Sunday, October 24, 2010

In the Spirit – 84, Charing Cross Road

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

My Nibble
Cecily shared a recipe for Yorkshire Pudding with Helene in the book. I must confess that until I went to England a couple of years ago, I thought that it was actually a type of dessert pudding (wrong). I don’t like dessert pudding (sorry Bill Cosby), so it was not something that I had ever considered eating.

In the spirit of the book, I have decided to make some Yorkshire Pudding. I am going to make a British dinner of it. I am going to use a recipe posted by Jan Laskey for Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding on The pudding recipe is slightly different from the one in the book. Did you try it?

My Playlist
84, Charing Cross Road

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Less polite in written words?

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

The real fun of this book is seeing the evolution of their friendship. Helene Hanff cracked me up with how jazzy at the mouth she was in comparison with the more reserved Frank Doel (though he too loosened up over time). She even noted that she said some of the most outrageous things from a safe distance (from across the ocean) in her letters.

One of my favorite bits of the book was, “i enclose two limp singles, i will make do with this thing till you find me a real Pepys. THEN i will rip up this ersatz book, page by page, AND WRAP THINGS IN IT.” Very jazzy. After chewing him out about the Pepys, Hanff’s postscript of the same letter kindly asked, “Fresh eggs or powdered for X-Mas?” Too funny.

Today people are writing others more than ever via social networks, postal mail, email and text messages. The book has made me reflect on some of the stuff that I have written to others. Was I looser with the lips than I would be in person? Hhhmmm.

Are you less polite in written communications than you would be in person?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Okay. Strike #4. Maybe.

Well, shut my mouth and strike number four – kinda (e-Books and e-Readers are evil. Maybe). Amazon announced that they will be introducing 14-day e-book lending feature for the Kindle later on this year. This new feature will allow you to loan your Kindle books to other Kindle device or Kindle app users. The bummer is that you (as the lender) cannot read the book during the loan period. This is nice, but it’s only a little love. Sharing a file and sharing a book doesn’t generate the same warm fuzzies in my opinion. What’s your opinion?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

e-Books and e-Readers are evil. Maybe.

I have been toying with the idea of getting an e-reader. I am usually not the last one to jump on the technology bandwagon. However, there is something about an e-reader that just rubs me the wrong way. I realize that it is not rationale. I don’t have to choose a side. I can use both (if I can get past 10#). Here are my scribbles on the matter.

1. I must have paper in my hands to truly enjoy it.

This is simply not true. I enjoy listening to books on compact disk. In fact, I am listening to Sense and Sensibility on compact disk right now. There are some books that I couldn’t seem to get through on paper, but enjoyed on compact disk – like The Emperor of Ocean Park and Twilight. On the other hand, I like to flip back and forth through a book while I read.

2. E-books make it easier to read books that are out of print.

In searching for the books referenced in 84, Charing Cross, I came across a number of books that are no longer in print, but are available in an e-book version. carries a number of free classics and out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books, as well as limited-time free promotional e-books for the Kindle e-reader.

3. E-books can save me money.

Again, I was surprised at the number of free e-books available at Not to mention that many of the other ones are reasonably priced. I would think that the same would be available on other sites as well.

4. There is no love.

“I do love secondhand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest.” Helene Hanff, 84,Charing Cross Road

Where is the love? People are less likely to share their e-readers than they are a book. An e-book doesn’t open to pages where other people lingered. You can’t write in the margins for other people to see like a traditional book (your own copy only please).

5. e-Readers add to screen burn-out.

I look at computer screens all day. Traditional books give my eyes a break.

6. I can carry more books on vacation.

I like to read while I am on vacation. I also like to pack lightly. An e-book would allow me to bring more books along.

7. E-readers bring vacation drama.

I think that e-readers will bring unwanted attention while on vacation. I doubt someone will jack me for my paperback book. An e-reader is more tempting.

8. Save the trees.

I am sure that trees around the world sighed a big relief when e-readers came out. Do you think that e-readers are a conspiracy on the part of trees? Kind of like the “Eat More Chicken” campaign by the Chik-Fila cows.

