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

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,551 ratings  ·  311 reviews
This is a year of reading from home, by one of Britain's most distinguished authors. 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...more
Hardcover, 236 pages
Published October 8th 2009 by Profile Books
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Book Description: 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 again.

A book which is left on a shelf for a decade is a dead thing, but it is also a chrysalis, packed with the po...more
Mark
Really clever memoir. Susan Hill, searching for one book uncovers oodles that she had forgotten she had, forgotten she had read, didn't rememeber ever having seen before. If this sounds familiar you'll really enjoy this traipse through literature. Wonderfully ' name-droppy ' ( I know there is no such word but it fits I assure you ). In a year when she decides to buy no new books, (Good grief) and opts to re-discover her own collection ( Hmmmm, interesting ) She reflects on the power of books, th...more
Karina Westermann
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? E.M. 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 interv...more
Bev Hankins
Books 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 into me? Alice in Wonderland. The Magic Faraway Tree. The Hound of the Baskervilles. The Book of Job. Bleak House. Wuthering Heights. The Complete Poems of W. H. Auden. The Tale of Mr. Tod. Howards End. What a strange person I must be. But if the books I have read have helped to form me, then probably nobody else who ever lived has read exa...more
Brian Robbins
Loved the book on my 2nd re-read. This time limited myself to one chapter per night at end of day. Almost managed to keep to my resolution - well almost most of the time. Had the feel of an enjoyable conversation about books. Perhaps the favourite of anumber of favourite moments was her touching portrait of Charles Causley. Increased the 'to read list' further than many enthusiasts have.
Louise Turner
I loved this book about books, authors, and the pleasures of reading. When the author was looking for her misplaced copy of Howard's End she noticed many unread books on her shelves and determined that for a year she would buy no new books, but simply read from those she already had. Each chapter is a consideration of the books she owns and authors she has met, along with thoughts about such things as the things that fall out of books, how important a title is to the success of a book, children'...more
Halli
For the most part I liked it, little gems of quotes 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 s...more
Sydney
I found this book annoying. I expected a thoughtful approach to reading — what we read, what we neglect, what we return to — but much of the text is self-aggrandizing (Ms. Hill has published many novels and knows many authors). Even comments on the great writer E.M. Forster are limited to the time she ran into him at the British Library. Ms. Hill is approximately my age, so she has lived through the second half of the 20th century and seen the wonderful explosion in literature in diverse voices....more
Terri Jacobson
The author of this book is an English professor and a writer and publisher herself. She found her house to be overflowing with books, and decided not to buy any new books for 1 year and only read things that were already in her library. Hill's musings on different works of literature were quite insightful. I liked how she emphasizes reading slowly enough to really appreciate the language and the story:

"Everything I am reading during this year has so much to yield but only if I give it my full at...more
Felice
I do not keep every book that makes it's way into my house. If I start it and don't like it, out it goes. Most times even if I loved it, it leaves. I keep a few much loved books, books that I want to pass onto a friend, books to give a niece or nephew when they reach the right age and any and all knitting books that I come in contact with. But. Those count as reference, right? We can take those out of the equation. And... I don't need to dust more and since love won't dust I have to have a might...more
Catherine
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 quickly 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...more
DJ



I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!
And not only because it was the very last Book that Husband bought me at the end of the first Decade of this Millenium,or even because he had arranged to take me on New Years Eve to my most Favourite Bookshop in the World-THE WATERMILL in Aberfeldy,although I have to admit that it does give it a "je ne sais quoi" all of it`s own.
This book is written by Susan Hill ( many of you may know her as the author who wrote "Mrs De Winter"-a sequel to REBECCA ),I have some of this Auth...more
Choco
Oct 03, 2011 Choco marked it as unfinished
"There is no doubt that of the thousands of new books published every year many are excellent and some will stand the test of time. A few will become classics. But I wanted to stand back and let the dust settle on everything new, while I set off on a journey through my books (p. 3 )."

This book is about the author's journey to read only books from her collection for a year. It is intriguing, but it didn't feel like the right time for me to read it. (I only skimmed through, so it doesn't have a ra...more
Rachel
I have savoured this book slowly much as I do a bar of good quality chocolate, a chapter at the time. I've really enjoyed it.

