Muriel Spark Reading Week…??

I was going to do a proper Weekend Miscellany (including link sent by Merenia – remind me if I don’t do it next week, Merenia!) but I’ve just come back from a book quiz and I’m pretty tired.  The quiz was brilliant – written by lovely Annabel, and it was a nice surprise to meet Yvann there too.  Our team just slipped out of medal position, with 4th place…

So, instead, I’m going to offer a proposition.  I might even end my sentence with it (hahahahaha.)

There have been weeks and months devoted to some wonderful and deserving authors over the past few years – Henry Green, Daphne du Maurier, Anita Brookner, Austen, Dickens etc.  The whole year is a celebration of Elizabeth Taylor.  I’m sure there have been many authors who have had this treatment – many of whom aren’t exactly unknown, but have been unduly neglected by recent readers.

And so, I thought… Muriel Spark Reading Week.  A lot of people have read some Muriel Spark; even more people intend to read some at some point.  Many have just read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. But I was struck today by how very many books Spark wrote, almost all of which are very short (and available cheaply) – she’s ideal for a varied Reading Week that anybody would find easy and quick to join in.

In terms of dates, I was thinking perhaps the end of April or beginning of May… (Spark in the Spring?!)

So this post is partly to gauge interest, and partly to find a co-host.  I’d love someone else to join in – it would basically involve mentioning it a bit, linking to reviews when they appear, and making a welcome post and a round-up post.  Something like that.  It definitely isn’t essential to know everything about Muriel Spark, just a keenness to cheer her on! If you’re interested – email me (simondavidthomas[at]yahoo.co.uk) or comment.  Obviously if lots of people are interested in co-hosting, I’ll have to choose one – probably at random :)
[EDIT: I think I now have one!  Step forward Harriet]

And, of course, I would love everyone to pick up a Muriel Spark novel when the Reading Week takes place, so also mention if you’d be interested at all in participated!  (No commitments needed now, naturally.)

Oh, I do like a nice idea.

62 thoughts on “Muriel Spark Reading Week…??

  • February 4, 2012 at 12:16 am
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    Muriel Spark is one of my favourites and I'm gradually working my way through her novels. This would be a chance to read a couple more and hear other peoples reactions. Great idea. I'm certainly up for this.

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    • February 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm
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      Wonderful! Even though I've only read six of her novels, I'd definitely count her amongst my favourites too, and I'm looking forward to seeing what other people read. I'm hoping that we get lots of different novels covered.

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  • February 4, 2012 at 12:51 am
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    There are plenty of Muriel Spark titles amongst the old Penguins, and I haven't read any, so I'll join in as well.

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    • February 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm
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      Do you know, I don't think I've ever seen her in Penguin form – I wonder which ones got that treatment…

      You'd be proud of me, Karyn, for the quiz last night – one of the questions was "What were Andre Maurois' 'Ariel', Ernest Hemingway's 'Farewell to Arms' and Eric Linklater's 'Poet's Pub' the first three of?" and I got it right ;)

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  • February 4, 2012 at 4:05 am
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    I'm in, too. Her work is perfect for meaty discussions. BUT bring back Weekend Misc!!!

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    • February 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm
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      Lovely – I think it will make for some brilliant posts.

      And I will, I will, honest! How nice to know they are missed :)

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  • February 4, 2012 at 6:46 am
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    I'd love to join. I've always meant to read Spark and never have. And thanks for giving us lots of time to get organized. See you in the spring.

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    • February 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm
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      Great news! I'll be especially delighted with those trying Spark for the first time – and even more especially if they choose something more obscure than Jean Brodie! Well, I just want to cover as many of the novels as possible, I suppose…

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    • February 4, 2012 at 12:14 pm
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      Wonderful :) There are so many, I keep finding titles I haven't heard of.

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    • February 4, 2012 at 12:14 pm
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      Hurrah! I'll be so pleased if Muriel Spark Reading Week sets some people off on a path to loving her.

