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.
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.
There’s the movie version, which I admit I’ve never seen. (I know. I know.) Must remedy that soon.
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 & Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird, by Mary McDonagh Murphy
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.