This is my favourite holiday reads this August picked up quite by accident when I was trying to spend a book token in waterstones – taking advantage of their three for two offer! You remember the feeling – you land your hands on two books you think you want and cannot find a third! I wonder how shopping on line could replicate that wonderful feeling of falling over something by accident?
Here is how the plot goes……
Whilst pursuing a volume of EM Forster through the warren of bookshelves that prop up her house, Susan Hill is struck by the number of books that she owns but has never read, or has read but forgotten that she owned; and the many old favourites ripe for another outing. So begins a year of re-acquaintance with her own library through an embargo on new purchases and heavily curtailed internet use.
She was raised in Scarborough but took A-levels in Coventry, and published her first novel aged 18 while studying at King’s College, London. Besides half a century of prolific writing she has set up as a publisher. “Namedropping is a tiresome, if harmless, trait,” Hill admits, but necessarily indulges with a gracious modesty. All kinds of titbits spice her wide-ranging observations on literature from pop-up books to the real heavyweights.
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. Hill is sharp, versatile, and (a rare talent) almost always interesting!
This is quite the most delightful of books – I promise you a wonderful trip around Hills bookshelves. Perhaps reading really is the only thing worth doing??