Author Susan Hill was looking for a book in her house one day, and ended up coming across others which she had read and loved, or intended to read but never got around to, or some which she had read and wanted to read again. As a result, she decided to not buy any new books for a year, and to only read those books which were already in her house. What follows is a journey through Hill’s bookshelves, where she talks about which books and/or have inspired or moved her. She uses these examples as a starting point for relating anecdotes and memories about her life, and about the authors who she has met.
I have read two novels by Susan Hill, and while I can’t say I actively disliked them, I also can’t say that I was blown away by them, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this non-fiction work. However, the premise really appealed to me – and has inspired me to at least consider doing the same thing – so I thought I would give this a try, and I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed Hill’s reminiscences, and her musings on such subjects as items which fall out of books (presumably used as a makeshift bookmark) and the importance of an interesting title, or why new books are often published first in hardback, when they have not really earned that right. (It makes sense when you read her view, even if you don’t agree!)
Definitely an enjoyable and uplifting read, and one I would recommend to all fellow bibliophiles. As I mentioned, this book has made me think about doing the same thing myself, and not buying any new books for a year. Hill was successful, but I don’t know if I would be – but what a wonderful idea, to really get to know the books on your shelf, to rediscover old loves and maybe find some new ones.
(Author’s website can be found here.)