WordPress sent me a message last week telling me it’s been four years since I started Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau. Blog years being, I suspect, like dog years, this puts the blog well into its adult years. And these days, when some of the book blogs I love best (though thankfully not all of them) have gone away or fallen into, one hopes, temporary dormancy, I think there’s value in my still being here. Not that I’m especially persistent. My number one regret is that I don’t blog nearly as much as I’d liked to. (My number two regret is that my blog causes me so many regrets.) Unfortunately, barring an unexpected change in career or life fortune I don’t think that’s going to change in the coming year.
But I have a few ideas in the works. Last year I inveigled a couple of friends into guest posting—see here, here, and here—and I enjoyed that dialogue. I’ll be continuing that experiment this year, starting with a smart post from a smart friend on Émile Zola any day now. (If you’d like to contribute a guest post, drop me a line in the comments.) In the past I’ve had fun co-organizing reading groups (I seem to do better with those than with ones I blithely agree to participate in on Twitter: those invariably defeat me), and I’m always up for more of those.
As well as adding other contributors to the blog, I’d also like to broaden the kinds of things I write for it. I recently learned I’ve been awarded a three-year grant from my institution to design experiential learning projects for students on the topic of Holocaust Literature and Education. I plan to incorporate the blog into that process, starting in the fall.
And looking even further ahead, I want to organize a series of events (readalongs, online reference posts, reviews, who knows what else) to celebrate the centenary in 2019 of the chemist, writer, and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi. Levi is one of my intellectual heroes; I’d love to organize something analogous to Heavenali’s Muriel Spark centenary. (In fact, her celebration seems so well organized, I may just have to steal her format).
Along the way, I’ll keep writing reviews as I’m able. I’ll keep melding memoir and analysis when it seems relevant. And I’ll keep writing the occasional post about a writer’s work more generally. (I have something in mind about Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series and why I love it so.)
I can’t say I’ll write to order— I’m so slow, I wouldn’t last a day as a proper working writer—but I would certainly like to know what you want to read. More of the same? Something new? Please share your thoughts.
Most importantly, I want to thank everyone who’s visited, nosed around a little, read a post or two, maybe even left a comment. (And apologies again to everyone who lands here because they want to hike the Swiss Alps.) I’m especially grateful to those who follow me and/or are regular readers. Becoming part of the online community of readers and writers has been one of the best things that’s happened to me in the last few years. Your interest and support means a lot. I promise I’ll keep plugging away as best I can.
Back to climbing the book mountain…
Thank you! The blog is considerably younger than I am, so its birthday is more fun to celebrate.
Happy blog birthday! And congratulations on the grant: I will be very interested to follow you as you develop the experiential learning materials – and, as always, to read anything you have to say about books and writing and teaching. A Primo Levi centenary event of some kind would be a wonderful thing.
Thanks, Rohan. The main thrust of the professorship is to mentor a cadre of four students each year as they learn about Holocaust literature and how to present/teach it to different audiences.
I’m quite excited abut the Levi idea: he’s a worthy candidate for sustained attention and reassessment IMO and he wrote a lot of stuff I haven’t read yet, so I’m looking forward to delving into his non-Holocaust work.
Sounds great. Maybe Kevin Simpson at JBU can contribute to the Holocaust project at some point.
Thanks, Steve. Yes, we have done some stuff together already (he’s come to my classes, we’ve been involved in an education conference here in Arkansas).
What’s your third regret?
More of the same, and also something new. Those are my answers to the questions.
Happy birthday to the ol’ bloggo!
My third regret is not having read as many books as you.
Per your suggestion, I will endeavour to do more of the same and some new stuff.
I think it’s impressive that you manage to write as much as you do!
I hope it goes without saying that I will be in for any Primo Levi-related activities you organize (I feel confident making promises about next year precisely because it isn’t this year yet!)
Thanks, Nat. Yes, next year’s promises are so easy to make. I thought making it public might give me a wee bit of accountability. Would be glad to have you involved. You’ve probably read more Levi than I have.
Congrats on four years, and here’s to four more! Like all of your readers, I’m also a big Primo Levi fan, so I hope you have time to do this. I always enjoy your posts.
Thanks! I appreciate the kind words and vote of confidence in the Primo Levi idea. I’d love it if lots of people were reading his work together.
Congratulations on 4 years. Here’s to 4 more! Your plans sound great.
Also… your fourth regret, to bring the count up to the occasion-appropriate number?
Hmm… blog related: not having a blog roll on the site; I really need to revamp the whole look of the thing, but I’m so hopeless with that sort of stuff that I keep putting it off. This summer, I hope. Writing related… I had the chance to write for LARB in its very early days and I totally blew it. Still regret that deeply.
Anyway, thanks for the kind words.
Happy blog birthday! I enjoy what you do on here so more of the same would be fine with me
Thank you! And thank you for reading. I’m hoping to have a new post up this weekend.
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