A year of reading from home, by one of Britain's most distinguished authors
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.
Susan Hill is the winner of numerous prestigious literary awards. The Man in the Picture was published by Profile in 2007, and she is the author of a highly successful crime series (Chatto & Windus). The Woman in Black has been running in the West End for 20 years.
'A totally beguiling, utterly persuasive, argument for reimmersing yourself in literature's past... it reminds you of the overlooked treasures we miss in the chase for novelty. Hill's work is part memoir, part outpouring of affection for these she has loved and, en route, she provides us with a reading list the equal of any degree course', Michael Gove, The Times
'An impressionistic autobiography... offers fascinating sketches of literary and artistic figures she has known... an eloquent advocate [for] the virtues of wide-ranging, deeply felt and considered reading... to be cherished', Michael Arditti, Daily Telegraph
'Evoked with precision and grace... She is nicely opinionated throughout... She is whimsical and intimate, scattering rhetorical questions and colloquial half-sentences... beguiling', Victoria Glendinning, Spectator
'[A] vividly experienced journey... viewing books and their authors with a learned, gossipy warmth. She understands that the best books make great companions, and this one is no exception', Metro
'The blend of book chat and personal memoir, though apparently serendipitous, is associative and intimate', Iain Finlayson, The Times
'A light-hearted memoir using books as anchors on which to fasten life experiences. Funny, educational and occasionally surprising', Catholic Herald
'What a delightful book this is - and so old-fashioned in approach almost to be trendy... a timeless creation, a vademecum which will give endless pleasure not only to Hill's many admirers but also to anyone who values books... An engaging and buoyant book', Herald
'Hill's style is vivid and measured and the book is both a passionate reminder of the importance of reading and a revealing glimpse of a writer's life', Jessica Holland, Observer
'Delightful... an idiosyncratic commingling of fiction, non-fiction and poetry...Hill has a voracious and varied appetite and her taste, with a few exceptions, is impeccable', Leo Robson, New Statesman
'A patchwork of literary musing, quotation and anecdote, the memoir's texture is wholesome and cosy; an indulgent quilt in which to nestle before the blazing hearth of literary tradition drawn by its author', Caroline Howitt, Times Literary Supplement
'Strikes a chord with my own eclectic dithering through a literary Monument Valley, and one of the charms of this volume is how Hill's opinions, always honest and courteously proffered, set up resonances with one's own reading... an enjoyable meander, a genial pillow book of light wit and broad reading (including an astonishing amount of re-reading) whose tone remains on the pleasantly whimsical side of erudition', James Urquhart, Independent
'Delightful... Charming... Her legion of fans will love it', Ian Pindar, Guardian
'The narrative unreels in what Dr Johnson would call 'loose sallies of the mind'... A distinguished woman of letters', John Sutherland, Literary Review
'Fans of Hill's work will be delighted by this leisurely ramble through the author's mind and reading pleasures. Hill writes eloquently about her literary influences and preferences, as well as her thoughts about the process of writing', Mslexia
'Pure pleasure... Her voice on the page is younger than the date of birth on her passport, so one reads with disbelief her memories of writers she has known during her long writing life... I simply want to emulate Susan Hill's year... To take books from my shelves, to sit, to read. To feast on the books of my life', Country Living
'One of the charms of this volume is how Hill's opinions, always refreshingly honest and courteously proffered, set up resonances with one's own reading. Howards End... is an enjoyable meander, a genial pillow book of light wit and broad reading whose tone remains on the pleasantly whimsical side of erudition', James Urquhart, Financial Times
'Vivid and measured and the book is a passionate reminder of the importance of reading and a revealing glimpse of a writer's life', Observer