From Kate’s Writing Crate…
Readers always have books they haven’t read nearby whether in stacks by the bed or on bookshelves for someday. If you have new ones entering your life via the library, friends, or bookstores, some day can quickly become some year.
English novelist Susan Hill certainly found this to be true.
“It began like this. I went to the shelves on the landing to look for a book I knew was there. It was not. But plenty of others were and among them I noticed at least a dozen I realized I had never read.
I pursued the elusive book through several rooms and did not find it…But each time I did find at least a dozen, perhaps two dozen, perhaps two hundred, that I had never read.” (page 1)
She also found many books she would enjoy rereading and so began a journey through her own library which she turned into a book entitled Howards End is on the Landing: A Year of Reading From Home.
As a lifelong reader in her sixties, an author, a reviewer, and a judge for literary awards, Hill has a great many books so it’s easy to imagine that one or more could be misplaced. What fun to come across so many unread books and old favorites then decide to read or reread as many as she could in one year and write about them. Another of the joys of this book is the commentary from Hill as she recalls meeting authors at parties or while interviewing them for the BBC.
Hill is partial to classics and literary novels, but has a fondness for murder mysteries and a few children’s books, too. Among them, she recommends My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (page 55), The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald (page 74), The Bell by Iris Murdoch (page 115), and The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen (page 141).
She also enjoys diaries written by The Reverend Francis Kilvert (page 83), Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary (page 92 & 128), and The Journal of Sir Walter Scott (page 93).
For a challenge, Susan Hill ends with a list of forty books that would last her the rest of her years on earth (pp. 235-236). Taking up the challenge, I made my list of one hundred books as I am younger with more years to read—hopefully. It’s a painful challenge as I sit surrounded by thousands of books that I love.
We only had one book in common: Shakespeare. I went with Shakespeare’s complete works as they are published in one volume. Hill chose to pick “Macbeth” since his work was not published together until after his death. However, I’m currently reading The Blue Flower since she recommended it so highly—perhaps we will have two books in common.
Have fun reading Howards End is on the Landing, discovering authors new to you, and making your own list of books to last for the rest of your life.