A Sweet Farewell

It happens to me at the end of every year--that tendency to glance back nostalgically, usually at writers we have lost. In 2008 we saw the passing of David Foster Wallace, Arthur C. Clarke and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, three monumental authors consumed by three very different passions that even death won't dim.

My nostalgia this year is made deeper by the fact that I will be leaving my post as editor of Book World on December 31. For 15 years I have had the privilege and honor of serving the best book review section in the country. Few newspapers value books as deeply as The Washington Post does, and I consider myself fortunate to work for an institution whose owners and chief executives (the Graham family) have made their support for books coverage abundantly clear.

I have been lucky, too, to work with an extraordinarily talented staff of editors, writers and assistants. I will miss them greatly.

I want to take this opportunity (my final blogpost for Short Stack) to thank all of you who have made Book World a better section. To all of you who have ever written for Book World, a very deep bow. The caliber of reviewing on our pages is nothing short of superb.

I want to thank, too, all of you in the publishing business who have supported my work and who will continue to look to The Washington Post Book World for excellence in book coverage. There is much yet to do!

Last, and most important, I want to thank our readers, whose broad range of interests has always posed a constant and delightful challenge. I have greatly enjoyed working for you.

Thanks, as well, to all of you out there who read and respond to this blog, listen to our podcasts and log onto our Book World Live discussions. Your responses are invaluable.

As I move on from this editorial career to a new life as a full-time writer, I always will be grateful to the many people who have made this job such a joy.

Thank you.

Marie Arana

By Marie Arana |  December 29, 2008; 10:40 AM ET
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Thanks to you. You did good work. I hope your replacement, whoever that person is, continues to experiment with the Book World section and keep it healthy and lively.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | December 29, 2008 11:33 AM

I'm sorry to see you're leaving. Good luck in your writing.

Posted by: kleewrite | December 29, 2008 4:04 PM

Dear Ms Arana,

You have written powerful, compelling reviews and commentary. I will miss your contributions. You are so right: The Post's Book World is the finest critical book review section in the country, and I sup at its table regularly. May your next step be fruitful and rewarding.

Posted by: rwheeler1 | December 29, 2008 9:15 PM

Dear Ms. Arana (Marie),

We'll miss you terribly. If there is a bright side (at least for me), it might mean we won't have to wait so long between novels. I thought your first novel "Cellophane" was such a great novel--feel it ranks right up there with some of Marquez's and perhaps even with Conrad's "Nostromo." I especially loved the cataclysmic ending.

Did I heard on Book-TV that your new novel, about to be released, is called "Lima Nights"? I can't wait.

Posted by: lheffelkcrrcom | December 30, 2008 2:28 PM

I couldn't have expressed my feelings any better than poster, lheffelkcrrcom did. Cellophane was a remarkable reading experience.

You have, along with your talented staff, made the WaPo book review section, the best anywhere.

Good luck and I look forward to your new book.

Posted by: eastenders | December 31, 2008 8:41 AM

Your fine leadership of this vital section will be missed. There is even a rumor going around in Arlington that the section is being discontinued. I mention this not to spread such bad news further but to invite Post assurances that it ain't so!

Posted by: cjohnson1 | December 31, 2008 10:55 AM

Fare thee well, Maria! It was a pleasure working with you, a book is not complete until there are readers to read and you did some much to bring readers to complete the books, thanks and man happy New Years to come.

Richard Nash

Posted by: softskull | December 31, 2008 12:13 PM

Fare thee well, Maria! It was a pleasure working with you, a book is not complete until there are readers to read it and you did so much to bring the readers to complete the books, thanks and mamy happy New Years to come.

Richard Nash

Posted by: softskull | December 31, 2008 12:17 PM

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