Essentially, a collection of short pieces about the books in the author’s life. Books that Susan Hill has read and written, and published, along with authors and others she has met–all these and more are discussed. She recalls when she read them and what meaning they gave her. As would be expected, she writes about authors I love (Virginia Woolf), some I have never heard of (F M Mayor), and some I’ve heard of and want to read but have yet to do so (V S Naipaul). Her enthusiasm is infectious and insight interesting. She culminates in a list of The Final Forty of her favourite titles. Can’t recall now why it’s 40, and not 52, as the book’s premise is not to buy books for a year and plunder her own extensive collection in her home to read. As enjoyable as it is, I can’t help but think this book could have been much more. For example, she discusses the books in her home, even bookshelves, but her house and her life are only remotely referred to. She refers indirectly to events in her life but does not elaborate on them as much as I would like with their impact on the authors and books she discusses. I was left wanting for more, which is not always a bad thing. There are some great passages, including one about the sheer pleasure of holding and reading a book. If you’re a bibliophile, you will enjoy reading this book.

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