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28 September 2011

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Such a wonderful review! I felt the exact same way. I also rarely like any books about books and reading. The only other one I am fond of is an old Noel Perrin book called A Reader's Delight. If you want to see what I wrote about Howards End Is On The Landing it is here:
http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2011/05/howards-end-is-on-landing-by-susan-hill.html

OK now you've got me. This one sounds REALLY good. A friend gave me her nook and I have free e-galleys to read but I'm not really sold on e-readers yet (though I love reading pre-pub). I am having way too much fun with obscure things at www.bookcloseouts.com

Nan,
Thanks for the link! I'm not entirely sure I didn't first hear about this book on your blog, actually...
And thanks for the Perrin suggestion. I'm going to look into that. I've got "Tolstoy and the Purple Chair" (another book about reading) here too, but won't be able to finish (or even start) it before it's due at the library.

Sarah,
You MUST try it, dahling. I think you'd enjoy it.
How's the Nook, for you? Do you like the color display? That strikes me as being nicer for kids' books...

I really disliked this book for reasons I explained at length on My Porch. You and I share a snarky dislike of many similar things so I am surprised you liked this one. Have you ever read Anne Fadiman's Ex Libris? One of my favorite books on books.

Thomas!
Oooh...opposing viewpoints. I'd love to read your review but could you provide the link? I've searched your blog and looked at your lists of books read and can't find it! (Sorry if I'm a dolt.)
In a way I'm glad we disagree--confirms the individuality of reading tastes. You never really know what another person will take to, do you? I'm still reeling from my dad HATING Bradbury's Something Wicked this Way Comes. I thought for sure he'd love it.
Anyway--please do post the link here if you've got time? Then others could more easily find your review too. Thanks!

I've read a couple postings about the Tolstoy book and wondered if I'd like it. I like the idea behind it.
Very funny comment from you, Thomas. I did like the Fadiman book, but I loved this one.

I just finished this book this week. I can't find Thomas' review either, but I have read both positive (Simon at Stuck in a Book) and slightly negative (Eva at A Striped Armchair) blog reviews. I do think that Susan Hill’s love of reading shows through on every page and I did like reading it for the most part. I think what rankles is Hill’s sometimes supercilious attitude towards “Literature”. On the one hand, she tells the readers not to discount Trollope (who was apparently not considered a “real” writer when Hill was in college in the mid 60’s because was a post master and wrote on schedule). On the other hand, Hill dismisses ALL Canadian and Australian writers and entire genres out of hand…with no explanation as to why (at least when she disses Austen, she tells the reader why). She doesn’t seem like a very adventurous reader, in any case. I also expected more insight into why she read what she read, which she does provide in some cases, but this book was more a memoir and less a treatise on reading.

I am more than happy to plug My Porch. I had trouble finding it as well. Probably because my post title was "Smoke and Mirrors on the Landing" http://myporchblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/book-review-smoke-and-mirrors-are-on.html

Thomas--
I'm happy to plug My Porch too! Everyone, the link is always over there on the right sidebar if you need it. Thanks for providing the exact link--I didn't go back to 2009 on your blog because I didn't know this title was that old!

There's really nothing to disagree with in your review. Yes, it didn't really seem to be organized according to the "year of" plan. Yes, I don't think there were new "aha" moments. Yes, she can be a little snooty. Yes, the bits about meeting famous Brit authors were the most fun.

Isn't it funny what you decide to take away from books at the time you read them? Lately I have been feeling unsatisfied and annoyed by the Internet (and like I'm wasting my life on it to no good purpose, book blogs nothwithstanding, of course), so that part didn't bother me. And because I've read so many "year of" books, I wasn't all that upset that she didn't hew to that line--they all seem kind of the same after a while anyway.

Thanks so much for pointing us to your review--I love point/counterpoint.

Oh, and I tried to read the Anne Fadiman title years ago and couldn't get into it, but I am not a big Fadiman fan. Maybe it's time to try it again.

Ruthiella,
Well, she had me when she plugged Trollope, I absolutely ADORE him. I've forgotten the part where she dissed Canadian and Australian writers--did she dis them or say they were not for her? I'm probably less observant of things like that because I never mind when people are opinionated on books, whether pro or con. I'd be interested in hearing more about WHY she doesn't like Canadian and Australian authors, personally. (Although that is also part of your criticism).

Nan,
I've got to take the Tolstoy book back, unread, but I'll try to get it again and post about it. Will you be reading it, do you think?

I just read Thomas' review. I think he nailed it with "And since book-related gossip and chatter on the Internet is pernicious and is full of fragmented, small pieces of pre-digested ready-meals, Hill decides to publish 236 pages of fragmented, small pieces of pre-digested book-related gossip and chatter."

The bit about Canadian and Australian authors is just one line, someplace near the beginning of Howard's End is on the Landing. It would be easy to overlook. I am with you on not minding if Susan Hill doesn't like any particular author or genre. But I want to know WHY.

I felt the same dissapointment with "Q's Legacy" by Helene Hanff. I wanted Hanff to expound upon her reading material. Instead, I got The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, part II. Not that it was bad...but it wasn't what I was expecting.

I have ordered it and placed a reserve. My Nook is the "ink page" one, not the color one with the backlit screen. Too much computer reading!!

Ruthiella,
That's all true, but the beauty of a book is that it ENDS after 236 pages of pre-digested book-related gossip and chatter--on the internet no chatter ever ends, ever. It's too much for me to take in.

Gosh, I'm sorry to hear you were disappointed with "Q's Legacy"! It's been so long since I read it, now I have to read it again, taking your opinion into account. I thought she did talk more about books but I could be wrong on that.

Sarah,
Let me know what you think!
And, I didn't know there were different types of Nooks. Shows how out of the gadget loop I am!

I absolutely love books about reading. Sigh.

Thanks for the review. Those are amazing quotes. I never thought about a person's reading history as being unique to them like DNA, but she's absolutely right. Cool to think no one else out there has read exactly the same books I have!

Bybee,
You and me both. I always try them, but it seems hard to find a really high-quality one.

Pam,
You're welcome. I know opinion on this one was widely mixed but I really, really enjoyed the experience of reading it. And I liked the idea of unique literary DNA. I agree--very cool!

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