Howards End Is On The Landing

It wasn’t the title that grabbed me so much as the sub-title: A Year of Reading from Home. (I love hearing, and reading, about what people like to read.) Ten years or so ago, Susan Hill went looking for a book, couldn’t find it, but discovered several that she’d never read. So she decided to spend a year reading only what was in her home. The result was this slim volume, which is a rumination on books, reminiscences of writers she’d known, her own beginnings, and the forty books she’d take to a desert island.

It’s charming and it’s very, very readable. Which is a little surprising since – with exceptions for The Rattle Bag and The Big Sleep and Macbeth – I wouldn’t want to read any of them. Insomnia cures the lot. And often what she cites as good writing strikes me as anything but. Yet I really did like this book, and I know I’ll be going to back to it again and again, just to dip in and read a chapter – or two – by a fellow book-lover.

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