Monday, 30 April 2012

Muriel Spark Reading Week: Review Round-up

Thanks so, so, SO much for all your contributions to Muriel Spark Reading Week - it's been such fun, and exceeded the highest hopes that Harriet and I held.   I'm especially thrilled for those people who discovered Dame Muriel for the first time, and loved her.  Harriet has already posted a round-up, but I thought I'd do one here too, for handy reference.  We were SO close to covering all her novels - just The Mandelbaum Gate left out.  [EDIT: Thanks Christine, we've now done them ALL!]  I've not included links to more general posts about Spark (although they were great!) so here are links to reviews of her novels and other books.  Enjoy!

(I don't have Google Reader or anything like that, so it's entirely possible that I've missed your review - do let me know, and I'll add it to the links below!)


The Novels

The Comforters (1957)
Travellin' Penguin

Robinson (1958)
Bibliolathas
A Penguin A Week
Vapour Trail

Memento Mori (1959)
Bibliolathas
CurrerBell
A Girl Walks into a Bookstore
Gudron's Tights
A Penguin A Week

The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960)
The Book Trunk
The Only Way Is Reading
Stuck-in-a-Book

The Bachelors (1960)
Behind The Willows
Page Plucker

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961)
An Adventure in Reading
Book Snob
Excelsior
Harriet Devine
Heaven-Ali

The Girls of Slender Means (1963)
Miss Bibliophile
The Book Trunk
Gaskella
Iris on Books
Park Benches & Bookends
A Work in Progress

The Mandelbaum Gate (1965)
The Book Trunk

The Public Image (1968)
Page Plucker

The Driver's Seat (1970)
An Adventure in Reading
Harriet Devine
The Literary Stew
Page Plucker
Somewhere Boy
A Tale of Three Cities

Not to Disturb (1971)
Literature Frenzy!

The Hothouse by the East River (1973)
The Books of Life
Seagreen Reader

The Abbess of Crewe (1974)
Behind the Willows
Our Vicar's Wife
Page Plucker
Stuck-in-a-Book

The Takeover (1976)
My Porch
Stuck-in-a-Book

Territorial Rights (1979)
Beauty is a Sleeping Cat
Desperate Reader
A Girl Walks into a Bookstore
Morgana's Cat 

Loitering with Intent (1981)
Behind the Willows
The Captive Reader
Ciao Domenica
Laura's Musings
Our Vicar's Wife
Page Plucker

The Only Problem (1984)
Stuck-in-a-Book
Tales From The Reading Room

A Far Cry From Kensington (1988)
Harriet Devine
His Futile Occupations
A Reader's Footprints
Roses Over A Cottage Door
Semi-Fictional
Silencing the Bell
La Vicomtesse
Winston's Dad

Symposium (1990)
An Adventure in Reading
Our Vicar's Wife

Reality and Dreams (1996)
Fleur Fisher
Our Vicar's Wife

Aiding and Abetting (2000)
A Girl Walks Into A Bookstore

The Finishing School (2004)
Harriet Devine
Iris on Books
Our Vicar's Wife
Silencing the Bell
Somewhere Boy
Tales From The Reading Room


Non-novels and Miscellaneous

Emily Brontё: Her Life and Work (1953)
I Prefer Reading

The Go-Away Bird (1958)
Vapour Trail

Curriculum Vitae (autobiography) (1992)
Somewhere Boy
Stuck-in-a-Book

Complete Short Stories
Desperate Reader

And if you can speak Dutch... several reviews etc. at Leen Huet's blog!

13 comments:

  1. It was indeed a great week, Simon. Thanks very much to you and Harriet for hosting it! It's been so interesting for me as a reader but not necessarily lover of Spark to discover what it is about her writing and her many books that so many other adore.

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  2. A lovely week - and now I find it hard to stop reading Spark! Thanks again.

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  3. It was a lovely week. And I have read Mandelbaum, somewhat belatedly - I picked it up earlier in the week, abandoned it (yet again!), but gave it another go so you have the full set! http://chriscross-thebooktrunk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/spark-without-sparkle.html

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  4. That is really impressive - well done everyone, getting all of her books covered with brilliant posts from you and Harriet. I will definitely be reading more Spark - I have 'The prime...' The Drivers Seat on the shelves already and ordered the Abbess of Crewe yesterday.

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  5. Do you count older reviews? If so, I have Reality and Dreams http://myporchblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/book-review-reality-and-dreams-by.html from 2010 and The Girls of Slender Means from 2011 http://myporchblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/book-review-girls-of-slender-means-by.html

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  6. And by the way, congratulations on getting all 22 novels reviewed. I think I got that many Brookner's reviewed for IABD, but there were so many duplicates, we didn't come close to covering all of her novels.

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  7. Agreed with everyone-this was a great week. I'll definitely be looking back at some of these links to see what other readers had to say once I get a few more Spark novels under my belt!

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  8. What a wonderful week - and so many reviews! I hadn't read Spark for literally decades, and I'm really glad to have her back on the agenda again. She always challenges the reader and makes them think, and how many authors can you honestly say that about?

    Incidentally, has Shirley arrived back with you after her travels? I put her in the post on Friday so hope she has arrived safely.

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  9. This was really great fun and I now have lots of Spark on my TBR pile - thanks for hosting! Karen

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  10. Wow, not only did you get all 22 novels, but you got the short stories, the Bronte bio and Spark’s autobiography. Well done! I only read The Prime, but my library has 18 of her 22 novels and I am really very excited about reading more Spark in the future, if only to be able to use the term “Sparkensian” at some point.

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  11. Richard says,

    The MSRW introduced me to this author … so thanks to all those who thought of the idea and promoted it. I look forward to other such weeks.

    As previously reported my first excursion into Muriel Spark was a short story – ‘The Executor’, which I enjoyed.

    I then went onto ‘Memento Mori’ [Penguin First Ed. 1961 2/6(was) Second hand bookshop find] The first 14 Chapters were great … I enjoyed the detail, the descriptions of the old people and their activities as well as the humour. Unfortunately for me, the last few chapters seemed as though Muriel had either lost interest or needed to finish the book in a great rush – a deadline to meet? As a result I felt a bit cheated as I had ‘invested’ time into the plot and characters and was left feeling ‘short changed’!

    My third MSRW experience was another short story – ‘Bang-Bang You’re Dead’ which was good. I liked the reoccurring theme of mistaken identity and its impact on the characters.

    No doubt I will read more of Spark in the future – I got a few more of her books during my recent bookshop forays.


    Richard in Nuneaton

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  12. I am very cross with myself for having missed this Simon, you know I lve to support Reading Week's and the like. I have been manic with the day job! I tried to read a Spark last minute but it was making me rush it and it took the joy away so I stopped. Apologies.

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    1. No worries, Simon, definitely better to wait than to rush it and not enjoy Dame M!

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