Thursday, September 6, 2012

Howards End

I have read so many good books lately! But I am so so behind in posting. I'm busy editing my novel and I think I'm close to having it ready to start sending out, which is crazy to me since I've worked on it so long. I don't want to neglect the blog though, and I want to share the wonderful books I read recently with you! First up - Howards End by E.M. Forster, one of the books on my Classics Club list.

Before I rave about this, I will point out the only thing that bugged me - why is there no apostrophe in the title??? Shouldn't it by Howard's End or Howards' End??? On a related note, Forster's name also bugs me - I feel it should be Forester. I always think people have left out the e when I see it and then remember that no, it's just Forster. Clearly this isn't his fault. :)

Anyway - read Howards End! Put it on your Classics Club list! Move it up on your priority list! Why? Because it is amazing! I said this when I read A Room with a View - I didn't like my first experience with Forster, when I read A Passage to India. I must now revisit that work because I loved A Room with a View and Howards End quickly rose up the ranks of my favorite books. It may actually be in the top 10, which for the most part have been set for year.

"And month by month the roads smelt more strongly of petrol, and were more difficult to cross, and human beings heard each other speak with greater difficulty, breathed less of the air, and saw less of the sky. Nature withdrew."

How contemporary does that sound? This novel came out in 1910 - can you imagine what Forster would have said about TVs, computers, social media, iPhones? I love how he doesn't complain directly about cars and radio, but focuses on the withdrawing from nature. No one wants a lecture on giving up their fun toys, but a reminder of breathing fresh air and seeing the sky? That's much more effective.

There's something soothing to me about Forster's writing, the rhythm washes over me and floats me along, whether it's making me laugh or cry or scream or cheer. He writes beautifully, but not in an overdone, showing of an MFA way that some modern authors gravitate toward.

I'm glad I read this after reading Far from the Madding Crowd and Portrait of a Lady. Each of the novels focus on women who might marry jerks and they seem like a natural progression in time. I adored Margaret. She's strong and bold, but in a quiet way. She's not flashy and reckless the way strong women are often portrayed. She stands up for her family members and stands by them even when they make mistakes, without judging them. And I like the ending much better than in the previous two but I'll keep this spoiler free and won't say why. :)

Here's a rather long quote from Margaret exemplifying why I love her:

"All over the world men and women are worrying because they cannot develop as they are supposed to develop. Here and there they have the matter out, and it comforts them. Don't fret yourself. Develop what you have; love your child. I do not love children. I am thankful to have none. I can play with their beauty and charm, but that is all - nothing real, not one scrap of what there ought to be. And others - others go farther still, and move outside humanity altogether. A place, as well as a person, may catch the glow. Don't you see that all this leads to comfort in the end? It is part of the battle against sameness. Differences - eternal differences, planted by God in a single family, so that there may always be colour; sorrow perhaps, but colour in the daily grey."

Love love love that! I love that she admits to not wanting kids - people judge me for that today, in 2012, 100 years after Forster wrote that! We still want to suck the color out of people who are different from us (I meant that metaphorically, but I suppose that also speaks to racists). We make fun of those who are different from us. We judge each other. EVERYONE does that. I'm trying to be more conscious of this, that God created many of our differences, and even the ones that He didn't, they still bring more color to life.

Have you ever disliked a book by an author and giving them another chance and loved the next book?


  1. I LOVED Howards End and your post makes me want to reread it immediately! I also loved A Room with A View, but struggled with A Passage to India.

  2. I have A Room with a View on my list, but now I'm thinking of adding this one too. This is the problem with reading all these reviews - my list grows with each new title! Such a happy problem to have.... -Sarah

  3. Hi, Lindsey! I really like your review and it made me curious. That's why I've chosen this one for my Classics Club: September 2012 Meme post, which you can read here: Have a nice day!

    1. Thank you! That makes me so happy. I'll go check out your post now!

  4. I've just been thinking about the omitted apostrophe and - given the novel's obsession over who will 'inherit England' - I suspect it has something to do with possession.

    That is, all the omitted apostrophe really does (in hermeneutic terms) is highlight that this particular End is not Howard's.