Reading Projects 2018: Muriel Spark read-along

 

I love projects. Adore them. Camaraderie with fellow book bloggers is something I’ve sorely missed; I’ve been away from it too long.

Ladies and gentlemen: Bluestalking is picking up the organizational pace! That blur you just saw out of the corner of your eye? That was me: woman on a mission.

Hold onto your bonnet, Lucille. It’s going to get theme-y around here.

 

My 2018 mission: to kick reading’s arse.

The lovely heavenali is hosting a Muriel Spark read-along to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Scottish writer’s birth. When I was in Scotland I’d hoped to do more investigating about Sparkish sites, read her books, and soak in the atmosphere of her native city while thinking very hard indeed about one of the greatest contemporary Scottish writers to breathe upon this earth.

SPOILER: That didn’t happen exactly as planned.

The Scot did pick up a copy of the film adapation of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for me, which was quite nice of him. I also bought a few of her books. Aaaand, that’s about it.

As a next best thing to studying her there, I’m going to cram as much writing by and about Muriel Spark into my noggin as I can in 2018. I shall celebrate her centenary vicariously, whilst back in the UK they go at it properly, with great gusto.

(Reading and holding Spark-inspired events, I mean. What did you think?!)

 

Not even close to all the books she wrote.

 

I’ve read two of her books, as far as I can remember: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and The Girls of Slender Means. Jean Brodie I read ages ago, in the autumn, the season that suits reading a book set in a girls’ school. I recall precious little about it, even having seen the film just a few months ago. Maggie Smith plays the character of Miss Jean Brodie. Does that count?

 

 

Ditto The Girls. I read it. I liked it. I think parts of it were funny.

This would be why I need to revisit Muriel Spark.

I learned somewhere or other – possibly by stalking him – that Ian Rankin is a huge fan of Muriel Spark. Before he left university to embark on his own writing career, he studied her work for a thesis or some equivalent project. Since I’m shameless and have a huge crush on Rankin, I took advantage and engaged him on Twitter:

 

And why not strike while the iron’s hot? DON’T JUDGE ME.

 

Heavenali has done the heavy lifting. She’s scheduled out a whole year’s worth of Muriel Spark reading with the intention participants can pick and choose what to read and when.

It’s like a big ol’ cocktail party: swing by, grab a drink and a canape, come as you are and leave when you please.

I know a few of the books I intend to read – the two which were Booker shortlisted, for sure – but I’ll wing the rest. For the first leg, I’ve ordered all three novels:

Phase 1 (January/February) Early novels – 1950s

• The Comforters (1957)
• Robinson (1958)
• Memento Mori (1959)

That doesn’t mean I’ll read all the books from all the sections, just that I happened upon an omnibus edition containing two out of three, and said what the hell. Why not?

The books are short. Here’s hoping I can manage to get through them in the two months allotted, while keeping up with everything else on my reading plate.

No pressure. I’ll read what I need to, followed by everything else I’m able. But Muriel Spark is at the tippy top. So looking forward to this.

Check out loads of events, and all sorts of Sparkish delights, at the Muriel Spark 100 website.

 

2 thoughts on “Reading Projects 2018: Muriel Spark read-along

    1. Lisa Guidarini

      Yes, and he told me he met her once, a couple of years before she died. I never miss a chance to chat with Ian Rankin… 😉

      Like

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