Monday, July 24, 2017

Howards End is on the Landing - Bookish Nonfiction Review

Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading From Home by Susan Hill

Rating: Good
Source: Library

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 potential to burst into new life. Wandering through her house that day, Hill's eyes were opened to how much of that life was stored in her home, neglected for years. Howard's End is on the Landing charts the journey of one of the nation's most accomplished authors as she revisits the conversations, libraries and bookshelves of the past that have informed a lifetime of reading and writing.

Genre: Nonfiction - Bookish

Why I Picked This Book:  It's a book about books which I can never resist and it's about reading from home which I really want to do but so far am terrible at.

My Impression:  I love books about books but so often I feel like they're lacking just a little something.  Maybe the tone is more academic than I'm looking for?  Maybe they don't talk about the books that really resonate with me?  I'm not sure what the issue is but this book had that same feel.  There wasn't that click of familiarity that I really wanted.

That being said I did still really enjoy this book.  Most of the books Hill discusses are either completely unknown to me or books I haven't read and frankly don't really want to read  (Ulysses was high on that list) but I did enjoy following along as she went through the process of wandering through her shelves and talking about what she had and what she wanted to read.  I love the idea of just reading from your own shelves for a whole year (not that I see myself doing that anytime soon) and making a list of the books that mean the most to each individual reader.  I'm not sure that Hill really inspired me to go read any of the books she mentions but she definitely inspired me to go dig around in my own shelves and get to know my collections.   There are a number of stories about people she has known in the book world and while there is a LOT of name dropping most of it is quite delightful.  I especially loved her story about Roald Dahl.

This book reads like a series of connected essays.  It's more meandering than focused which very much gave me a sense of the author.   While I didn't find the connection that I was really looking for it was a book I was reluctant to put down every night and I could visualize Hill's wandering house with all the bookshelves tucked into nooks and crannies which added an extra element of enjoyment.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Probably.  This is so different from her other books which are fiction and a number seem to be ghost stories that I'm not sure I really got a feel of her writing style from this book.

Would I Recommend this Book?   I would if you enjoy books about books.  It didn't blow me away but it was an enjoyable read.  I think it'd be a perfect sick in bed book or a comfort reading book.


  1. I'm not sure I would run to the store to grab this one, but the actual idea is a good one and really makes sense. Hugs...

  2. In theory, I could read from my home sleeves for a year but I can't resist some of the new titles or ones that other readers bring to my attention. This is a book I would check out of the library and read, I liked your review.

  3. I like that idea of getting to know my own books, exploring the bookshelves. I think many of us have so many books we haven't looked at in a while, or bought but haven't gotten to yet. Sorry this didn't entirely connect with you but I can see where it would be an interesting read. The description definitely catches my interest!

  4. I'm not sure this one is for me, but it sounds like it could be interesting.

  5. The idea is really interesting. I should try to read more of the books I own (so many unread!!!!), but I think I'm with you. I would really struggle reading about her reading books I have no interest in.

  6. I would love to spend a year just reading the books on my shelves. Maybe I will make a list of favorite authors and their new release dates and if there isn't anything exciting coming up, I could do this in a year or two. I used my first Audible credit to buy Ulysses. Ha ha. I have sworn myself to making it through that book before I die, one way, or another.

    I don't know if I would enjoy a book like this, or not, but the different book world stories do sound interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

  7. I can relate to finding books I forgot I had. Sounds like an interesting read.

  8. We are all so diverse in our reading I have the same feel as you do of books about books. It would be good to read from my own bookcases for a year but not sure I could do it!!

  9. I don't think I've ever read or even seen a book about books like this. Interesting.

  10. I do love Susan Hill's writing and I've promised myself over the years to track this one down - thank you for a great review:)

  11. Interesting. I love the idea of only reading books you own for a year but I don't think I could stick with it.

  12. Sounds like a good book for my nightstand - a book I can pick up when I forget to bring up another to read in bed that allows me to read little bits at a time. And I do love books about books!