In Scotland we have Highers rather than A Levels. For the English Higher, more than 20 years ago now, we had to do an essay on a novel, a “Review of Personal Reading”. Fortunately I’d discovered EM Forster and DH Lawrence by then, so I chose to do mine on Howards End. I came across the RPR recently when looking through old folders stored in the attic. Some of the phrasing is gauche and some of the ideas ridiculously naive – for example, that a widower in his 50s would only seek to re-marry out of social pressure, rather than desire. But despite all that, I think it still reads well, for someone aged 16. I was always a precocious little shit when it came to reading.

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