HOWARDS END IS ON THE LANDING

24 Oct
First published in 2009 in Great Britain by Profile Books, Ltd. Soft cover edition 2010 - 236 pages Autobiographical

First published in 2009 in Great Britain by Profile Books, Ltd.
Soft cover edition 2010 – 236 pages
Autobiographical

I like the idea of reading and rereading some of the books I already have. Sometimes, when I’m looking for a particular book, I’ll come across a few that totally catch me unawares. I suppose, once you get to a certain point, in the collecting of books, that you’re bound to see one or two stowaways.

After having read The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill, I came across another one by Hill that I forgot I had: Howards End is on the Landing. It’s mostly a compendium of some of the books she has in her own personal library; her thoughts on the matter; and, delicious little snippets about other literati.

“Outside my window, the trees are bare. It is early dark but a silver paring of moon is bright in the sky, with a thousand frosty stars. The air smells of cold. A fox barks from the field. Dickens for winter. Throw another log on the fire.”  pg. 35

“There is no reason why most of the books I own but have never actually read should be more or less in one place. They just are. Maybe they quietly gravitated into the sitting room one by one, to sob and huddle together for warmth.” pg. 63

Having gone in search of a book that she was certain should have been where she was looking but wasn’t, Hill sees some unfamiliar books in her collection, and decides not to buy anymore new books until she’s read all the unread books in her own personal library. And thus begins a journey into a year of reading and rereading books she already owns.

I like this book for two reasons, one – because I’m not the only person, apparently, who has stowaways on their bookshelves; and two – because I found it to be ironic that the book Hill is looking for is written by E. M. Forster, the one author I am grappling with (A Room with a View is still on my TBR Table).

…on the landing is autobiographical, and gives its reader insight into the author. Some insights I really wish I didn’t know as it has colored my view of her as a person. The fact that she never writes her name in any of her books and certainly would never place a bookplate in any of them either, didn‘t seem to compute in my mind. For me, a book that someone else has read is all part of the joy of having books. I am over the top when I find a book that has been written-in by the previous owner, so, I try to leave something of me behind in my books, as well. Hill is known for her gothic darkness, so this side of her, albeit not all of which is agreeable to me, is refreshing.

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