I would love to have a look around the author's house. I bet there are quite a few rare books there and some really quirky ones from what she says in this memoir. I also wonder quite how large it is - how many landings and vast shelves which house hundreds of books can it have?! (743 books on ONE...!)

As for the name dropping element which has irritated other readers of thi...more
Ellie
I loved the premise of this book. The author went to one of her shelves to find a book, but it wasn't there. While looking for it she found many, many other books that she had intended to read, or re-read. She decided to spend a year enjoying the books already on her shelves, instead of buying new ones. I can relate! But from there, the book rambles a bit; she goes through various genres of books, and talks about her likes and dislikes. You rarely hear what she's reading or re-reading; the book...more
Ali
Read on kindle


This book is a fairly quick read, and I would think an absolute must for all book lovers and voracious readers. Those of us with a lot of books in pour houses (although I have far fewer than Susan Hill) have those which we have read several times, those we have never read and those which seem to have appeared without us realising. This is a book about how those books of Susan Hill's got there, what they mean, or why they have so far remained ignored. Susan Hill decided to spend a y...more
Julie Davis
This was all the rage a little while ago (in book reading time) and the library finally filled my long-standing request. Having something like 9 books I'm partway into (including audio), I knew I'd better wait to begin this. I read the first chapter to make sure I'd be interested and Susan Hill's beautiful, expressive prose swept me away for an hour before I looked up.

This is more than the standard recounting of "book's I've read and loved" as Hill incorporates the brief memories that each elic...more
Celtria
I really liked this charming read: a memoir of a literary life as seen through Susan Hill's bookshelves and the memories conjured from them of the writers she has met - and Benjemin Britten.

Hill gives the reader an interesting, quirky in places, steady read, offering her personal views and opinions on particular books and authors(she doesn't like Jane Austen so she gets my vote!), the place for books and reading in our lives, the future of the book, and more.

From the book: "Book collections grow...more
Lee-Anne
So not worth the effort! Effusive name-dropping and self-aggrandizing between two pretty covers. Yes, she's met or brushed up against loads of interesting writers in her life. Yes, she had a novel published at 18. Yes, she's all very clever and well read. And annoying. Don't forget annoying... This book reads more like an inventory of her bookshelves and very little about her actually reading them. The kicker was her dismissal of all Canadian and Australian writers as not worthy. How's that for...more
Lesa
A week ago on Facebook, I discussed Helene Hanff's wonderful book of letters, 84, Charing Cross Road, and a friend recommended another book. She said I definitely needed to read Susan Hill's Howards End is on the Landing. Hill's tastes are a little more literary than mine, but there's a shared passion for books. Since Hill lives in England, some of the titles were British, so I wasn't familiar with them, or, in some cases, even the authors. However, it's a wonderful book for discovery.

Hill was l...more
ladydusk
Inter-Library Loan because my library doesn't have it. I wish I owned it, wish I could even get it on Kindle.

I loved this book from the beginning, or even from before starting it. I loved her Magic Apple Tree which I read earlier in 2014 and was excited to start. Her writing is down-to-earth and straightforward while being crisp and light and amused. She isn't self-deprecating yet doesn't hide her weaknesses either.

She name drops other authors matter-of-factly; she has met these people and they...more
Lynsey
Both good and bad aspects to this book. I enjoyed finding out about Hill's life and her take on some books, but overall it felt rushed, full of slightly tiresome name dropping and occassionally just not enough ('Don't start reading Eliot with Middlemarch' Why? What should I read instead?!). Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it, and got a few more additions to my to-read list. :)
Sally
I'm sorry. I think I expected this book to be one way, and it was another. Several others, in fact. It seemed at first to be about the books she owned, which ones were worth re-reading and why, but then she didn't say much about what she was reading, other than brief passing references. Instead, she seemed to use the books as a springboard for reminiscing about past events and people in her life. But some of those seemed almost boastful, such as "I stood on the same doorstep as T.S. Eliot!" So I...more
Readnponder
British novelist Susan Hill was looking for her copy of "Howards End" when she realized how many books were in her house which she had not read. She attributes some of the backlog to buying a paperback as a healthier alternative to a chocolate bar. (Personally, I'd buy both.) So she decided to set aside a year to "read from home," meaning the books in her collection. This book chronicles her literary adventures in the different rooms of her house.

