Famous Quotes & Sayings

Helene Hanff Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 44 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Helene Hanff.

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Helene Hanff Quotes 583107

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? — Helene Hanff

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I've been sitting on the edge of the bed for an hour in a complete daze. I told him if I die tonight I'll die happy, it's all here, everything's here. — Helene Hanff

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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. — Helene Hanff

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All my life I've wanted to see London. [ ... ] I wanted to see London the way old people want to see home before they die. — Helene Hanff

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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. — Helene Hanff

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All the rare-book dealers regaled me with stories of the trade. They told me that after the war there were too many books and not enough bookshop space, so all the dealers in London BURIED hundreds of old books in the open bomb craters of London streets. Today the buried books would be worth a fortune if they could be recovered, if the new buildings could be torn down and the rebuilt streets torn up. I had a sudden vision of an atomic war destroying everything in the world, except here and there an old book lying where it fell when it was blasted up out of the depths of London. — Helene Hanff

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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 realise I can recite pages 21 and 22 from memory. Then I put the book away for a few years. — Helene Hanff

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All that gleaming leather and gold stamping and beautiful type belongs in the pine-panelled library of an English country home; it wants to be read by the fire in a gentleman's leather easy chair--not on a secondhand studio couch in a one-room hovel in a broken-down brownstone front. — Helene Hanff

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I am going to bed. i will have nightmares involving huge monsters in academic robes carrying long bloody butcher knives labeled Excerpt, Selection, Passage, and Abridged. — Helene Hanff

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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'. — Helene Hanff

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

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Nobody over here [in England] says 'six-thirty' or 'seven-thirty', they say 'hoppussix' and 'hoppusseven'. And 'in' at home is 'trendy' here and 'give it up' is 'pack it in' and 'never mind!' is 'not to worry!' ... and as Shaw once observed, we are two countries divided by a common language. I am now going to bed because it's quataposstwelve. — Helene Hanff

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I love him to death, there's an Edwardian finishing touch to everything he does. — Helene Hanff

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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. — Helene Hanff

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

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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. — Helene Hanff

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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. — Helene Hanff

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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. — Helene Hanff

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Buying a book you've never read is like buying a dress you've never tried on — Helene Hanff

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

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There are many ways of doing it but Mummy and I think this is the simplest for you to try. Put a cup of flour, an egg, a half cup of milk and a good shake of salt into a large bowl and beat altogether until it is the consistency of thick cream. Put in the frig for several hours. (It's best if you make it in the morning.) When you put your roast in the oven, put in an extra pan to heat. Half an hour before your roast is done, pour a bit of the roast grease into the baking pan, just enough to cover the bottom will do. The pan must be very hot. Now pour the pudding in and the roast and pudding will be ready at the same time. — Helene Hanff

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WILL YOU TELL MEGAN WELLS SHE IS OUT OF HER COTTONPICKING MIND? if she's that bored with civilization why doesn't she just move to a siberian salt mine? — Helene Hanff

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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. — Helene Hanff

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I fail to see why you did not understand that groceryman, he did not call it "ground ground nuts," he called it "ground ground-nuts" which is the only really SENSible thing to call it. Peanuts grow in the GROUND and are therefore GROUND-nuts, and after you take them out of the ground you grind them up and you have ground ground-nuts, which is a much more accurate name than peanut butter, you just don't understand English. — Helene Hanff

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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. — Helene Hanff

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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. — Helene Hanff

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Why should I run all the way down to 17th St. to buy dirty, badly made books whenI can buy clean, beautiful ones
from you without leaving the typewriter? From whereI sit,London's a lot closer than 17th Street. — Helene Hanff

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You leave me sitting here writing long margin notes in library books that don't belong to me, some day they'll find out i did it and take my library card away. — Helene Hanff

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I tell you, life is extraordinary. A few years ago I couldn't write anything or sell anything, I'd passed the age where you know all the returns are in, I'd had my chance and done my best and failed. And how was I to know the miracle waiting to happen round the corner in late middle age? 84, Charing Cross Road was no best seller, you understand; it didn't make me rich or famous. It just got me hundreds of letters and phone calls from people I never knew existed; it got me wonderful reviews; it restored a self-confidence and self-esteem I'd lost somewhere along the way, God knows how many years ago. It brought me to England. It changed my life. — Helene Hanff

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All my scripts have artistic backgrounds
ballet, concert hall, opera
and all the suspects and corpses are cultured, maybe I'll do one about the rare book business in your honor, do you want to be the murderer or the corpse? — Helene Hanff

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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.'
Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. Looking around the rug one thing's for sure: it's here. — Helene Hanff

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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. — Helene Hanff

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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. — Helene Hanff

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

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Please write and tell me about London, I live for the day when I step off the boat-train and feel its dirty sidewalks under my feet. I want to walk up Berkeley Square and down Wimpole Street and stand in St.Paul's where John Donne preached and sit on the step Elizabeth sat on when she refused to enter the Tower, and like that. A newspaper man I know, who was stationed in London during the war, says tourists go to England with preconceived notions, so they always find exactly what they go looking for. I told him I'd go looking for the England of English literature, and he said:
Then it's there. — Helene Hanff

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I go through life watching the english language being raped before me face, like miniver cheevy, i was born too late.
and like miniver cheevy i cough and call it fate and go on drinking. — Helene Hanff

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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. — Helene Hanff

Helene Hanff Quotes 1581961

I shall be obliged if you will send Nora and the girls to church every Sunday for the next month to pray for the continued health and strength of the messrs. gilliam, reese, snider, campanella, robinson, hodges, furillo, podres, necombe and labine, collectively known as the The Brooklyn Dodgers. If they lose this World Series I shall Do Myself In and then where will you be? — Helene Hanff

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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? — Helene Hanff

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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 be page, AND WRAP THINGS IN IT. — Helene Hanff

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

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

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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. — Helene Hanff

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I houseclean my books every spring and throw out those I'm never going to read again like I throw out clothes I'm never going to wear again. — Helene Hanff