Booking Through Thursday: Harper Lee


Will you be reading Go Set a Watchman? Why? Why not? What do you think of this whole deal? Harper Lee, after all, is famous for insisting she wouldn’t publish another book, and now this, and the controversy about Atticus, invites discussion.

Oh, man. I would set down the original seven Harry Potter books, A Million Little Pieces, and Go Set a Watchman as the biggest literary moments of my time. Note that those last two are also disasters.

Until recently, I always gave Harper Lee as an example of how to be a literary legend: come out of nowhere, write one incredible book that enters the educational canon and everyone loves, become a recluse, and never write another book. You will always be known for that one masterpiece. Your place in history is set. #micdrop

Well, that’s over. I was astonished that Lee would allow Go Set a Watchman to be published. The story about how it was “found” is dubious enough. If I were in her shoes, I would have said, “Thank you for finding my lost manuscript! Add it to my estate,” and gone back to living my reclusive, elderly life. Publishing another book is entirely out of character for the woman we’ve known since To Kill a Mockingbird. She doesn’t even give interviews! I can only think that she is so old that she doesn’t quite realize what she’s done. Her lawyers, agent, and caretakers are responsible for not protecting her better. Can’t take it back now.

Ultimately, I don’t know if I’ll read it. I’m not excited about it. I don’t want to ruin TKAM for myself. My feelings about the Fantastic Beasts movies and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the stage play, are similar. I had my incredible moment with Harry Potter. It’s over, and it’s bittersweet, but I’ve moved on. I would be perfectly content to never get new Potterverse stories ever again. I am also content to let TKAM Atticus Finch be my only Atticus Finch and Scout forever remain a little girl confronting the ugliness of the human heart at a tender age. I don’t need any more.

For more short queries about books and the reading life, visit Booking Through Thursday.


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I am thinking about reading it. I added To Kill a Mockingbird to my digital library holds list so I can reread it because I haven’t read it since high school and then I also added Go Set a Watchman. I don’t really have a problem with it showing up however it did (I didn’t read into the details), but someone thought it worthwhile to read, publish, and share with (profit off of?) the world. We’ll see…

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