Howards End Is on the Landing A Year of Reading from Home

Howards End Is on the Landing A Year of Reading from Home

Howards End Is on the Landing A Year of Reading from Home ❮Read❯ ➯ Howards End Is on the Landing A Year of Reading from Home ➳ Author Susan Hill – Early one autumn afternoon in pursuit of an elusive book on her shelves Susan Hill encountered dozens of others that she had never read or forgotten she owned or wanted to read for a second time The d Early one autumn afternoon in pursuit of Is on PDF ☆ an elusive book on her shelves Susan Hill encountered dozens of others that she had never read or forgotten she owned or wanted to read for a second time The discovery inspired her to embark on a year long voyage through her books forsaking new purchases in order to get to know her own collection againA book which is left on a shelf for a decade is a dead thing but it is Howards End eBook ☆ also a chrysalis packed with the potential to burst into new life Wandering through her house that day Hill's eyes were opened to how much of that life was stored in her home neglected for years Howard's End is on the Landing charts the journey of one of the nation's most accomplished authors as she revisits the conversations libraries and bookshelves of the past that have informed a lifetime of reading and writing.

10 thoughts on “Howards End Is on the Landing A Year of Reading from Home

  1. Nandakishore Varma Nandakishore Varma says:

    Old houses tend to collect books especially if the inhabitants are educated and cultured My ancestral home in India is no exception it is than a hundred years old and is literally a refugee camp for books You can see anything from the latest glossy paperback to a mildewed pamphlet from pre Independence days; you can find bound volumes of Walt Disney comics sitting cheek by jowl with hardbacks of the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna And they pop up in the most unlikely places including the bathroom cupboardI still remember when I first discovered Wodehouse I was in my second year of engineering It was a lazy Saturday afternoon and there was nothing to read – for me an intolerable situation So I prowled around searching for anything at all and came upon a moth eaten hardbound book its dust jacket long gone the cover showed a man in butler’s attire chasing a portly boy The title was The Inimitable Jeeves I opened the book scanned the first page and sat down to read – and got up when the sun was setting Plum had obtained another diehard fanI was reminded of this incident when I read the following sentence from the book under review A book which is left on a shelf is a dead thing but it is also a chrysalis an inanimate object packed with the potential to burst into new lifeYes indeed Susan hill went on a search to locate a particular book Howard’s End by E M Forester which was ultimately discovered on the landing – but that search took her across her own library and through countless read and unread books So she took a decision to stop buying new books stay away from the internet and revisit her old favourites Too much internet usage fragments the brain and dissipates concentration so that after a while one’s ability to spend long focused hours immersed in a single subject becomes blunted information comes pre digested in small pieces one grazes on endless ready meals and snacks of the mind and the result is mental malnutritionThe result is this wonderful tome a memoir and a book of literary criticism rolled into one It is a delightful enterprise to accompany this accomplished novelist on her wanderings around the house meeting your own favourites and new authors along the wayThere was my childhood favourite Enid Blyton; Enid Blyton’s books did for my generation and several generations since what JK Rowling’s have done recently– broke that invisible barrier between children who are natural born readers and children who are notI lived with those boys and girls who were around my own age but lived far interesting lives with nicer houses fun parents greater freedom to gallop about the countryside on horses take out boats and bikes and go hiking and mountain climbing There were villains there was danger they got into scrapes yet their world was essentially serene and safe and for the duration of the story I like many thousands of other readers between the ages of seven and twelve or so was wholly absorbed in it These were my friends and companions I was one of the Five and the Seven I went to the Mountain of Adventure and Spooky Cottage I was in the Fifth at Malory TowersThe inimitable Charles Dickens; A perfect flawless Dickens would somehow be a shrunken impoverished one Yes he is sentimental yes he has purple passages yes his plots sometimes have dropped stitches yes some of his characters are uite tiresome But his literary imagination was the greatest ever his world of teeming life is as real as has ever been invented his conscience his passion for the underdog the poor the cheated the humiliated are godlike He created an array of varied vibrant living breathing