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Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home Paperback – October 12, 2010
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" Delightful bibliophile’s memoir Just try to read this book without nosing around your own shelves"Booklist
"Hill provides us with a reading list the equal of any degree course."The Times (London)
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Top Customer Reviews
The subtitle of the book is A YEAR OF READING FROM HOME, and in it the author travels through her large personal library, selecting forty books to read in a year devoted to capturing literature that she has passed over or meant to read and for some reason didn't.
Her book discussions are peppered with personal recollections of encounters with famous authors. She admits a blind spot for certain classic authors, including Proust. She says "I have read THE YEAR OF READING PROUST by Phyllis Rose, and Alain de Botton's marvellously enlightening, engaging, thought-provoking HOW PROUST CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE but cannot make it through a Proust volume itself.
Mostly though, it is authors she already likes that she is now determined to visit. You may have read part of an author's works, but what of those others you meant to read and didn't. And so she takes a year off from reading new books and devotes herself to reading the old ones in her personal library.
It is a nicely bookish book.
The essays in this book aren't organized in any particular way, so Hill's discourses tend to be a bit random at times; but her writing style is superb, and she writes well about the books she loves and doesn't love. Be warned, however, that there's a fair amount of literary name-dropping (everything from "EM Forster once dropped a book on my foot when I was a student at King's College" to various authors she's been acquainted with over hr literary career), which sort of put me off after a while.
There are also a number of inconsistencies (her husband is a Shakespearean scholar, yet Hill dismisses other Elizabethan poets as not worthy of her time because people have never heard of them; she claims she'll never read a Richard and Judy selection, so why does she keep buying them?). Hill tends to dismiss certain types of books (fantasy, historical fiction) and Australian and Candian authors as not worthy of her time, and her tastes tend to run towards 20th century fiction for the most part.Read more ›
Susan Hill, best known to me for her excellent series of mysteries featuring her detective, Simon Serrailler, doesn't just read. She has a reading life, and in this gently rambling rumination on her books, their place in her house, her life and her heart, she shares that life with her readers. It all begins with Hill's quest for a single book -- Howards End. When she can't locate it, but can locate dozens of other books in her vast collection that seems to occupy every spare inch of wallspace in her Gloucestershire home that she either has never read or wants to re-read, she resolves to spend a year without buying any new books. Instead, she'll read what she already has.
Unlike Phyllis Rose in The Year of Reading Proust: A Memoir in Real Time and other books about reading by authors, this quasi-memoir doesn't require us to accompany Hill as she reads her way through the books and combines her reflections on them with a chronicle of her year of reading and how it changed her life (as the convention would dictate...) Instead, we are given an insight into the process by which she chooses books to read, and ultimately, forces herself to narrow her selection to a mere 40 that she could enjoy reading and re-reading for the rest of her life without ever reading a new book, if required to do so. (Just the thought of being forced to narrow my own reading down that dramatically causes me to shudder in horror.) She reflects on the authors she has encountered -- Iris Murdoch, Ian Fleming -- and those she loves.Read more ›
My first impression was that this is a book for book lovers. A book for people who love to read. The author, Susan Hill, decides she will read nothing but the books she already owns for a whole year. During this time she revisits her favorite comfort books and forgotten books. Pop-up books to poetry. Memoirs and mysteries. On her shelves she encounters books she'll never read and stories she intends to read over and over visiting them again and again like an old friend. I really enjoyed the meditative tone of the book and am excited at the prospects of trying a similar experiment of my own.
The downside of the book is she comes off as a bit of a snob and an incessant name-dropper. It seems 99% of the books she reads are books by British authors. She admittedly has a hard time enjoying books penned by Canadians and can't even bring herself to read a book by an Australian author. Her words, not mine. American authors are okay she says. If she read something by an American during that year, I think she may have read an Arthur Miller play or maybe she simply noted that she owned it. I guess I don't understand how can a person be a well-rounded reader if they refuse to read books from specific countries?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So many of the books and authors are known in the UK. I couldn't find here recommendations in the US.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I wanted to love this so much more than I did. I think because I read another book like this recently, by another author, about the books he loved and that influenced him, this... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Tea&BookLover
I finally read this on vacation this past weekend. It wasn't what I thought it would be, but Hill's essays on the nature of being a reader, and her efforts to reacquaint herself... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Shirley S
I checked this out from the library. I loved the concept. I was in a tumultuous year of moving and upheaval. Read morePublished 21 months ago by mayzey
As a bibliophile, I enjoyed this book about reading books that you know have been sitting on your shelf for years, waiting for someone to find them and read them. Read morePublished 21 months ago by DeAnn Rossetti
I bought the Kindle version-big mistake! this book is all about the love of books, yes the printed ones, so I am now going to buy a real one. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Nigel Mason
A very interesting idea. Nicely written and easy to read. I didn't always share her opinions of the books encountered 'on the landing' but that didn't detract from the reading... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Dr. W. S. Affleck
To all of us who love our books and reread them, to all of us who have books yet unread but stashed away for the right day, this book will speak to our souls!Published on January 10, 2014 by Mary F. Hatton