Tag Archives: controversy

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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Ink, Inc.

Because the budget crisis doesn’t take holidays, library workers from all departments and locations have been brainstorming fundraising ideas on our staff wiki.  Depending on your point of view, you will either be relieved or disappointed that we will NOT be producing a calendar like The Tattooed Ladies of the TLA. Although library world is normally far from scandalous, this calendar has even the mainstream media’s attention, and librarians nationwide have expressed strong opinions both pro and con.

Whether you sport tattoos proudly, have some apprehension about the subject, or just want to know more, we librarians (inked and otherwise) can hook you up.  Here are some of the materials you can borrow:

The Tattoo Sourcebook: Over 500 Images for Body Decoration, Andy Sloss and Zaynab Mirza. Want a tattoo, but not sure which design to pick? Here’s a guide to inspire you.

Modify, Jason Gary and Greg Jacobson. This documentary includes tattooing as part of its kaleidoscopic look at body art/modification. Not for the squeamish, this film has nevertheless earned a number of honors, including Best Documentary at the Boston Underground Film Festival.

Spiritual Tattoo: A Cultural History of Tattooing, Piercing, Scarification, Branding and Implants, John A. Rush. Far from being a passing fad, body modification is, instead, a time-honored spiritual practice in many cultures. Learn more about the history of tattooing in various religions and cultures with Rush’s anthropological study.

Ink: The Not-Just-Skin-Deep Guide to Getting a Tattoo, Terisa Green. Why rush into something you might regret in the morning? Stay health-conscious, consider the long-term effects, and choose both the design and the tattoo artist that are best for you with Green’s informative handbook.

In the Paint: Tattoos of the NBA and the Stories Behind Them, Andrew Gottlieb. Chock full of both color and black-and-white photos, Gottlieb’s interviews with inked hoopsters, including Shaq, Stephon Marbury and Cherokee Parks, reveal why basketball’s “bad boys” chose their designs.

If you’d like us to reconsider that calendar idea, or have any other thoughts about fundraising, let us know–we are not joking about the budget crisis!  Of course, if you’d rather support your library directly, we certainly wouldn’t say no!  We’d say thank you.  Sincerely.  With great fervor.

–Leigh Anne


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