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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  ·  1,945 ratings  ·  361 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
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
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
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
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
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
You know that moment when you think, ah, I had a copy of that book; where is it now? This happened to Susan Hill one afternoon, when looking for Howards End, she had a vague recollection of the shelf it was last seen. But in the process of searching for it suddenly realised that her shelves were packed with books that she had not read for a long time, books that had been bought or given, but never opened and books that she had no recollection of ever receiving.

Pledging to not buy any new books f
Oh, I feel really harsh giving it a 2 star review, my reasoning behind this is my frustration at the constant name-dropping.
I loved the concept of writing about the books she had treasured and loved for years and do enjoy Susan Hill's writing. If only there had been more exploration of that, I would have been very happy and given 4 stars. When she was discussing her books I felt very engaged in whichever book or author she was describing. I felt very let down when another inconsequential anecdo
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
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.
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
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
Jeanette (jema)
I really enjoyed this book for a number of reasons. First of all the dust cover is stunningly beautiful.
Secondly it is written in short chapters which made it perfect for those quick dip-in readings, like when you are waiting in a car, or for your cookies to bake in the oven.
And it made me want to read and most importanly to re-read a lot of books I already own.

Some people here mentioned that Hill seems to name-drop a lot, that she seems full of her self for knowing all those famous people. I ne
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
Susan Hill invites the reader to join her on a journey of exploration, back through the pages of memory, meetings and much much more and she rediscovers the books she has squirrelled away in her home. And what a glorious jumble they prove to be. For Hill has not arranged or catalogued her books all in one room or in any particular order. They crowd on scattered shelves like people who turn up for a train. Some on busy stations jostling each other hoping for a seat, some waiting in more out of th ...more
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
I feel sure that author Susan Hill has been to my house, although I can't recall the visit, or has unknowingly crept into my psyche!

Her opening two paragraphs read, 'It began like this. I went to the shelves on the landing to look for a book I knew was there. It was not. But plenty of others were and among them I noticed at least a dozen I realised I had never read./ I pursued the elusive book through several rooms and did not find it in any of them, but each time I did find at least a dozen, pe
I found this book hugely enjoyable on so many levels. I felt a couple of points of connection with Hill from the start. I too have family roots in Scarborough. And I also arrived in London as an undergraduate to read English, though more than two decades after Hill did. The fashion for college scarves had gone out by then, but the English syllabus was pretty much the same – a chronological survey starting with the Anglo-Saxons and finishing somewhere in the early twentieth century. It was the st ...more
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

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The trigger for this account was author Susan Hill's attempt to find a particular book among the many bookshelves in her home. In the process, she became aware of hundreds of books she already owned and she decided to spend a year reading only books already on her shelves. This is the story of the books she encountered in this year, many of them re-reads of much-loved classics, and is peppered with literary anecdotes from her life and career.

Susan Hill has strong opinions about which authors and
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. :)
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Literary Adventure : October Reads #50 Howard's End is On the Landing 1 4 Oct 05, 2014 08:35PM  
  • A Passion for Books: A Book Lover's Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Love and Lists on Collecting, Reading, Borrowing, Lending, Caring for, and Appreciating Books
  • Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life
  • Rereadings: Seventeen writers revisit books they love
  • Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World
  • The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History
  • A Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict
  • The Child That Books Built: A Life in Reading
  • Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books
  • Built of Books: How Reading Defined the Life of Oscar Wilde
  • At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries
  • Shelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama, and Other Page-Turning Adventures from a Year in a Book store
  • Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World
  • The Anatomy of Bibliomania
  • The Book of Lost Books: An Incomplete History of All the Great Books You'll Never Read
  • Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books
  • Phantoms on the Bookshelves
  • An Alphabetical Life: Living It Up in the World of Books
  • A Reading Diary: A Passionate Reader's Reflections on a Year of Books
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 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.” 95 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.” 50 likes
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