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  • February 4, 2012 at 8:50 am
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    I will certainly join. Could even co-host if you want.

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  • February 4, 2012 at 9:37 am
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    Definitely up for this, and happy to help out with publicity and so on.

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    • February 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm
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      Great! Thanks Victoria – when I've settled it a bit more, I'd love for you to advertise it on your blog, or any other avenues you can think of (and I believe I'll be meeting you in person soon!)

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  • February 4, 2012 at 9:39 am
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    I'll run it past our book groups and see what the take up is – plenty of time to order from the library! We'll be your west country voice!

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    • February 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm
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      Wonderful, Mum! I wonder what Teapot would make of the more surreal Spark novels… well, they're all a little surreal! Then again, probably nothing in them that hasn't happened in Chiselborough at some point…

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  • February 4, 2012 at 10:31 am
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    Count me in too! Have only read two of Sparks's works and I have another four on the TBR pile, so this would be a good time to move them up the pile abit. :)

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    • February 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm
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      Great news! Which two have you read, out of interest?
      (And why did Blogger decide that this comment was spam??)

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    • February 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm
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      The Girls of Slender Means (which has one of my favourite opening lines) & The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. And the ones waiting in the fold are A Far Cry From Kensington, The Ballad of Peckham Rye, Aiding & Abetting and Loitering With Intent (bought on account of your high praises for it.)
      Gee, I was considered spam???

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    • February 4, 2012 at 8:01 pm
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      Don't worry, someone else was too! Who understands the vagaries of Blogger?

      So glad Loitering With Intent is waiting in the wings – I have the other three you've got waiting, so we might coincide. So many from which to choose!

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  • February 4, 2012 at 11:05 am
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    I'm in. I've read one Spark I loved (Jean Brodie) and one I didn't (A Far Cry From Kensington). It's time to read the decider ….

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    • February 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm
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      Oo, definitely! My favourite is Loitering With Intent… just sayin' ;) I haven't read A Far Cry from K, but it is on my shelf (with dozens of others.) So far I've only read one which didn't quite work for me (Not To Disturb) mostly because it baffled me too much to enjoy.

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  • February 4, 2012 at 11:20 am
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    Oh yes! Count me in, Simon! I'm ashamed to admit I've never read Muriel Spark, but she's one of those authors I've been keen to try. This is the perfect excuse to do so.

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    • February 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm
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      It is, Laura! I'd love to have you on board, and have a sneaking suspicion that you'll love our Muriel…

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  • February 4, 2012 at 1:22 pm
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    Love the idea, Simon! I was searching for a book at the library the other day and spied A Far Cry From Kensington and thought I might like to try it on for size one day. I'm in!

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    • February 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm
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      Hurrah! That might well be one of the ones I read (I bought it in Paris, no less.)

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  • February 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm
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    I'm in! I have tons of Spark, both read and unread, on my shelves. Just as long as it is after April 1st and the end of the TBR Double Dare. Also, I would be happy to make a button for the event once you know the date.

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    • February 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm
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      Great! It will definitely be after April 1st, and I'd love you to make a button for us, that would be so kind. I'll let you know the dates when Harriet and I have conferred… (I'd also love it to incorporate some of the picture I've used today, if that is possible… I love the pic.)

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    • February 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm
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      Wonderful! I don't know if your VMC reading is restricted to green covers, but if not there have been quite a few Muriel Sparks – including A Far Cry From Kensington in their lovely new patterned editions.

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  • February 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm
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    Very exciting. Definitely in. One of my all time favorites. And would have volunteered to co-host if I was just a little faster. :) Fantastic idea.

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    • February 4, 2012 at 7:46 pm
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      Aww, that would have been fun – but I'd still love your support! Once we're sorted out with dates etc. we'll need all the cheerers-on we can get – especially someone with your knowledge of Spark. I'm getting very excited about it now!