men and women and children that is breathtaking in its scopeSusan Hill has the same problem with Joyce that I have and the same opinionNor can I read Ulysses though Stephen Fry cleverer and better read than anyone I know swears by it He told me that it was just a uestion of diving in and swimming fast Not for me it wasn’t I drowned But I will go to the gallows to uphold the right of Ulysses to be called a classicAnd this observation about one of my favourite authors was so spot on that I almost whooped in delight Dahl was one of those geniuses who happen along only very rarely in the world of children’s literature someone who was totally in tune with the child’s way of thinking and view of life and with exactly what children needed from their stories His language like his characters like his plots is sometimes anarchic a firework display of inventiveness He gave permission to children to be true to their real selves not the selves grown ups were trying to turn them into let alone those their parents fondly imagine them to be That is why children respond to his books and probably always will His stories are timeless in their appeal because the uality of insight is recognised by each new generation Ms Hill makes a lot of insightful observations about how literature works The fact that these are expressed in simple words does not take anything away from the profundity of the insightNovelist’s stories sometimes wear a slight air of pointlessness as if they were made out of leftovers – either that or the novelist has never uite found the short story voiceLove is the most difficult thing to write about successfully It is the litmus test of greatness in a novelist if a love story moves and convinces and never once makes the reader grimace smirk or feel embarrassed Modern novelists are bad at writing about love because they feel that it has to mean writing explicitly about sexSlow reading is deeply satisfying I read two or three chapters of To the Lighthouse or Little Dorrit or The Age of Innocence or Midnight’s Children and stop go back look at how the sentences and paragraphs are put together how the narrative works how a character is brought to life But I want to think about what I have read before I move on for only in this way will I appreciate the whole as being both the sum of and than the sum of its partsSusan Hill is by no means a literary snob She is a reader first and foremost who takes pleasure in the written word Which is why she can sayHowever great a writer is – Proust say or James Joyce the fact that so very many wiling and intelligent readers find them difficult even impenetrable is surely a mark albeit in pencil against themandBut if the lives of children in Elizabethan England or a magical country called Narnia and stories about creatures called Moomins are a means of escape from the often dull and tiresome everyday world as well as being good books what is the argument against that? Computer games are escapist going to football matches or the cinema or watching soaps or costume drama on television are al forms of escapism We need someReading all said and done is an escape from a reality that would drive us mad if we look at it suarely in the face It is a drug but one with no after effects It is an addiction that one does not want to cure As I climbed to the top of the house I came upon a book here on a stair another book there on a window ledge a small pile of books on the step outside a bedroom door and saw that half of the books here lead a peripatetic life never knowing where they will be expected to lay their heads next while the rest sleep soundly for years in the same position uite undisturbed But as in the fairy tales sooner or later someone wakes you even from a sleep of a hundred years and so I have woken books and taken them out shaken them and slapped them on the back opened them to the light and fresh air sneezing as the dust has puffed up from their pages It must have been a shock for them Or perhaps it was a wonderful liberation as they were brought back to life and fresh purpose like Lazarus for a book which is closed and unread is not alive it is only packed like a foetus with potentialWas it a shock or a liberation for Jeeves as he was woken up from a decades long sleep on a sleepy summer afternoon by a bored Indian teenager? Whatever it must have been I am sure he would have raised the corner of his lip one sixteenth of an inch and said “I am glad to have given satisfaction sir”This is a wonderful read

  2. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    I found this utterly compelling up to oh about page six After that it swiftly moved from the mildly interesting to the mostly annoying at times I exclaimed to myself 'how did she get to know CP Snow at age eighteen and how did she end up babysitting for Arnold Wesker and how did she manage to get her first novel published at eighteen view spoiler though I suppose that answers itself if you are baby sitting for leading literary figures i am sure it is easier to find a publisher who will take you seriously hide spoiler

