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My Sunday is seeming very empty without it’s now-expected long interlude of Middlemarch on the sofa and then Mona’s weekly missive bringing it all into ringing focus, the opening to a week of turning over in my mind what we’d just read with you all.
I want to extend heartfelt thanks to Mona Simpson for this wonderful experience and the idea itself of reading this profound and expansive (and often hilarious) book together. Usually I’m whipping past one book and on to the next in my life as a book review editor: it has been a long time since I’ve had such a deep draught of reading for myself. And it has been very special for me to read with her and the rest of you—the pandemic and, before that, taking leave of office life have made shared book-talk more of a rarity for me than I suppose it once was. It was also especially fun to get the novelist’s-eye-view of how Eliot envisioned her characters and arranged our encounters with them, and I loved how attuned Mona was to them as people; how readily she saw in their experiences capsules of our own.
If you are still catching up I hope you will still join us in the comments (below each post here). I still check in to greet new arrivals and see what’s new in the finished sections and the conversation continues as long as we want it to!
We are planning a couple of follow-up encounters and I will let you know the details when we have them. One idea we have is a conversation that would include Mona’s own book Commitment with an eye to its consanguinities with Middlemarch. So get yourself a copy now if you haven’t read it and plunge in! You can still make use of the 25 percent discount on Tertulia offered for Commitment + Middlemarch (give the copy of Middlemarch to a friend?). Here’s how to collect it: sign up for a free trial of Tertulia membership, put Middlemarch and Commitment in your cart, and enter the code MIDDLEMARCH at checkout.
Meanwhile, it is hard for me to imagine another writer leading us in reading with the sympathy and liveliness and breadth that Mona brought to it, but I wonder if we should try another reading group here at Book Post sometime? It has been such an enlivening stream in Book Post’s life. Maybe we can convince her to come back! Tell us what you would like to read in the poll below, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally I hope all of you will stay involved with Book Post. We have other good stuff too! And already you have brought some of Summer Reading’s welcome lively spirit over to the comments in our reviews and other posts. I think reading with others has opened us up to a more multi-directional way of being a newsletter. If you’re a Summer Reading participant and not a Book Post paid subscriber let me give you a comp so you can stay with us for a while and see what it’s like. Send me an email at email@example.com saying “comp please!”
I am so grateful to you all! Thank you, and may the incalculably diffusive effects of this book carry into your autumn and beyond.