9. I am (not) a klutz.

Really, I am not. Small electronics just seem to fall to the floor in my presence. Perhaps they sense royalty? Traditional books are pretty resilient. They might last longer around me.

10. E-readers are expensive.

They cost a lot. There are too many formats. Kindle. Nook. Sony. Which one to purchase?

I am still undecided. Do you have an e-reader? Which one? Why?

See – Okay. Strike #4. Maybe.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"84, Charing Cross Road" - Book Reference List

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

Clearly, Hanff and I have different taste in books. Her tastes leaned toward the antiquarian. The only book that I have read from her requests to Marks & Co. is Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. And perhaps The Canterbury Tales in high school- I cannot recall exactly. I definitely would not attempt to read anything in Latin (I can recall that from high school).

Surprisingly, our differences did not impact my enjoyment of the book. The collection of letters is absolutely charming. In fact, I think that I may give a couple of the books a try because she thought so highly of them. I have attempted to find comparable versions of the books Hanff requested on (see below). She had very particular tastes - requesting specific versions based on editor, illustrator, publisher, etc.

Have you read any of the books?


Get reviews and shop for the books on

Hanff, Helene: 84, Charing Cross Road
Austen, Jane: Pride And Prejudice
Arkwright, Francis (translator): Memoirs of the Duke de Saint-Simon
Belloc, Hillaire: Essays
Catullus (Loeb Classics)
Chaucer, Geoffrey: The Canterbury Tales (leather bound) translated by Hill, published by Longmans in 1934
Delafield, E.M.: Diary Of A Provincial Lady
Dobson, Austen (editor): The Sir Roger De Coverley Papers
Donne, John: Sermons
Grahame, Kenneth: The Wind in the Willows (Shepard illustrations)
Greek New Testament
Grolier Bible

Hazlitt, William: Selected Essays Of William Hazlitt 1778 To 1830 (Nonesuch Press edition)
Horace - Loeb Classics
Hunt, Leigh: Essays.
Johnson, Samuel: On Shakespeare (introduction by Walter Raleigh)
Jonson, Ben: Timber
Lamb, Charles: Essays of Elia
Landor, Walter Savage: Vol II of The Works and Life of Walter Savage Landor Imaginary Conversations
Latin Anglican New Testament

Latin Vulgate Bible / Latin Vulgate New Testament
Latin Vulgate Dictionary
Leonard, R. M. (editor): The Book-Lover's Anthology
Newman, John Henry: Discourses on the Scope and Nature of University Education. "'Idea of a University"
Pepys, Samuel: Pepys Diary
Plato's Four Socratic Dialogues
Quiller-Couch, Arthur: The Oxford Book Of English Verse
Quiller-Couch, Arthur: The Pilgrim's Way
Quiller-Couch, Arthur: Oxford Book of English Prose
Sappho - Loeb Classics
Sterne, Lauence: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
Stevenson, Robert Louis: Virginibus Puerisque
de Tocqueville, Alexis: Journey to America
Wyatt, Thomas: Poems of Thomas Wyatt
Walton, Izaak: The Complete Angler
Walton, Izaak: The Lives of - John Donne - Sir Henry Wotton - Richard Hooker - George Herbert & Robert Sanderson
Woolf, Virginia: The Common Reader

<a href="">The Complete Poems (Penguin Classics)</a><img src="" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Side Notes - 84 Charing Cross Road

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

Unofficial Website
Great site about the Marks & Co. store and the book "84, Charing Cross Road." You can find more information on the store and the book's characters.

84 Charing Cross Road, revisited

Facebook Fan Page
84 Charing Cross Road

Movie Trailer
Posted on by movietrailer25

Review of the Play
"Stage: '84 Charing Cross Road' Opens" by Frank Rich from the New York Times (December 8, 1982);hl=en_US

Monday, October 18, 2010

Define: e·pis·to·lar·y

e·pis·to·lar·y  [ih-pis-tl-er-ee]

contained in or carried on by letters: an epistolary friendship.
of, pertaining to, or consisting of letters.

epistolary. (n.d.). Unabridged. Retrieved October 18, 2010, from website:

Epistolary Novels

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Unlikely Connections Through A Love of ______?

