The Time Has Come

Well, friends, it’s finally closing-time in the Reading Room. Some of us have enjoyed one another’s company, in one form or another, for at least a dozen years. We’ve discussed best-sellers and neglected classics, argued about E-Readers, speculated about the future of the book, recalled childhood favorites, mourned the passing of Ray Bradbury, Gore Vidal and many other writers, and lamented the gradual disappearance of brick and mortal used bookshops. Just look down the archived posts and you’ll see that we’ve covered dozens of other topics too. And even that substantial list leaves out the scores of earlier threads that are now somewhere in the bowels of the Post’s computer system.

Last week I described why it seemed time to go. But, as I said then, my reviews will continue to come out in The Washington Post’s Style section (on Thursdays) and in several other periodicals and online venues. I might particularly urge people to check out the weekly mini-essay I’ve been doing since the spring for the online home page of The American Scholar. “Browsings” appears each Friday. It’s rather different from this forum in that it’s just me, maundering on about this and that, usually with a literary theme lurking somewhere.

It’s been said that lingering over good-byes merely prolongs the pain of parting. Some of me certainly will miss writing this column and reading your contributions—often far more insightful than my own initiating efforts. But who knows? I’m always up for new ventures, so we may all meet again some lucky day. Since I titled this sayonara column by quoting the opening of “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” let me close with the last stanza of “The Hunting of the Snark” :

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee, 
He had softly and suddenly vanished away —
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

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