Thursday, August 04, 2011

Summer Reading 2: Howards End is on the Landing

Susan Hill's Howards End is on the Landing is sub-titled 'A Year of Reading from Home'. Prompted by realising that she wanted to 'repossess' her books, both read and unread, she has written a memoir of a year's reading. With formidable discipline for a writer and reader she restrained herself from buying new books for twelve whole months, and concentrated on discovering or re-discovering the books in her rural English home. 

This book is the story of that year, but also the story of her house and indeed her past. It's a great summer read, and you're certain to find at least one or two books you will want to discover for yourself. The tone is personal, passionate, rather rambling, occasionally entertainingly cantakerous. Among her strongest enthusiasms are Frances Kilvert, W.G. Sebald and Penelope Fitzgerald. On the other hand, she's not exactly keen on Jane Austen.

Finally, for those of us anxious that we don't have enough time to read everything (especially new books), her thoughts on 'deeply satisfying' Slow Reading are consoling. Ironically, it's difficult to read her own book slowly...

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