What to Read and Watch While Awaiting Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman

Every so often, a moment occurs in the literary world that is so remarkable and so unexpected that one wonders if this isn’t the stuff of fiction.

I’m talking, of course, about last week’s news that a new (sorta) novel by Harper Lee is scheduled to be published this July.

Yes, that Harper Lee, the same one of To Kill a Mockingbird fame.

I can’t speak for everyone here at the Library, but my sentiments are in line with those shared by my colleagues Don Wentworth and Miguel Llinas (“Western Pennsylvania literary community weighs in on Lee news” Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 2/3/2015).

Of course, this announcement has its own plot twist with some accompanying controversy and speculation, which I’m not going to get into here today.  Despite being an English/Communications major in college, I’m just an admirer and appreciative fan of TKAM and Harper Lee — not an expert. Nor do I play one on the Internet.

Instead, what I — and the Library — can offer are some thoughts on what you can read and watch while you’re awaiting Go Set a Watchman.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Chances are, it has been a few years since you’ve picked up To Kill a Mockingbird.  Maybe you never read it in school. Perhaps you don’t remember reading it, or perhaps some aspects of the story have gotten a little fuzzy over the past 55 years. Doesn’t matter. A July publication date means that there is plenty of time to revisit this classic and say hi to your old friends Atticus, Scout and Boo.

To Kill a Mockingbird - DVD

There’s the movie version, which I admit I’ve never seen. (I know. I know.) Must remedy that soon.

Mockingbird - Charles Shields

In my view, Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles Shields is required reading for everyone who loves To Kill a Mockingbird.  So much of Harper Lee’s life is written into the pages of To Kill a Mockingbird, which I never realized until reading this.  Shields’ well-written biography is based on at least 600 interviews with people connected to Harper Lee, who is referred to as Nelle, her given name, throughout the book.

Other titles that look intriguing:

Scout, Atticus and Boo

Scout, Atticus & Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird, by Mary McDonagh Murphy

The Mockingbird Next Door

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee, by Marja Mills

What are your thoughts about To Kill a Mockingbird and the publication announcement of Go Set a Watchman?

And what else Mockingbird-related should I be reading (or watching) to hold me over until July?

~ Melissa F.


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6 responses to “What to Read and Watch While Awaiting Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman

  1. Hands up who screamed with pleasure when they heard this news?

  2. I’m a substitute teacher and heard the high school teachers discussing this latest revelation. It’s quite exciting, as I’m also a Mockingbird fan. And to read Ms. Lee actually wrote, Watchman, first makes this pending release all the more exciting!

  3. I am looking forward to the book, no matter how polished it is. I read that Mockingbird went through a lot of edits and this one will be published “as is” so it’s important to understand what to expect.

  4. Beth L

    DO see the movie. Rarely do I enjoy a movie that well when I loved the book but I am such a fan of this one and of Gregory Peck’s incredible portrayal of Atticus. It stands on its own right with incredible performances.

  5. Flairy Godmother

    Yes! Please don’t forget to watch Fearful Symmetry The Making of… there were points made about the characters that resonate with me still. I kinda want to watch it right now!

  6. I once bought a name book because it’s specifically titled, “A is for Atticus: Baby Names from Great Books.”

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