Howards end is on the landing by Susan Hill

                     I first saw howards end on the landing in a daily bookshot from my twitter friend and blogger @robaroundbooks .The book tells the story of how Susan Hill decide to take a year away from buying books to work her way through some classics and books she’d never read .

                     the story starts on an autumn afternoon as Hill cleans tries to find a book and as she is comes across numerous old volumes long forgotten or dead as she puts it .This leads to a year of reading and not buying new books , as a self-confessed bookaholic myself that must have been hard ,but as Hill puts it you buy books move other books down the to be read pile or even sometimes on to a shelf never to be read .We are then taken on a quest as Hill decides to choice books ,along the way tells the story of her own life starting in Scarborough with its public library and boots lending library ,which reminded me of brief encounter where Celia Johnson talks of going to the boots library .Hill’s writing is warm full of antidotes of people she meet ,a touching last encounter with the great Bruce Chatwin before his sad dismiss .the chapters are short i picture it as being sat with hill in a comfy chair in a coffee shop every week as she told you the latest on her quest .This should be on every book lovers shelf it’s a wealth of knowledge and very entertaining along the way

I do not know if Edith Sitwell ever laughed possibly not .somehow that face was always haughty ,disdainful,solemn,watchful of expression,though the eyes might if flickered and glinted with amusement .so i was spared the humiliation of any sort of laughter when i replied to her question

quote from howards end …. when Susan Hill meets Edith Sitwell

 the cover is by peter dyer ,features lovely embossed and gilded leather volumes made up with the tihowards end is on the landingtle of the book ,which is published by profile books

hadrian the seventh by fr. rolfe (baron corvo)

            Hadrian the seventh is the 1904 novel by the english eccentric Frederick Rolfe or as he styled himself Fr. Rolfe (baron Corvo ) .Rolfe spent most of his life fascinated by the catholic church and its workings ,trying on a number of occasions to enter the seminary to be come a priest hence he shorten his first name to Fr. Rolfe  to seem like a father.

            the story can be considered semi autobiographical ,bt maybe a dream life that Rolfe wanted  .It concerns George Arthur Rose a failing writer,chain smoker and cat lover who is whisked of to Rome ordained and ends up as the new pope as aa result of a deadlock on deciding who will be pope ,at that point rose becomes Hadrian the seventh of the title using the same papal name as the only other english pope .As the story unfold as he makes friends and enemies ,you get to see the workings of the church ,you ll laugh and cry as the story unfolds ,til the untimely end of Hadrian

    “they brought him before the altar ;and set him in a crimson-velvet chair asking him what  pontifical name  He would choose

 “Hadrian the seventh ” :the response came unhesitatingly ,undemonstratively  ”

on becoming the pope from Hadrian the seventh

  This volume IHADRIAN THE SEVENTH read was republished by nyrb classics in 2001 ,the cover is a lovely soft focus photo of the papal glove with nyrb usual block in top third with title etc

November 2009


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