55 years later…

New novel from Harper Lee

New novel from Harper Lee

Today marks the release of a long awaited book – the second written by Harper Lee, finally published 55 years after her first published book, To Kill a Mockingbird! (TKMAB)

Many thought this day would never come, so the book’s unexpected discovery has readers in a fervour to see how it unfolds.

Early reviews have indicated that the book is told from Scout’s point of view as a 20 year old, and also that it reveals (surprising?) bigotry of Atticus Finch. The explanation of this may be that Go Set a Watchman was actually written before TKAMB, and that it was not what her editor wanted at the time:

Go Set a Watchman was written in the mid-1950s, before she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, which was published in 1960. She set it aside when her editor suggested that she write another novel from the young Scout Finch’s perspective. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_Set_a_Watchman

Naturally, there has been lots of fanfare preceding the book’s publication:

Go Set a Watchman review – more complex than Harper Lee’s original classic, but less compelling, http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/12/go-set-a-watchman-review-harper-lee-to-kill-a-mockingbird

Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman goes on sale  http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-33510168

Go Set a Watchman: Eight things reviewers say about Harper Lee’s new novel: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-13/go-set-a-watchman-reviews-latest-harper-lee-story/6615050

There’s only one Atticus Finch: why I won’t be reading Go Set A Watchman – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-14/barnes-why-i-wont-be-reading-go-set-a-watchman/6617508

Author Harper Lee

Author Harper Lee

There have also been releases of the first chapter to entice readers in… which you can either read, or listen to a Reese Witherspoon narration here.

What are you thinking? Do you want to read the rejected manuscript? Can you handle characters who may not be the same as you remember them? Does it change the way you view TKAMB?

Do you wonder what Harper Lee thinks of all the promotion happening right now? Is it (the publication) authentic?

To Kill a Mockingbird 50th Anniversary

MockingbirdfirstJuly 11 2010 (today)  is the 50th Anniversary of the publication of this beloved American classic.

To Kill a Mockingbird has sold more than sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, has been translated into more than forty languages and, of course, has been studied in schools for decades.

Its great success, however, meant that Harper Lee did not continue her career as a writer. According to her sister this was because: “She said she couldn’t top what she’s done,” remarked Alice Finch Lee. “She said, ‘I haven’t anywhere to go but down.'”  

Harper Lee is well known as one of the most reclusive authors ever, refusing to give interviews about her book for many, many years, and even refusing to write an introduction for new imprints of TKAMB.

That does not mean there isn’t any comment by others on the book – over time much has been written about this classic. And now, there are many web sites dedicated to this anniversary, including lots of different ways people can celebrate this amazing novel. One in particular, http://tokillamockingbird50year.com/ has a calendar of events starting from may this year.

Another site displays Best Tributes to To Kill a Mockingbird on Its 50th Anniversary, including a link to this video clip.

There are critics of TKAMB, however, as indicated at the beginning of Mockingbird hits false note, a recent article by Richard King in the Australian. (Well worth a read for those studying this classic.) Has he changed his mind by the end of the article?

Celebrate by reading it again, or enjoy it for the first time if you haven’t already read this classic!

Image source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mockingbirdfirst.JPG