Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill

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Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill

Category: Autobiography
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Elaine Dingsdale
Reviewed by Elaine Dingsdale
Summary: A wonderful look through the library of renowned author Susan Hill. This is a delightful little memoir which serves the dual purpose of showing the reader what the author likes to read (and why), and also giving a few ideas of what we, the reader, might like to read along the way!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Profile Books
ISBN: 978-1846682650

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Esteemed author, Susan Hill challenges herself to a year of not buying books, and re-reading some of her vast collection: not a terribly original idea, but an intriguing one nonetheless. Most avid readers will no doubt have made similar vows at some point in their lives (I know I have…) Early in the memoir, Ms Hill does admit that for professional purposes she will continue to review books sent to her - but buying/obtaining for pleasure, is to be out of bounds. In the course of guiding us through her vast and eclectic collection, scattered throughout her home, she also sets herself the task of choosing her top 40 books - and comes up with a very erudite selection.

I have long been a huge fan of Ms Hill, so naturally this book immediately appealed to me - who can resist a peep into the world of our favourite authors? We are guided through the collection in a delightfully random fashion - the author has no system of cataloguing her books, and an offer by a friend to sort them, had her shivering with fear! So we stumble across long forgotten, but much loved gems on her shelves, in somewhat arbitrary locations - it's rather like mooching through a wonderful second hand bookshop, never quite knowing what the next stack will reveal.

Not only are we guided through the books, but treated to precise and explicit reminiscences of the time and place they were read, and why they were so important to her. But perhaps the most intriguing sections were those which dealt with meeting the authors - it was wonderful to read about her meeting with T.S Eliot, amusing to hear of her tales of Roald Dahl - and moving in the extreme to listen to her contemplations of Iris Murdoch.

By the end of the memoir, she has chosen her 40 can't live without books - an interesting and varied collection which I think most of us would be proud to own. Quite how successful Ms Hill's quest will be to steer clear of book buying remains to be seen, but regardless of the outcome, she set herself a difficult task, but one which appeared to bring her (and the reader), huge pleasure. Shall I try to do the same……

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If the idea of looking through someone's books appeals to you then you will love Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman.

Buy Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill at

Buy Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill at


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