The chapters are short and each deals with a diff...more
Darlene
What a great book! I picked this book up a few days ago and started reading it while waiting for my daughter and I was hooked from the first page! Author Susan Hill describes searching for a particular book in her home and not being able to find it. What she DID discover, however, were dozens of books that she had bought but had never read and books that she had read and loved and wanted to read again. She decided to spend a year 'reading from home'.. she bought no new books ... she simply read...more
Heather
Not reading the books I already own: this is a problem I have, a common problem, it seems, and Susan Hill had it too. So she decided, one day while hunting for a book on her shelves and not finding it (but finding lots of other interesting books), that she would spend a year reading only books from her own shelves.

Howards End is on the Landing, the book that came out of that decision, is the story of Hill's exploration of her bookshelves (of which there are many), but it's also the story of her...more
Lisa

With Howard's End is on the Landing Susan Hill offers an amiable, chatty look at books she has loved, loathed and left unread. Her rambles take the reader back to her childhood in Scarborough, to her college years in London and through her years as a writer and radio personality. Through these years she managed to meet a great number of the book world elite, from dashing Ian Fleming to the formidable Sitwells. These remembrances, some of which were very slight, at the library, E. M. Forster drop...more
Doreen
May 30, 2012 Doreen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Kate
Recommended to Doreen by: Jan Franco was reading it!
The author decides to spend the year reading/rereading books that she already owns. She explores the books on her own shelves, offering her memories of reading each book, or her reasons for not reading a specific one. She rates her books, always accompanied by personal commentary. I like that she explores her collection of childhood books, as well as the mature reading material that she owns. I didn't sit and consume this book in one sitting, although it's a fairly short book. It's just not that...more
Eliza
10/13/11: Susan Hill seems to have arrived in my library (meagre as it is, compared to hers) and through her memoir is energetically telling me all about her favorite books, her favorite memories of meeting famous writers, and her unorthodox method of organising (she's British, so must spell it with an "s") her books--which is not to organise them at all. Evidently, although I'm embarrassed to say I've never heard of her, she's written 37 books, which would have been reason enough to pick up thi...more
Amanda Caldwell
This book was no where near as good as I expected it to be. Expectation: the author talks about the books she read off her own bookshelf from home over the course of a year and what each novel meant to her, etc. Reality: the author walks around her house and talks about books she's aleady read in the past, usually several times, and has also met the author or they live in her neighborhood or she's seen them on the train, etc and basically just brags about it. I found her to be really snobby and...more
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Literary Adventure : October Reads #50 Howard's End is On the Landing 1 2 Oct 06, 2014 04:35AM  
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  • A Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict
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  • Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World
  • At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries
  • Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books
  • Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life
  • Built of Books: How Reading Defined the Life of Oscar Wilde
  • The Anatomy of Bibliomania
  • The Child That Books Built: A Life in Reading
  • Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World
  • So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading
  • Phantoms on the Bookshelves
  • Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books
  • The Book of Lost Books: An Incomplete History of All the Great Books You'll Never Read
  • Ruined By Reading: A Life in Books
18874
Susan Hill was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire in 1942. Her hometown was later referred to in her novel A Change for the Better (1969) and some short stories especially "Cockles and Mussels".

She attended Scarborough Convent School, where she became interested in theatre and literature. Her family left Scarborough in 1958 and moved to Coventry where her father worked in car and aircraft factor...more
More about Susan Hill...
The Woman in Black The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler, #1) The Pure in Heart (Simon Serrailler, #2) The Small Hand: A Ghost Story The Risk of Darkness (Simon Serrailler, #3)

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“Books help to form us. If you cut me open, you will find volume after volume, page after page, the contents of every one I have ever read, somehow transmuted and transformed into me. Alice in Wonderland. the Magic Faraway Tree. The Hound of the Baskervilles. The Book of Job. Bleak House. Wuthering Heights. The Complete Poems of W H Auden. The Tale of Mr Tod. Howard''s End. What a strange person I must be. 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 uniquely me, so I am the unique sum of the books I have read. I am my literary DNA.” 82 likes
“I love the book. I love the feel of a book in my hands, the compactness of it, the shape, the size. I love the feel of paper. The sound it makes when I turn a page. I love the beauty of print on paper, the patterns, the shapes, the fonts. I am astonished by the versatility and practicality of The Book. It is so simple. It is so fit for its purpose. It may give me mere content, but no e-reader will ever give me that sort of added pleasure.” 41 likes
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