Friday, June 15, 2012

Howard's End is on the Landing by Susan Hill

Call me a book skeptic.  I’ve read gazillions of books on books and the most recent ones contained more personal information than I cared to know.  Besides, I had never heard of Susan Hill and wondered if she even had a right to impose her opinions on me.  So in the midst of packing up for our move, I grabbed Howards End Is on the Landing and plopped on the couch with an air of self-resignation.  If it didn’t appeal to me within the first few minutes, I’d go back to sorting our stuff.

Fortunately, I was charmed from the very first page.  Hill (who I now know is a successful British author) tells of a day that she spent in search of a particular book.  Going from room to room, she rummaged through various bookshelves, noticing books she had always intended to read and others that she wanted  to re-read.  She decided to put a moratorium on book buying and spend a year reading forty choice books from her own collection.  Each chapter details the process of narrowing down the list.

She discusses everything from e-readers, to her favorite fonts, to famous authors she has known, to her dislike of Jane Austen, but she never gives you so many personal details that you want to squirm.

I liked her gentle sense of humor and her writing style even when I didn’t always agree with her point of view.  (How could I dislike an author who uses words like peripatetic and inchoate?)  Apart from one or two off-color comments, I thoroughly enjoyed my literary stroll with the companionable and articulate Miss Hill.  


Amy said...

I loved this book too. Already a fan of Susan Hill, I was a bit shocked to find she didn't like Austen! But what a pleasure to ramble through the collection of a book lover.

Beth said...

I really enjoyed this book. I was kind of inspired to try this, but I don't think it is possible.