A Fond Farwell

My Dear Readers,

This post will be, by far, the most difficult I have ever had to write. As most of you have probably noticed, with the exception of Moby-Dick, this blog has been relatively quiet as of late.  Aside from monthly check-ins about my reading and the monthly check-ins for the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge, there hasn’t been a whole lot going on here.

I’m failing at all of my challenges. I haven’t been reviewing any books. I’ve accepted no review requests, nor have I managed to write anything comprehensive about any of my readings since, I don’t know, Ulysses, perhaps? And that was during my winter break.

The truth is, I find myself absolutely mired in responsibilities for the Ph.D. I’m currently pursuing. I’m also teaching at two universities, writing for About.com, and trying to get back into my own writing. I’m preparing for doctoral field exams (to take place in January) and my foreign language exam (to happen soon). I’m on a number of departmental and university-wide committees, now, all of which are wonderful opportunities, but they stretch my time even thinner. And I’m even considering pursuing another part-time job (out of necessity).

Of course, I have a partner and a family, too. I’ve begun, in the last couple of years, to take my health and fitness very seriously as well. Most of you will not know this, but in the last couple of years, I’ve lost over 100 pounds.

With all that being said, I’ve spent the last few months considering what is to be done. And, the truth is, I must, for the time being, step away from Roof Beam Reader.

I’m not going to be deleting my blog or Twitter. I plan to keep up with the monthly TBR Pile Check-In posts, for instance, and will try to post once per month with updates on things I’ve been reading, articles I’ve been writing, etc. But, I will not be here regularly. I will not be posting reviews, hosting giveaways, participating in blog tours, challenges or events. For all intents and purposes, I am on a hiatus.

This will likely last a year or two, with some more active time during the summer months. Until I complete my Ph.D., I must, must, focus all of my energy and attention there.  Any “spare” time I find will not be spare at all, as I need to be working, writing, submitting, and attending things like symposia, conferences, colloquia, etc.

Believe me; it breaks my heart to write this. But, in the words of Eliott Smith, this is not goodbye, “it’s just a fond farewell to a friend.” I have every intention of returning to be a regular presence at some time in the future, and I’m sure I’ll be around every now and then, too.

To those of you who have been with me for these last five plus years, thank you. Your support, interaction, friendship, insight, and wisdom have meant more to me than you’ll ever know. From events like Austen in August to The Classics Club and beyond, I have done so much, learned so much, with and from all of you. I could never have continued this all on my own – you all have fueled my passion for reading, for literature, and so much more.

Although I’ve never met the vast majority of you, you’ve influenced me and inspired me in so many ways. I thank you, and I’ll be seeing you.


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Guest Post: Speculation and Conjecture in Jane Austen’s Emma (#AustenInAugustLGR)

Originally posted on Lost Generation Reader:

Happy Thursday, Janeites! I’m here to welcome another fabulous guest blogger to the Lost Generation Reader stage. Ellen Mandeville blogs at Ellen Exploring: Seeking Truth One Post at a – SQUIRREL! She holds a degree in English Literature and is currently writing Hartfield, a sequel to Emma. Welcome, Ellen!

emmacover One aspect of Jane Austen’s work that I absolutely love is that each novel differs from the others. In Northanger Abbey, Austen rebuts the Gothic Romance novel. Sense and Sensibility contains Austen’s response to the Romanticism of her age. Pride and Prejudice depicts love triumphant overcoming pride, prejudice, the social cast system, and embarrassing family members. In Mansfield Park — Austen’s most theological work — she contrasts many things, one being the mere learning of Maria and Julia versus Fanny’s learning to develop true character. In Persuasion , we enjoy an ode to the Navy, the portrayal of meritocracy…

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2014 #TBRChallengeRBR Checkpoint 8!

2014tbrbuttonHello, TBR Pile Challengers!

It is August 15th, which means it’s time for us all to check-in and chat about our progress in the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge! How are you doing!?

I have read 2 of my required 12 books, The Complete Poems of Walt Whitman and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. So much for getting caught up during the summer! I just realized that in one week, the fall semester starts – where does the time go!?

Question of the Month: If you had to swap out a book from your list and put another book in its place, which book would you exchange and what would the replacement be? Bonus points (not really) for explaining why!

Below, you’re going to find the infamous Mr. Linky widget. If you read and review any challenge books this month, please link-up on the widget below. This Mr. Linky will be open until August 31st, so any books that you complete this month (and post thoughts for), can be linked-up in this first checkpoint. Any that you read/write about in September can be linked-up on September 15th, when the new widget opens.

Giveaway: This month’s check-in does not come with a giveaway, but CONGRATULATIONS to the winner of last month’s checkpoint giveaway, Cleo of Classical Carousel!

Keep up the great work and best of luck to you in the coming months!

LINK UP YOUR REVIEWS August 1 – August 31

Guest Post: Illustrating Jane Austen (#AustenInAugustLGR)

Originally posted on Lost Generation Reader:

Hello again, friends of Austen! (We’re all her friends, right?) I am pleased to welcome Lory of The Emerald City Book Review for a splendid guest post on illustrated editions of Jane Austen. Lory Widmer Hess blogs about classic fiction, children’s books, beautiful illustrated editions, and whatever else catches her fancy. She lives in New Hampshire with her family. Welcome, Lory!

Though Jane Austen’s novels remain entrancing when read as e-books or ragged paperbacks, lovers of her works may want to have them in a more permanent and more aesthetically pleasing form. Fortunately there are beautiful illustrated editions available, often for very reasonable prices on the secondary market. This year, rather than trying to find a uniform edition of the novels, I assembled a collection of versions by six different illustrators, most for $20 or less. These diverse perspectives on Austen’s world help to create a more complete picture than…

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Jane Austen & The Art of Walking (#AustenInAugustLGR)

Originally posted on Lost Generation Reader:

Happy Tuesday, fellow Austen readers! I’m pleased to announce that the first Austen in August guest post is coming from Adam of Roof Beam Reader. You all know Adam as the creator of this wonderful reading event, and today he’s here with the topic of the art of walking in Jane Austen’s writing. Welcome, Adam!

One of the most interesting motifs in Austen’s works is “the walk” or “the journey.” Jane Austen was herself very fond of walking, and she also enjoyed creating heroines who would find numerous occasions to take a stroll, either by themselves or in company.

28244As Dorothy Wordsworth noted in a letter dated 1792, walking was “both socially and spatially the widest latitude available to women contained within these social strictures, the activity in which they find a chance to exert body and imagination.”

It is perhaps not surprising, then, that some of the most…

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Austen in August: Sign-Up Post (#AustenInAugustLGR)

Roof Beam Reader:

Austen in August Starts Tomorrow! I’ll be reading Emma – what about you?

Originally posted on Lost Generation Reader:

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Welcome to the sign-up post for Austen in August, an annual reading event celebrating one of literature’s most well-known and celebrated writers! As many of you know, this event was inspired by a Twitter conversation between three founders of The Classics Club. That being said, this event wouldn’t exist and be what it is today without Adam of Roof Beam Reader. He took this massive event on two years ago and continued the fun last year. Because of his insanely hectic life of pursuing a Ph.D., along with several other endeavors that would take a lot of space to list (read more at his blog), he had to put aside this project and most of his blogging in general. Like many others (everyone), this was very sad news for me to hear, but the blogging must go on.

Now, I am a huge (HUGE

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