Harper Lee Makes Rare Appearance

Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, made a rare public appearance on Thursday to accept an award from the Los Angeles Public Library during their annual awards dinner. Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of racism, justice and coming of age in the Depression-era South is required reading for most junior and senior high school students in the U.S. and transcends any stigma that a “required reading” list may bring to a book. The story has affected and inspired many since its 1960 publication and in 1999 was deservedly voted the “best novel of the century” by a survey of librarians. It’s nice to see Harper Lee continuing to be recognized for this important book and I wonder how many of us have the shared memory of discovering this story for ourselves.

9 Responses

  1. ThanksThat’s a very useful

    That’s a very useful link – thanks. I almost never hear anything about this writer whose book so many of us have gained from. I have to admit I was not aware she was still alive, but I’m glad she is.

  2. Hey Rog –Agreed — I have to
    Hey Rog —

    Agreed — I have to admit I didn’t realize she was still alive — the book seems like it’s been around longer than that. I still have the paperback copy of To Kill a Mockingbird from my high school English class. Maybe it’s time for a re-read…

  3. I never had to read this. .
    I never had to read this. . .

    in high school. So I read it two years ago to see what all the purported fuss was about.

    It’s a good book. But the greatest of the century? I didn’t know librarians smoked that much crack. I mean come on. Atticus Finch wasn’t even that great a dad. He let his kids wander by some psychopath’s house all the time, he’s taking out his rifle and blowing away dogs (it was only allegedly rabid) in the middle of the street, and he cared more about the trial of some stranger than he did his own kids.

    I liked the book. It’s a nice book. But come on. The next thing you know people will be saying is that The Catcher in the Rye is good.

  4. Okay, when you say, “It’s a
    Okay, when you say,

    “It’s a good book. But the greatest of the century? I didn’t know librarians smoked that much crack. I mean come on. Atticus Finch wasn’t even that great a dad.”

    I just want to be sure that you’re not actually arguing that the book isn’t great because of Atticus Finch’s parenting skills (or lack thereof). Because by that rationale, the merit of literary works would be judged by the character of their, um, characters, and that would just be silly.

  5. No, it’s no Fight Club.
    No, it’s no Fight Club. Look, FC is, dare I say, a landmark book. I think you can set up a whole page devoted Chuck Palahniuk’s work. Hey, brooklyn just discussed CP in his post about the NY Times review of books.

    Why does Palahniuk have such a rabid following in the face of such mixed reviews? Unlike Grisham or Rice he’s never written a top ten, let alone a top twenty, seller and yet his appearances/readings draw hunders upon hundreds. Why is there such a reaction to this guy?

    Other than, J.K. Rowling, I can’t think of any other fiction writer who gets such a consistent turn out at readings. Why is this?

    There is something about his work that just makes a strong connection with some people. Maybe it’s his philosophy, or his style, or his “voice.” I don’t know.

    Is he comparable to Grisham or Rice? I read a Grisham book or maybe two and said, “okay he can tell a story, but so what.” I can’t really remember anything memorable about his stuff. I tried to read that first Ann Rice book about vampires and thought it was almost unreadable.

    But there’s something else going on with Palahniuk. It’s hard to say exactly what it is. But once you get sucked in by his work, it’s hard to get. . . unsucked.

  6. Jamelah — I was trying to
    Jamelah —

    I was trying to comment on my lack of understanding about how “great” Atticis Finch is. I’ve heard and read many accounts of him being this terrific father and I just don’t get that.

    I liked the book. I suppose I can understand how people have an emotional reaction to it. But I don’t see how librarians, who I would think would be well read, can say that Mockingbird is better than The Sun Also Rises, The Great Gatsby, The Sound and the Fury, etc.

  7. Hey Dave — Did you know that
    Hey Dave —

    Did you know that that whole “First rule of Fight Club …” came from To Kill a Mockingbird? (ahem)

    It’s nice to see you’re still so passionate about Chuck. I had to test you to see if you were the real singlemalt. Have you caught up with Haunted yet?

  8. Well, I finished Serpent Girl
    Well, I finished Serpent Girl and was mostly disappointed. Other than one or two scenes, it was forgettable. Hey, if one of your selling points is that the book contains the most “tweaked out group of misfits” you’d ever come across, and the misfits were not tweaked out, whatever that means, then you’ve got a problem.

    Where was I? Oh yeah, Haunted. Well, I couldn’t resist so I started it and read the first 25 pages. The first short story was Guts which I first read on Litkicks about a year ago. So, I’m just getting into it now.

    And, I can assure you that you are dealing with 100% pure, additive free, singlemalt.

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