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Helene Hanff

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

  • Kindly inform the Church of England they have loused up the most beautiful prose ever written, whoever told them to tinker with the Vulgate Latin? They'll burn for it, you mark my words.

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

  • Have you got De Tocqueville's Journey to America? Somebody borrowed mine and never gave it back. Why is it that people who wouldn't dream of stealing anything else think it's perfectly all right to steal books?

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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, U.S. writer, scriptwriter, radio broadcaster

(1916 - 1989)