What makes a book a classic? Well, of course it must me well written and edited, it’s got to reach a wide audience, and it has to stand the test of time. All those things are true, but what’s even truer of classic literature is that a book has to reach a lot of different people and impact them each as individuals to be considered a classic. The books that people know automatically—books like Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird—are books that make us think, make us wonder, bring us together to consider something that’s important to us all.
There are rarely follow ups to classic books. It just doesn’t happen. When a book like To Kill a Mockingbird makes the kind of splash it did in the literary world, it stands alone, a tribute in time. That’s why what’s about to happen on July 14 is kind of phenomenal. You see, it seems that Harper Lee’s only book is not her only book at all. Lee actually wrote another book before she wrote and published Mockingbird and that book was titled Go Set a Watchman. When Harper took Watchman to her published, she was advised to rewrite the story from the point of view of a child going through day-to-day life during the time period that her first book detailed from an adult’s view looking back on the events. Thus, the book many of us have known since childhood, To Kill a Mockingbird, was crafted. So, what happened to Go Set a Watchman? In the possession of Lee’s attorney, many assumed the work was lost, but recently Harper Lee has given her blessing for the book to be published in its entirety and without revision. The “new” work will be released on July 14, 2015, and it has caused quite a stir in the literary world.
Folks who love literature are simple on the edges of their seats, waiting to learn the fallout from the fictional trial of the decade that was the focus of To Kill a Mockingbird. They are asking questions like, “What happened to Atticus and Scout Finch?” and “Did things really change in Maycomb County, Alabama?”
The truth is we’re waiting with baited breath, too, because we want to know, and because, of course, it’s quite possible that this might be another classic in the making. We know the sort of impact Lee’s words have had on literary history and civics, and we’re waiting and wondering what kind of power Watchman will have.
If you’d like to order a certified copy of the book before it hits shelves on July 14, you are welcome to visit Harper Lee’s hometown bookstore, Ol’ Curiosities and Book Shoppe, located in Monroeville AL—yes, it was absolutely the little town Maycomb County, AL of Mockingbird fame was modeled upon-- and make sure a first edition copy is reserved in your name.
You’re welcome for the good news. Happy reading and Enjoy Go Set a Watchman!