Howards End is on the Landing and
Jacob’s Room is Full of Books
My GoodReads’ Star Rating: 5 stars out of 5, which means: It was amazing!
Artuccino’s bookish observation
I’ll start this blog post by saying that Susan Hill’s two Bibliomemoirs, Howards End is on the Landing and Jacob’s Room is Full of Books, are two of my very favourite books The information they contain is so valuable, I’ve made sure we’ve got the printed versions taking pride of place on our bookshelves. I am grateful for her taking the time to share her extensive knowledge and experience with us.
I’m an Australian born in Yorkshire UK, and part of our culture, when I was growing up, was to believe if anyone seems to be too smart, or too clever, or too cultured (in particular too cultured) and displays attributes whereby they are suspected of being a bore, then that person maybe “cut down to size”; hence the naming of this phenomenon as the Australian “tall poppy syndrome”, i.e. cutting-down the one who stands out in the crowd. This discourages people from showing too much pride, a personality trait we Aussies tend to frown on (often mistakenly); aggrandising does not go down well in Australian social situations. So what’s this got to do with Susan Hill?
Susan Hill has “grown” on me since I first discovered her book Howard’s End is on the Landing, and my first impressions of her have certainly been shown to be nonsense. When I read the book a few years ago I did not warm to her writing and I couldn’t believe she was as well-connected with so many famous people, and her knowledge of literature seemed to me to be over-blown.. Maybe this was inverted snobbery on my part. Then, some years later, Susan Hill wrote a follow-up Bibliomemoir, Jacob’s Room is Full of Books. I read it with fresh eyes, I completely put aside my first impression of the author and saw her in a new light. I now recognise her as a person who is a gifted communicator, a generous bookophile, a person whose life is immersed within the publishing world and really knows her stuff. I must ask myself: how did I not recognise Ms Hill’s wealth of knowledge and genuine generosity; I’m glad she took the time to share her experience with those of us who haven’t had her amazing literary life.
After finishing Jacob’s Room is Full of Books and with my change of perception regarding the author, I decided to re-read Howard’s End is on the Landing. I ate it up! If you like books-about-books, I heartily recommend reading these Bibliomemoirs. You will find that Ms Hill’s conversational descriptions of books and authors will result in at least another twenty books added to your To-Be-Read-List. I’m so pleased she wrote about her literary life.
Susan Hill’s enthusiasm and opinions led me to add some treasures to my To-Be-Read-List. I’ve listed them below. There are so many more books mentioned in her journey, she shares her likes and dislikes, her meetings with authors and creative people, her delightful memories, plus her experience as a judge on some important book prize panels, and so much more.
The books on the list below are the books I found intriguing, the ones I intend to read. The links will take you through to Amazon.com.au
- Howards End by E.M. Forster
- A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor
- The Third Man by Graham Greene (read more about this book here at Artuccino)
- The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
- The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
- The Moving Toyshop (A Gervase Fen Mystery) by Edmund Crispin
- The Rector’s Daughter by F.M. Mayor
- Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes
- The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
- The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler Book #1) by Susan Hill
- The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
- If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
- The Sportswriter by Richard Ford
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
- A Shroud for a Nightingale by P.D. James
- The Painted Veil by Somerset W. Maugham
- The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
- Stoner by John Williams
A little about the author
Susan Hill, is an English author of fiction and non-fiction works. Her novels include The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror and I’m the King of the Castle for which she received the Somerset Maugham Award in 1971. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to literature. Source: Wikipedia ((Find out more about Susan Hill at Wikipedia))
Genre – Non Fiction
Bibliomemoir, Literary Criticism.
Howards End is on the Landing was first published in 2009
Jacob’s Room is Full of Books was first published in 2017