  3. Richard Derus Richard Derus says:

    Rating 35 of fiveThe Publisher Says Early one autumn afternoon in pursuit of an elusive book on her shelves Susan Hill encountered dozens of others that she had never read or forgotten she owned or wanted to read for a second time The discovery inspired her to embark on a year long voyage through her books forsaking new purchases in order to get to know her own collection againA book which is left on a shelf for a decade is a dead thing but it is also a chrysalis packed with the potential to burst into new life Wandering through her house that day Hill's eyes were opened to how much of that life was stored in her home neglected for years Howard's End is on the Landing charts the journey of one of the nation's most accomplished authors as she revisits the conversations libraries and bookshelves of the past that have informed a lifetime of reading and writing My Review Haven't all of us who possess a lot of books done this? “I will not buy a new book until I have read x from my shelves” Uh huh “No seriously THIS year I mean it I'm not buying a book Not one No” Mmm hmmm “Really I WILL NOT” Yes dearI have no idea how Ms Hill fared in her commitment not to buy any new books for a year I suspect poorly but I'm a suspicious old bugger I am I read this lovely memoir of her her reading life with pleasure because she told me enough about the books that sparked the memories she shares for me to capture my own memories of the books or to latch on to her sense of them their place in her life and the overall effect is to offer her own context as well as the book'sI like that idea I like to read what other readers think about when they're reading or after they've finished or even before they've decided what to read next Makes sense doesn't it here on this site? And when that reader has written some very very popular books published some very good books and talked about books on radio television and stage I mean Go fight those odds I had to read this book And then re read it I loved the experience of both and would never ask for those eyeblinks backThere are two passages I've come to and come back to multiple times One is from author David Cecil's book Library Looking Glass A Personal Anthology a tome and a writer absolutely unknown to my poorly educated little ol' Texan self; while Ms Hill does a wee bit of Internet bashing at the beginning of this book I found Mother Internet most helpful in digging up a potted biography on Wikipedia of this fourth child of a maruess and father of an actor an historian and a literary agent He was a very old school gent and deeply deeply steeped in a bygone literary tradition author of books on Tennyson and Max Beerbohm and Dorothy Osborneye gods how grisly it all sounds to my ear But then Hill uotes this from his 1975 “Personal Anthology”It is often said that mankind needs a faith if the world is to be improved In fact unless the faith is vigilantly and regularly checked by a sense of man's fallibility it is likely to make the world worse From Toruemada to Robespierre and Hitler the men who have made mankind suffer the most have been inspired to do so have been inspired to do so by a strong faith; so strong that it led them to think their crimes were acts of virtue necessary to help them achieve their aim which was to build some sort of an ideal kingdom on earthpp156 157 English softcover editionOh yes indeed Lord David Oh yes indeed and so well said Hardly a surprise I suppose this gift he shows there with the gab given the amount and the uality of the poetry he spent his life reading analyzing delving into parsing disassembling and reassembling and explicating to generations of young scholars But how surprising how very satisfying to find in a book about someone else's readerly DNA a hitherto uncatalogued strand of my ownHill meditates on the subject of what forms a person on readerly DNA later in the book The passage is one I found calling out to me while I was reading other books and I marked it for easy access It has helped me understand the reasons that I read and the reasons that I decide not to read certain books or genres or authorsBooks help to form us If you cut me open will you find volume after volume page after page the contents of every one I have ever read somehow transmuted and transformed into me? But if the books I have read have helped to form me then probably nobody else who ever lived has read exactly the same books all the same books and only the same books as me So just as my genes and the soul within me make me uniuely me so I am the uniue sum of the books I have read I am my literary DNApp201 202 English softcover editionIt is the reason I am so interested in what others who like me crave the written story and the printed book have to say about their reading and their lives We're all made of a uniue set of genes and a uniue formula of books It makes us deeply flawed and deeply interesting Even as I turned the pages of the book again and sometimes two or three times to re read and re savor some lovely or lively moment of memory or of sensory pleasure even as I contemplated my own version of this book I was aware of a sense of want a lack of something I was expecting and not getting It feels churlish to bring it up but it's the reason I've given the book a half star less than I would have otherwise Please forgive the nosy American Ms Hill butso? And you are? I'm asking for a wee little bit of your CV your activities in somenot a great deal just some detail than you give The small bits of personal information that are here are those that a very congenial acuaintance would provide and I have the sense that is exactly and precisely what was intended to be offeredBut we're all readers here ma'am We're all in the club A tell all dishfest on le monde litteraire? No not this book though one of those would be lovelybut a few lines of whys and hows and whos would not have come amiss nor would a sense of your place in life as the discoveries you limn for us have weighed down the narrative undulyA minor cavil A delight of a book My warmest personal thanks from England's 1644 colonial foundation on Long Island to the Long Barn

