Charlotte Reads Classics

Slowly, slowly, she sipped a sentence.

Howards End is on the Landing

Howards End is on the Landing, Susan Hill

Susan Hill owns too many books. She hasn’t read them all and she hasn’t re-read as much as she’d like to. One year = forty books she already owns. This book is a memoir of reading through her bookshelves. I love books, I love this idea. I just need to get a very small negative out of the way first: I really like Susan Hill’s writing, but it turns out she is a bit snobby (too much name dropping and bragging).

So anyway, the good stuff:

  • This is a book lover’s book. If you like collecting books, arranging books, book covers, fonts, lists of books, looking through other people’s bookshelves, reading about things you’ve read, reading about things you haven’t, picking your favourite books… then this book is for you.
  • She covers lots of interesting thoughts about reading: how quickly you should read, whereabouts, books of your childhood, reading an author’s entire works, giving merit to ‘unreadable classics’, what to do when you just don’t like an author you ought to, and so on.

My favourite thing about Howards End is on the Landing happened whenever Hill talked about P G Wodehouse or Nancy Mitford. I had the same feeling I used to get whenever I read my Mum’s books as a child. They always felt a bit secretive or foreign and reading them was so much more a joy because of that.

Not Your Average Beachy Book

To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

The literary gal’s beach accessories.

I read this to continue the experiment I began with Katherine Mansfield. I had thought I didn’t like her writing, but all it took for me to fall in love was a re-reading five years later. The results of this (possibly continuing) experiment are, to my surprise, that I am now a fan of Virginia Woolf too. To the Lighthouse is an incredible book and very innovative. The whole stream of consciousness thing is also quite readable as long as you spare a little extra effort in concentration! As long as I paid attention, I could follow it. The atmosphere of the novel is vivid, nostalgic, just downright beautiful really.

Virginia Woolf has made me miss the sea… and my childhood.