Organize Your Speech - My favorite book

Vickie - Fluency


“Hey, mom, what are you doing?”
“Oh, I am writing Xmas card.”
“Writing, writing, did you say writing?”
“Yes, I am writing Xmas cards.”
“Oh, mom, you are really LKK, and I am really AKS, AKS to you (
‘Why? Writing is good for you”
“Oh, mom, this is 21 century.  Nobody writes anymore.  Don't you call yourself a computer woman?  Computer will
    do everything, everything for you.  Don't write, just sent e-card will be fine.” 

Ladies and gentlemen did your son or daughter ever talked to you like that?  Or you, just like my daughter doesn't even write any letter anymore?  Let's make a little survey here, how many of you still write Xmas cards to your friends or relatives? …. Not many. 

Maybe you don't believe it, but I love to write even though I know very well of sending cards through computer.  In fact, I have been sending Xmas cards to all my friends living abroad for the past ten years. After listening my speech, maybe you will like to try writing and maybe you will find something amazing that you never know.  

What I am going to introduce to you is a book full of written letters.  The book is called “84 Charing Cross Road.” the book is very thin, only 97 pages, 420 dollars!! 

  Wow, 420 dollars!! Gee, 3 dollars for 1 page. Our Jolin is not going to like this at all.   

Anyway! Once I began, I couldn't stop; I fell in love with this tiny book right the way.  The story is very simple.  Helen, a poor writer, lives in New York.  She is very reluctant to go outside, not even to the post office a few blocks away from her apartment. But she loves to read, so she orders books from Frank Doel.  Frank opens a bookshop in London, and the location of the bookstore is “84 Charing Cross Road.” This book is a collection of letters between two of them and has been translated to many languages and even a film of it. 

Why I like this book so much.

1.      99% of the letters are less than one page long. 
      The vocabulary is very simply.

Yes, short and simple, but they are full of passion and are so beautiful and vividly written. For example, one of the staff members wrote to Helen, “Dear Helene; So sorry I have been so long in dropping you a line.” which means “long time no see.” When Helene didn't receive books from Frank, she complained “Well, don't just sit there! Go find the book! I swear I don't know how that shop keeps going?“ “You keep going at this rate; you're gonna give yourself a heart attack.” Wow, what a temper she got” Or when Helene sent out the Xmas parcel to London. She wrote “that whole Xmas parcel cost less than my turkey.”  And when Frank received meat and eggs from Helen. He said “It is a long time since we saw so much meat all in one piece.” Aren't them simple and full of live that we can learn and use in our Toastmasters script writing? 

So, despite the cost and some English book's names that Helene liked to buy were alien to us. 

This book is still a book I would recommend, especially for a beginner. Because not only can you learn how to write a simple and beautiful English letter but you also get a picture of post war Britain and New York. Even though it is not a fiction, but there is still a touching story behind it. You would always ask yourself will Helen and Frank ever meet.  Was there an intimate relationship between Frank and Helen? And then at the ending, you would start to imagine someday you may want to visit the book store in London. And you also start to wonder how can two totally strangers develop a touching and warm relationships for over 20 years. But the most important thing is please pick up your pen and start to write.  Of course you have to write for a long time, not only 1 or 2 days.  Because you never know, someday, maybe you will be just like Helene, a famous writer, a best seller author, and …….a millionaire.