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  • February 4, 2012 at 10:19 pm
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    Well, as you are going to do it after April 1, I will have to try and read along. I've never read Spark, and with so much enthusiasm for this I feel like I must be missing something special.

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    • February 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm
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      Lovely, Susan – I don't think she'll be absolutely everyone's cup of tea, because she can be rather strange, but I'm hoping some people will discover how much they love Spark. And I'm hoping you'll be one of them!

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  • February 5, 2012 at 2:35 am
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    Yes, I'd love to try this. Have never been in a Web reading group — so this will be interesting!
    Muriel Spark intrigues me for 2 reasons:

    1) The movie, "Prime of Miss Jean Brodie"
    2) Long before Frances Mayes, et al. made it fashionable, M.Spark moved to Italy — permanently.

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    • February 5, 2012 at 9:42 am
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      Welcome, welcome! Both good reasons for joining in – hope you end up loving her.

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  • February 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm
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    Oh, yes, definitely. I love Spark and, like Thomas, have several of her books on my shelves, both read and unread. The Driver's Seat and Memento Mori are my favourites so far because they are so deliciously dark.

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    • February 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm
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      Hurrah! It was you and Simon S between you who brought me back to Spark, after not being inspired by the first two I read back in 2004. Many, many thanks!

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  • February 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm
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    Great idea, Simon! I love Muriel Spark, and she deserves more attention. I have a few unread books of hers – sounds like this would be a great time to get to them.

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    • February 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm
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      It would indeed! Very glad you're on board Dan – since you don't have a blog yourself (I believe) I'd be happy to post any thoughts you want to contribute during that week.

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    • February 5, 2012 at 9:47 pm
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      No, I don't have a blog – but thank you very much for the offer! I would love to contribute.

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    • February 5, 2012 at 10:48 pm
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      Great! I'd definitely like to open up space to lovely folk who read blogs but don't have their own, so you can all share your thoughts on Spark more fully.

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  • February 6, 2012 at 7:26 pm
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    Lovely idea Simon. I never get the time participate properly in these things but if you would like me to flag it up on Juxtabook just before or during then let me know. My blog is yours to advertise on …

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    • February 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm
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      I'd love you to! When the badge is designed and everything, I'll be encouraging people to advertise :) Hope you manage to read a Spark by April/May, even if you don't have time to post about it. What makes Spark so ideal for a Reading Week is that her novels can be read on a train journey, they're so short!

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  • February 6, 2012 at 9:54 pm
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    Splendid idea! I'm in. Ginny

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  • February 6, 2012 at 11:09 pm
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    I m in simon ,I ve not read her books yet and always think I should ,all the best stu

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  • February 7, 2012 at 2:42 am
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    Enjoy her books. Would like to participate.

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  • February 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm
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    Yep I will join in for this. Polly and I muttered about Spark in September after 'Discovering Daphne' but we might have another idea. Polly made me read Muriel Spark so maybe drop her an email.

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    • February 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm
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      Hurrah! Thanks for persevering with the comment box ;)
      And I hope I'm not stealing Spark Week away from you – I didn't see it mentioned on your blogs, sorry if you did – but plenty of room for Spark-reading everywhere, of course!

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  • February 11, 2012 at 5:28 am
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    I've read a few of her books and am happy to read more. As a matter of fact last fall I was going to read more and couldn't find my stash of her books. Over the holidays I did some organizing and came across them in a place I didn't expect them to be in. All's well that ends well, and short story long–I have plenty to choose from. Just name the date. :)

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    • February 11, 2012 at 9:13 am
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      Great, Danielle! (Your comment didn't appear immediately because I've set it to 'approve' comments put 3+ days after the post). Keep an eye out on Monday for the dates…

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  • February 16, 2012 at 8:24 am
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    Hello Simon, I saw this on Danielle's blog and would love to join you as well.
    I've read Girls With Slender Means and Jean Brodie and loved them both. I still have a few I haven't read yet on my piles (sadly not Loitering with Intent).
    I will post about the event on my blog this weekend.

    Reply

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