Go read a watchman?

Well, since none of my colleagues have blogged about it yet, I figured I’d bring up the big publishing news of the week…

And while far be it from me to turn down an obvious blog topic, I’m probably not the best person to write this, because, to tell the truth, I can barely remember TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. I know I read it in school, and I also know I saw the movie at some point, but any memories are associated with Gregory Peck in that grey suit of his. It’s probably the cynic in me, but of all the school classics, CATCHER IN THE RYE stuck a lot more than MOCKINGBIRD.

But of course, the news of a new novel from Harper Lee is big news. And while there’s a lot of good-hearted excitement for GO SET A WATCHMAN, like a number of writers, I feel kinda weirded out by the whole situation. For one, despite the claims that WATCHMAN was started before MOCKINGBIRD, it’s still basically a sequel, and of all the books that need a sequel, MOCKINGBIRD would be one of the last I’d think of. And while I’m certainly not in the camp that thinks MOCKINGBIRD is untouchable either, (I wouldn’t be much of an agent if I did!) it’s just strange that in an age where everything¬†gets a sequel and spun off and branded that MOCKINGBIRD suddenly has a companion piece.

Then there’s the nagging feeling that somehow this wasn’t the big surprise everyone claims it is. After all, Harper Lee has been in the news plenty in the last ten years or so, for better or worse keeping her name in the public eye. And again, it’s probably the cynic in me, but even with the reports of Lee’s infirmity, on the heels of her prior press I just can’t help feeling that a publicist couldn’t have played this much better–certainly everyone is going to read the new book, right?

Or are they? Are YOU? I’d love to hear what you think of the whole situation, what MOCKINGBIRD did or didn’t mean to you, and whether you’re excited to read WATCHMAN.


2 Responses to Go read a watchman?

  1. H.E. Ellis says:

    Despite the fact that this sounds very suspicious to me, I will admit to wanting to read this book.

  2. Lynn says:

    Like most people, I read To Kill A Mocking Bird eons ago when I was in school and I remember the film well. I’ll be interested in seeing what sort of reception Lee’s new book will garner. A lot I’m sure, and it has the possibility of making millions. What bothers me most about this is the feeling that Lee had no say so in this matter. It seems her lawyer, her literary agent and her publisher are pulling all the strings and no one has spoken directly to Lee to see if this is what she wants.

    Other circumstances are troubling. The stroke she suffered in 2007 which left her 95% blind, profoundly deaf and problems with short-term memory has left her vulnerable. Her sister who was her protector was quoted as saying, “…she can’t see and can’t hear and will sign anything put before her by anyone in whom she has confidence.” All her life she’s been quoted as saying that she had said all she had to say and would never publish another novel. Now that her sister (and protector) is gone, isn’t it a coincidence that a new manuscript has come to light?

    For the record, I don’t believe in coincidences.

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