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

"You see how it is Frankie, you're the only soul alive who understands me." Helene Hanff, 84, Charing Cross Road

Before I actually read 84, Charing Cross Road, I thought that it was a romance between two people (based on brief descriptions of the book). Instead, it is about a friendship between two people who share a love of literature through letters. Ah ... bibliophilia. This book is a treat for book lovers - even those not of antiquarian tastes like the author. It is a quick delightful read.

The book is a collection of letter spanning 20 years (1949 - 1969). I have always been a fan of written letters and shutter at the thought that email is reducing their numbers. I think that people are less respectful of emails. Inbox too full? Delete. Delete. Delete. No stashing away in a box for safe keeping.

Will anyone stumble upon my inbox of crafty emails in fifty years? Doubtful.

On the upside,  I would imagine that email and the Internet make connections of this type in even more likely today. Have you ever developed a friendship with an unlikely stranger through a special interest or hobby via mail, email or the Internet?

Get reviews and shop for “84, Charing Cross Road” on
Book (Paperback) - 84, Charing Cross Road
Video (On Demand) - 84 Charing Cross Road

Saturday, October 16, 2010

DYK about 84, Charing Cross Road?

Anne Bancroft stars in the movie adaptation of  the book, 84, Charing Cross Road. Her husband, Mel Brooks (also the movie's producer), purchased the rights to the book for her as an anniversary present. How cool is that?

Friday, October 8, 2010

10/06/1998 "Wit" by Margaret Edson opened its Off-Broadway run.

"Wit" by Margaret Edson opened its Off-Broadway run on this day in 1998. I am adding the play to my reading table.

Have you read the scribble?

Have you seen a theater production?

Have you seen the flick?

Check out "Today in Theatre History: OCTOBER 6" by David Gewirtzman, Robert Viagas and Sam Maher.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fire Prevention Week, October 3-9

It's the start of the NFPA's Fire Prevention Week  ( Don't forget to put fresh batteries in your smoke detector or purchase a smoke detector if your home doesn't have one. I use this awareness week as a yearly reminder.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Follow the Knox County Public Library

I checked the events list on The Big Read website to see which groups are doing something cool for Their Eyes Were Watching God in October. The YWCA Knoxville and Knox County Public Library are hosting a month long celebration of the classic book. I don't live in that area so I am going to be a remote participant. Gotta love the Internet sometimes. Join their blog discussion ...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

So many books. So little time. Below is a list of the 100 most challenged books during the years 1990 – 2009, as compiled by the American Library Association. Ironically, I think banning books has the opposite effect. Banning makes them even more appealing. I wanted to see Eddie Murphy's Raw comedy video even more after my parents said that I was too young to watch it. I eventually saw it and my parents were probably right. Even if I was not scarred by it.

I have read some of the books on the list - mostly from middle school to high school. That said, I feel like I need to start from scratch as I am sure that my interests and perspectives have changed since then. There are quite a few scribble-to-flick choices on the list.

Next stop ... Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston. Join me!

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

"2000-2009," American Library Association, April 06, 2010. (Accessed October 02, 2010)
Document ID: 582764

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday First Amendment Film Festival

In celebration of Banned Books Week, I am kicking off the Una Scribbles First Amendment Film Festival. Every other Friday, I am going to view a film or video production on the American Library Association's suggestion list that depicts "the impact of censorship on individuals and society." The ALA's list is below. Whew! I am going to be a busy beaver. Please stop by the blog to join in the latest discussion. First up, Inherit the Wind.

Cinema Paradiso

Deliberate Intent

Fahrenheit 451


The Front

Good Night and Good Luck

Guilty by Suspicion

Inherit the Wind

The Insider


People v. Larry Flynt

Pump Up the Volume

The First Amendment Project

Little Sisters vs. Big Brother

Smothered: The Censorship Struggles of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
Tell It Like It Is

NOW with Bill Moyers: Katie Roiphe on pornography, censorship, and feminism

Culture Shock

Seasonal Differences (Afterschool Special)

The Day they Came to Arrest the Book  (Afterschool Special)

Storm Center  (Afterschool Special)

"First Amendment Film Festival," American Library Association, May 29, 2007. (Accessed September 23, 2010) Document ID: 388238