  4. Karie Westermann Karie Westermann says:

    I adore books about books and when I saw a Guardian Book Review of this book I was interested Unfortunately this book is not so much a book about books nor a book about reading as much as it is a book about People Susan Hill Has Met Did you know she had lunch with Benjamin Britten who liked her novel? That she once waited on a doorstep with TS Eliot? EM Forster once stepped on her toes? Kingsley Amis once said to her in 'a genuine tone' that he was very proud of his son? That she interviewed one Sitwell and didn't impress another Sitwell? That Bruce Chatwin's parents lived doors down from her? And so it goes onI had hoped for a book about book lovers' uirks; a book about what happens when your home is littered with books; a book with gentle smart readings of the author's favourite books I certainly did not get any of that but did you know that Susan Hill was once on a reading panel with Roald Dahl?Back to Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris and Alberto Maguel's A History of Reading then

  5. Susan Susan says:

    Having noted there is a further volume by Susan Hill about her reading life “Jacob’s Room is Full of Books” I decided to go back and re read the wonderful “Howard’s End is On the Landing” In this volume Hill decides to re discover her own book collection by spending a year just reading the books in her house Like all readers I tend to have endless amounts of books to get through – books to review reading group choices and all those new purchases that are begging to be read Although I have books everywhere in my house a lack of room has meant that I have happily switched most of my reading to what Hill refers to as a ”wretched e reader” but I cannot say that I find much difference between reading books or reading on my kindle When commuting travelling or just reading in bed I find my kindle comfortable and after all it is what is contained within the book that is important to me than the format That said I can see why Susan Hill an author and publisher is keen to promote reading books and I agree with her that some books need to be read as such– especially those for children and she discusses much about the joys of pop up and picture books Obviously as an author she has also met many great authors and is willing to share stories about her encounters with some of the greats of the literary world However it is really when she wanders her bookshelves that she opens up and talks about what these books and authors mean to her – Dickens Virginia Woolf Elizabeth Bowen Thomas Hardy travel writing forgotten authors diaries humour libraries and are all covered in this delightful memoir I did not agree with all her choices; I love Proust and Thomas Mann and Jane Austen all authors she finds difficult; but likewise I struggle with some books and authors that she loves What we both share is a love of reading and for any reader this book is a delight It may even lead you to new books and authors and a sense that you have your own collection to explore anew

  6. Ingrid Ingrid says:

    What's not to love about books about books and with this wonderful cover and title I just had to delve in pen and notebook in hand And it did not let me down I had uite some exercise reading a few lines getting up from my chair to go to my book cases to see if I had this or that book to the computer to read up about the author and back to my chair to pick up the book again

  7. Connie G Connie G says:

    Susan Hill was looking for Howards End in her cozy farmhouse filled with unorganized bookshelves As she searched she came across many unread books as well as well as some old favorites that she would love to reread She decided to spend a year reading only books in her possession with the exception of library academic books and books sent for her to reviewShe takes us on a delightful journey through her her books as she describes her old wooden farmhouse Bookshelves fill every room although she avoids the books belonging to SP or Shakespeare Professor Stanley Wells her husband She has anecdotes about books she read at school authors she interviewed on her radio show and others she met at parties Hill is a well known author herself and had written thirty seven books when this book was published She is also a publisher so she appreciates fine paper attractive fonts and the feel of a paper book in her handsShe writes about her books with the warmth that one feels on seeing an old friend again Hill has a fondness for classic books and British authors especially some of the 20th Century writers She discussed some authors in individual chapters with Virginia Wolfe as a favorite authorI enjoyed Howards End is on the Landing and found a few books to add to my reading list There is a list of forty books which she decided to read during the year They are not described as the best forty books ever written just the forty treasured books that were calling to her to be read at this time This is a charming memoir using books as a focus since Hill's life has revolved around books as an author an interviewer a reviewer and a publisher

  8. cj cj says:

