But I did want to write that I’m loving the book. I won’t give any details of my reaction until June 30, when the Slaves of Golconda are doing their book discussion, but if you are participating in the discussion and haven’t begun the book yet, I think you are in for a treat. And if you aren’t part of the group, there’s still time! Anyone can join, and it’s a short book. All you have to do is post a response to the book on June 30th on your blog, and then head over to Metaxu Café and join the discussion on the forums there (and if you don’t have a blog, just join us for the forum discussion).
I’ve read about 90 of its 150 pages, and am tempted to read it over again immediately, just to savor it a little more. And it’s such a fast read, I could do it easily. I’ve never done an immediate re-reading before, except when working on an essay for a class, but I’ve liked it when I’ve heard people say they loved a book so much that when they finished the last page, they immediately turned back to page one and started all over again. Sometimes you just can’t bear to leave the world of a novel behind. And since The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is so short, I don’t have that much time to spend in its world before it ends, unless I do read it twice. Have any of you ever done such a thing, purely for fun?
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is tempting me to do something else I’ve never done: set out to read all the works of a particular author, maybe even including books about the author as well as by the author. Muriel Spark would be a good candidate for such an endeavor, I think – she has a lot of novels, but they tend to be slim, and it would be fun to see if and how they change over the decades. Susan, from Pages Turned, has embarked on just such a project, reading through the works of Rebecca West. This sounds awfully interesting (and I’ve never read Rebecca West! Another one for the TBR pile).
I’ve never been that orderly and dedicated a reader, though. I think I’m the type who gets excited about such a project at the beginning, but fairly quickly comes to feel hemmed in by it. And there’s the problem of knowing that you’ll be reading what, at least according to the critics and biographers, are some of the author’s weak books or failures. I don’t feel that level of dedication to most authors, to read everything they wrote, regardless of critical reputation or general readerly consensus.
But wouldn’t it be great fun to be able to say I loved Muriel Spark so much I set out to read everything she wrote?
Today I’m also hanging out over here at Ella’s great blog Box of Books — stop by and say hi!