Born Nelle Harper Lee on April 28, 1926 in Monroeville, Alabama, Miss Lee later worked as an airlines reservations clerk while pursuing a writing career. It was at this time she wrote and later published To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel about a small-town lawyer named Atticus Finch defending an innocent black man accused of raping a white woman. To Kill a Mockingbird was not told from Atticus’s point of view, but of his tomboyish daughter, Jean Louise, better known as Scout.
To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize the following year and was both a critical rave and successful bestseller. In 1962 the film adaption of To Kill a Mockingbird, starring Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch and Mary Badham as Scout was released. Like the novel, the film was both a critical and commercial triumph.
However, Miss Lee did not take to celebrity. She was a quiet and very private person who found fame quite off-putting giving her a bit of a Greta Garbo mystique, which is quite refreshing in our age of table-turning “real” housewives and people with the last name Kardashian.
Lovers of To Kill a Mockingbird pined for Miss Lee to write another novel and for decades this wish seemed like a pipe dream. But in February of last year, the world was shocked when the publishing giant Harper Collins imprint Harper’s announced they were going to publish a manuscript of Miss Lee’s that she had written in 1957. This novel, called Go Set a Watchman also became a best-seller.
But it is To Kill a Mockingbird that will truly be Harper Lee’s legacy. It has been translated into countless languages, has been called the best novel of the 20th Century by Library Journal, read and discussed in most high schools and has countless fans, both famous and unknown. To Kill a Mockingbird has also inspired many related books, stage plays and documentaries.
It’s no secret to my readers To Kill a Mockingbird and Harper Lee are close to my heart, inspiring both a Retro Reads and a Reading to Reels post. There are no words I can find at this time to express my love and appreciation for Miss Lee’s talent and her iconic novel other than a mawkish paraphrased quote from To Kill a Mockingbird, “Stand up, people. Miss Harper Lee has passed.”
Congratulations to all of the Pulitzer Prize winners!
Here is a list of the most challenged books so far of the 21st century. In other words, these are some books you might want to read if you haven’t already.
Did you know that we are in the middle of National Library Week? Well, now you know! And did you love your school library as much as I did growing up? This is why school libraries are so vital to our children’s education. And if you think libraries aren’t important (shame on you if you do), here are five good reasons why you should take your kids to the library.
Are you asking yourself why the douchebags from “Duck Dynasty” have several books out and truly talented writers get ignored? Legitimate author Nic Tatano claims it’s because of the “Valley of the Stupid.”
Hey, ladies. Are books that tell you to “lean-in,” learn the “confidence code” and how to “thrive” rubbing you the wrong way for some reason? Well, there maybe be a reason for that. Thanks Amanda Hess, for putting what I’ve been thinking in such an eloquent post.