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

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,822 Ratings  ·  518 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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Nandakishore Varma
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Old houses tend to collect books, especially if the inhabitants are educated and cultured. My ancestral home in India is no exception: it is more 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 ba ...more
Richard Derus
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.5* of five

The 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 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 pote
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Karie Westermann
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 quite 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.
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 more Susan Hill’s opinions on literature and the bookish world.

First thing you discover is tha
Susan Johnson
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a fun look of the author's journey through her own book collection. One day she realized she had lots of books she hadn't read, forgotten about or wanted to read again. She makes a vow to spend a year reading only books she already has (although she leaves lots of exemptions). It's a fun trip and makes me want to try it but probably won't. I love new books too much. Still, like her, I wonder how some books ended up on my shelf or why I haven't read others.

Towards the end, she is doing
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Beth Bonini
I have dipped into this book over the years (5 or so) that I have owned it, but this is the first time I have read it in its entirety. Highly recommended for book-lovers, book-hoarders and people who love literary trivia. Also recommended for people who love to make lists and comparisons, as one of the 'tasks' that author Susan Hills sets for herself is not only to spend a year reading only from her own bookshelves, but also to attempt to refine her books to an essential 40. We are what we read; ...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
What I love about books like this one: that the author is enthusiastic about books that I know little or nothing about and her essays make me want to add a lot more titles to my "I want to read" list.

What drives me crazy about books like this one: that the author is enthusiastic about books that I know little or nothing about and her essays make me want to add a lot more titles to my "I want to read" list.

This book was especially frustrating because Susan Hill is British, so some of her recommen
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
Aug 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2015
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
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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
Paula Cappa
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Imagine autumn, full of warm colors. You are in an old farmhouse, surrounded by trees shedding gold leaves, rolling green fields, and the loveliest of stone walls. Inside the house you walk upstairs to a vast bookcase with hundreds of some of the most prolific writers. Virginia Woolf, Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Trollope, EM Forster, Henry James, Emily Bronte, Edith Wharton, Raymond Chandler to name a few. You snuggle in a comfy chair by the bright window light to begin a literary journey. This is wh ...more
Ian Laird
Mar 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Great title: and quite a good book.

I have a Goodread's category Books and Reading and this one fits the bill pretty well.

Susan Hill devoted a year to reading or re-reading a selection of books from her own library, scattered about the many rooms of her old farmhouse in the Cotswolds where she has lived for many years. She came up with a list of 40 titles which represents a synthesis of what she thought was the best and most worthwhile, along the way giving an account of the many literary luminar
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Unlike author Susan Hill I don't live in an old rambling farmhouse with aged beams and cosy nooks from which I can look upon "gently rising hills and graceful trees". Nor sadly do I have an elmwood staircase that could take me up to a landing with overflowing bookcases. But I do know the sensation of coming face to face with a mountain of unread books.

Climbing the stairs one day in search of a book she knew was there, Hill discovers "at least a dozen, perhaps two dozen, perhaps two hundred" that
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, per
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
A whole lot of no. I thought I'd get insight and a real love of books that would just radiate off of the page. Instead, all we get is an author who talks about who she knew, knows and how important she is. Sigh. I don't need to waste anymore time reading such self-important drivel. If I want that, I'll just go to the Kardashins' twitter feeds.
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I first picked up Howards End is on the Landing about a year ago from a local used bookstore. I thought it looked good at the time but I must have lost interest along the way since it sat, unread, on my shelves since its initial purchase. Luckily for me though something must have clicked a couple of weeks ago because my need to read it suddenly tripled.

Howards End is on the Landing is a non fiction work from author/publisher, Susan Hill. It all begins one day when Susan goes in search of her co
Terri Jacobson
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Louise Turner
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reads
A delightful book about books and the bookish life, about authors and influences, about poetry and music, about life and people. I now have a long list of books I want to read or re-read, which is always a sign of a good book.
Jul 15, 2016 marked it as auf-pause
Sehr sympathisch geschrieben; aber bevor ich ein Buch über eine Büchernärrin lese, die ein Jahr lang keine neuen Bücher kaufen, sondern ihre eigenen zahlreichsten ungelesenen Bücher endlich lesen oder wieder lesen will, tue ich doch lieber genau das: ich stelle mich vor meine Regale und widme mich den eigenen ungelesenen Büchern.
Ich bin dann mal auf ein Jährchen weg...
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Literary Adventure : October Reads #50 Howard's End is On the Landing 1 5 Oct 05, 2014 08:35PM  
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  • Built of Books: How Reading Defined the Life of Oscar Wilde
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  • An Alphabetical Life: Living It Up in the World 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...

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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.” 136 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.” 68 likes
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