the hundreds of books I've read for the few I know almost by heart.

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Fact One: Cataract surgery is simple, painless and (except with implants) risk free ... the whole procedure is common, routine and nothing to worry about. Fact Two: Fact One applies only to cataracts on the eyes in somebody else's head.

4

I liked reading about the nun who ate so dainty with her fingers she never dripped any grease on herself. I've never been able to make that claim and I use a fork.

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I despair of ever getting it through anybody's head I am not interested in bookshops, I am interested in what's written in the books. I don't browse in bookshops, I browse in libraries, where you can take a book home and read it, and if you like it you go to a bookshop and buy it.

3

I'll have mine [The Book-Lovers' Anthology] till the day I die - and die happy in the knowledge that I'm leaving it behind for someone else to love. I shall sprinkle pale pencil marks through it pointing out the best passages to some book-lover yet unborn.

3

What fortune teller would ever have had the nerve to predict that the best years of my life would turn out to be my old age?

1

I love inscriptions on flyleaves and notes in margins, I like the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned, and reading passages someone long gone has called my attention to.

1

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

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I find the treatment of royalty distinctly peculiar.

The royal family lives in palaces heavily screened from prying eyes by fences, grounds, gates, guards, all designed to ensure the family absolute privacy. And every newspaper in London carried headlines announcing PRINCESS ANNE HAS OVARIAN CYST REMOVED. I mean you're a young girl reared in heavily guarded seclusion and every beer drinker in every pub knows the precise state of your ovaries.

0

I wanted to see London the way old people want to see home before they die.

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I do love secondhand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest. The day Hazlitt came he opened to I hate to read new books, and I hollered Comrade! to whoever owned it before me.

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But I don't know, maybe it's just as well I never got there.

I dreamed about it for so many years. I used to go to English movies just to look at the streets. I remember years ago a guy I knew told me that people going to England find exactly what they go looking for. I said I'd go looking for the England of English Literature, and he nodded and said: "It's there.

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About Helene Hanff

Quotes 25 sayings
Profession Writer
Birthday October 16

History, as they say, is alive and well and living in London.

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I never overcame my conviction that writing for commercial television was a kind of prostitution.

0

Did I tell you I finally found the perfect page-cutter? It's a pearl-handled fruit knife. My mother left me a dozen of them, I keep one in the pencil cup on my desk. Maybe I go with the wrong kind of people but i'm just not likely to have twelve guests all sitting around simultaneously eating fruit.

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I have these guilts about never having read Chaucer but I was talked out of learning Early Anglo-Saxon / Middle English by a friend who had to take it for her Ph.D. They told her to write an essay in Early Anglo-Saxon on any-subject-of-her-own-choosing. “Which is all very well,” she said bitterly, “but the only essay subject you can find enough Early Anglo-Saxon words for is ‘How to Slaughter a Thousand Men in a Mead Hall’.

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It's against my principles to buy a book I haven't read, it's like buying a dress you haven't tried on.

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I do love secondhand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest.

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Talent is the infinite capacity for taking pains.

Genius is the infinite capacity for achievement without taking any pains at all.

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It looks too new and pristine ever to have been read by anyone else, but it has been: it keeps falling open at the most delightful places as the ghost of its former owner points me to things I've never read before.

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Why is it that people who wouldn't dream of stealing anything else think it's perfectly all right to steal books?

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Hollywood isn't a place, it's a way of life.

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I personally can't think of anything less sacrosanct than a bad book or even a mediocre book.

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My problem is that while other people are reading fifty books I'm reading one book fifty times. I only stop when at the bottom of page 20, say, I realize I can recite pages 21 and 22 from memory. Then I put the book away for a few years.

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