Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Life re-entry

I must say that I was absolutely overwhelmed on Monday and Tuesday by life re-entry panic. This to-do list is going to kill me!

All I really want is to be exercising and getting back into my own work mode, but instead I have this huge list of school things and life things and especially things to do with my father's estate that must be ticked off (Pennsylvania estate taxes must be prepaid by June 6 for the discount, the condo closing is early next week and I belatedly realized yesterday that my brother in NJ had the only set of keys with electronic fob and mailbox - my sister-in-law came to the rescue, express-mailing them this morning to paralegal in Philadelphia).

Dissertations are being defended left and right and I need to round up a few more committee members for the third of three upcoming (I hate to ask the same people multiple times, it is a lot of extra work, but then again we ask those people because they are so good at it and answer emails promptly - no virtue goes unpunished in academia!).


I have an amazing slate of work stuff that I'm really excited about, but need to clear the head space so that I can actually get down to business. Summer projects: researching and writing the talk for this Johnson Shakespeare conference (this is the most pressing!); writing proposals for books about reading Austen and reading Clarissa. Back-burner upcoming project is the Gibbon's Rome book, but that will mostly have to wait till my year of sabbatical in 2016-2017 (woo-hoo!). Also a Secret Editorial Project that I will wait to unveil till it's more official, but that should be pretty interesting....

I have a very demanding year upcoming; only teaching one class per semester, due to course release for administrative stuff, but the two really huge things are that I will be chairing the Tenure Review Advisory Committee (that's between 70 and 80 tenure cases over the year), and I've also agreed to do something that as a Young Person was one of my institutional dreams (it's an honor to be asked, I couldn't say no!): writing the annual eighteenth-century studies roundup review for Studies in English Literature, which entails reading and reviewing the 100+ books and journal issues published in my field in 2015. It will be very interesting, I think, and it should benefit my graduate students down the road in terms of giving me a keener sense of the field as it currently exists, but it is a lot of work.

Closing tabs:

My review of Hanya Yanagihara's new novel is in the new issue of Bookforum, but not available online (read Garth Greenwell's piece instead!).

Ben Anastas on the pain of being edited.

Victor LaValle interviews Mat Johnson (keen to read his new novel).

At Public Books, Benjamin Eldon Stevens writes about a novel I loved, Jo Walton's Just City.

Jane Yeh has a poem in the New Republic!

An excellent interview with my colleague Edward Mendelson about morals and criticism.

A tale of two velodromes!

Miscellaneous light reading around the edges (lots of planes and trains):

Asali Solomon, Disgruntled (I really liked this one - very clear and captivating voice and vision, and of course due to the Philadelphia stuff I am especially interested - going to send a copy to my mother now as I think she will much enjoy it).

Paolo Bacigalupi, The Water Knife (I think he's an extremely good writer, and yet I do not love his books - I suppose that my preference is for something more character- and voice-driven, which is really not a criticism, just an observation!).

Andrew Klavan, Werewolf Cop (title of genius!)

Tim Lebbon, The Silence - I really, really liked this one.

Anyway, I've spent the morning clearing various minor list items, and am no longer feeling quite so panicky (I also have a personal assistant scheduled to come a couple times in the next few weeks to help me/make me do mine and my dad's postponed taxes for 2014, apply for Global Entry and more passport pages, move things from home to office, etc. etc.).


  1. Re: Paolo Bacigalupi
    At least _The Doubt Factory_ worked pretty well for you

  2. Congratulations on SEL! I just made reference to those SEL review articles in a post earlier this week...