Sunday 4 October 2009

Ready Stead... Ivy!

Ok, have you got your copies of Manservant and Maidservant by Ivy Compton-Burnett? Or perhaps you have it under the original American title, Bullivant and the Lambs. Either way, there is still sometime to get prepared, even though I'm shouting GO! at the top of my voice. Because I don't think we can all agree to read the novel in the same week, I'm decreeing the whole of October as your time limit.... I AM excited!

So, over October, secure your copy, and get reading. The beautiful New York Review of Books Classics edition is
available in the US, but also from some bookshops in England - I spotted two copies in the Kensington Persephone Bookshop, for example. Otherwise, plenty of secondhand editions to find. It was first published in 1947, but has been reprinted a fair number of times.

And, in the first w
eek of November, I'll encourage everyone involved to post on their experiences with the novel - either in comments on my blog, or - of course - on your own blogs. You're welcome to post before then, obviously you can do as you like, but it might be fun to all write about Manservant and Maidservant at the same time.

This experience might well be giving up on page two, or it might be sheer delight and ordering all of her novels - or, of course, something in between. I've not read it yet, I don't know how I'll react. But it will be exciting to know that we're all reading ICB together - I'll remind everyone about halfway through October, and see how you're going...

Feel free to comment now, to reassure me that I'm not reading all on my own, and let the festivities begin!


  1. Simon, don't fret: you are not reading on your own. I have my copy (conveniently mentioned in today's post) but won't start be able to start reading for another ten days or so. I wonder if we shall share the opinion of the Queen (as created by Alan Bennett)?

  2. I'm hoping the library has a copy as I can't afford any new books at the moment...I'll track one down somewhere and get started once I've finally finished The Children's Book!

  3. I've just reserved the only copy in Oxfordshire libraries...I wonder what edition will arrive.

  4. I have one on order from Amazon but it hasn't arrived yet.

  5. I've got one on order, which I'm hoping will be there when I get home.

    I saw another ICB yesterday and nearly bought it, but thought I'd wait and see what I made of it, since opinions of her seem so mixed.

  6. Ivy Compton Burnett? You're welcome!
    I'll head back to Miss Hargreaves!
    Oh, and how many of you noticed the oil seed rape in last night's BBC 1 'Emma'? Tut tut.

  7. It was waiting in my mailbox when I got home tonight! Hooray! Now sitting stroking it before I start reading!

  8. Simon, it's Sophie! I walked past the Kensington Persephone bookshop last Sunday (never seen it before) & thought of you. Hope all's well. Much love.

  9. Oh I do sooooo want to join in but have just been looking at how much this book costs. If can find a cheap copy am in!

  10. I got mine (NYRB version) from Aprohead, through Amazon, can't remember exactly how much but it was under £10 including postage and came in a couple of days.

  11. I've snagged my library's copy. Hopefully no one else in the area is wanting it!


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