    Being a book about books I thought it was a pretty sure thing that I would really like this And I did enjoy it devoured it uickly and was inspired to gaze adoringly at my bookshelves and reminded of various authors I want to read But I also found it a little bit irritating there's rather a lot of what can feel like name dropping and Hill's dismissal of e readers of certain authors and of you know the literary production of entire nations 'I have a problem with Canadian as I do with Australian writers' well okay got on my nerves and made this feel rather stuffy not as generous spirited and open as I want a book about book loving to be I sympathise on the e readers thing but I was also reminded while reading that they might be uite useful to those who unlike Susan Hill don't have room for three separate complete editions of Hardy in their home You know?Another example from page fifty which is where I started getting cross 'The book Bruce Chatwin was promoting was called The Songlines and was about Australian aborigines in whom I had then as now little interest'This just the tone of this really irritates me It makes me feel like the last thing Susan Hill should be doing is spending a year reading from home Thousands of books though she may have her literary world actually felt rather small

  9. Halli Halli says:

    For the most part I liked it little gems of uotes here and there but all in all I found Susan Hill pretentious and severely name dropping I enjoyed her experience in literally running into E M Forster but after the first couple of run ins with prevalent authors it just gets old She's entirely British thinking which I can appreciate but not when she's letting her reader know that obviously they haven't lived if they didn't have experience with a certain amateur printing press all because she wanted to be like Virginia Woolf Sooooooooooooooo I love me a good book memoir and there were partssectionssmall essays that I enjoyed reading because I felt as if I had found another kindred spirit when it comes to reading but alas an individual that has become famous by writing and well were we to meet in life I do not think I would enjoy her company Oh and I love opening a book smelling feeling etc but I am proud to say that I own a Kindle and I refuse to be ashamed of it

  10. Michael Michael says:

    While searching for a specific book from her library Susan Hill discovered that the book was not where she thought it would be However she did discover many books that she had not read or deserved a re read This inspired a new reading project to spend the next year dipping into her own library and read the books she has forsaken Howards End is on the Landing not necessarily charts her reading but Susan Hill’s opinions on literature and the bookish worldFirst thing you discover is that Susan Hill’s house is full of books not sorted and no order She had to search for the book she was looking for expecting it in the one place but not finding it I love having my library like this I recently had to look for my copy of Anna Karenina and I just loved looking at all my books and remembering the stories and memories that go with each one This is the basic premise of this memoir; Hill goes through her bookshelves and shares memories and thoughts she has about the state of literatureSusan Hill goes on talking about her thoughts on being an author the publishing world self publishing libraries bookshelves re reading and even the joys of reading slowly I have recently discovered the joys of re reading and reading slowly so on so many thoughts Hall and I were on the same page Even though we come from different lives it was such a joy reading a book devoted to her memories of all the books that sit on her shelves and scattered across her houseI have tried to spend a year not buying any new books in the hopes to read of the books on my shelves It did not work I did however discover how great the library is and started using my local library I also discovered how easy it is to get books without having to spend money especially ARCs The book buying ban did not work I still have shelves full of books I still need to read I know my taste in literature has drastically changed and I am not sure if I should cull some of these books even if I have never read themThe end of Howards End is on the Landing talks about if she had to cut down her library to forty books which ones she will keep The thought of culling your library so drastically terrifies me but I did enjoy pondering which books I would keep if I did have to cull that much Or maybe my house burnt down which books I would rebuy to start my new collection I know Frankenstein Crime and Punishment Lolita and most of the books on my favourite’s shelf would remain However it is not about picking favourites about picking the books you would like to read over and over again Which makes for an interesting thought processI am interested in the topic of memoirs in association with books like what is found in Howards End is on the Landing My memories with this memoir will be closely associated with sitting in a hospital in Nouméa as my mother in law passed away It gives me mixed feelings to love a book so much in such a sad time for my family I even read this as an eBook on my phone an experience I do not enjoy either but it was convenient than carrying a book aroundI found Howards End is on the Landing to be one of the better books about books out there I am disappointed that my memories of it will be attached to such a tragic event I found Susan Hill to be very tender towards her love of books while remaining unafraid to express why she did not like a book She is never dismissive of the books she did not enjoy she just does not have the desire to read them I think it would be a hard balance to get that balance right without sounding like a cranky reader Howards End is on the Landing will hold a special place in my heart and I do hope others get a chance to read itThis book originally appeared on my blog;

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