Above are the Virago editions of a couple of Muriel Spark books; right, my penguinification of Loitering with Intent. I know it’s not worth upsetting myself over, but surely Muriel Spark doesn’t deserve this awful chick-lit treatment. I’m not just saying this because I resent having to shield these books when in public. (I could, if I were that insecure, adopt the Japanese custom of wrapping books in paper. I sometimes do that, and I sometimes am that insecure.) I just think Spark’s books are better, less easily defined, and less Bridget Jones, than these covers make them out to be. Or maybe I’m just under the spell of another book I recently read and - mostly - looked at, Penguin by Design, by Phil Baines. If you’re a fan of that 50s - 60s -70s Penguin style, you should station this book on your coffee table sometime soon. Then you’ll find yourself like me, comparing any book cover, including those Penguin produces nowadays, to the exquisitely bland designs of its old J.D. Salinger covers, for example, and asking yourself what cover wouldn’t be improved by penguinification.

Other highlights (for me) include the 60s poetry series and the New Penguin Shakespeare with David Gentleman’s illustrations… 

Saint Passionate


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