Harper Lee

In the Spring of 2015 I attended the Romantic Times (RT) Convention as a bookseller/librarian.  This meant that I had access to panels designed for the bookseller/librarian.  One of the panels asked for audience participation by asking us what books we had never read.  I never read THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER by Woodiwiss, but had read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee a student in what we called Junior High (more commonly known today as Middle School).  

Do I actually remember reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD or any of the feelings I had about it back then.  Sorry to say no, as that was many more years ago than I’m quite willing to admit.  With the release and all all the chatter about GO SET A WATCHMAN I wondered what I was going to do about reading GO SET A WATCHMAN.  

So what I did, was I waited, and allowed a friend to read the book first.  I then asked her what she thought, and based on her opinion decided that I needed to be able to be one of those who said I’ve read GO SET A WATCHMAN.  My next question…should I reread TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD?  Her answer yes, so that’s what I did.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD was released in 1960 according to the GOOGLE search I did.  That’s slightly before the Civil Rights Movement really got going.  I now think that it had to be really forward thinking for its time, and as another friend told me yesterday really had a lot of issues that are even topical for today…rape, single parenthood, race, and even is school doing everything it can to educate our students for their futures.

GO SET A WATCHMAN was just recently released even though it was written prior to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.  GO SET A WATCHMAN is told from Scout now known as Jean Louise’s point of view and it’s a very different story than TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.  I refuse to put any spoilers for those who haven’t yet read it, but I have to say I didn’t like the characters at all, and that was very different from the emotions that TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD pulled from me.

I had written some thoughts, but then check Wikipedia discovered that the thoughts I had were likely wrong, and that GO SET A WATCHMAN is likely the first draft of what when on to become the iconic TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.  My final thoughts…I say refresh your memory with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD if it’s been a while since you’ve read it, and then do what I did and borrow a copy of GO SET A WATCHMAN from the library and see what you think for yourself.

TO USE THE LIBRARY OR NOT TO USE THE LIBRARY

As I sit at my computer with my phone plugged in and an audio I have downloaded from the library transferring to it, I can’t help but wonder how many library users are amongst us.

For me it’s very rare that I go to the physical library and check out a physical book, however since my library started offering audio books that I could download at home and transfer to a device I’ve been a serious addict!  I’m such an addict that I even canceled my subscription to Audible.

I have a local friend who didn’t believe me that getting eBooks/audios from the library was easy, until she tried it for herself.  Now I’ve turned her into an addict!  I will admit that even though I’d been downloading the audios for years, I had never tried an eBook myself through the library.  I have done only one, but it was easy to get it to my kindle, and then to delete it when I had read it.  What joy in that I could get a book I needed to continue a series without buying it, since I don’t tend to be a re-reader.

This year I joined a library reading challenge and am having fun to see what others are reading and to read those brief reviews.  One of the organizers  is really trying to tighten her budget, and is adding up what she saves each month.  This inspired me to do the same and while I’ve not been as dedicated as I should I am trying to move money from my checking account to savings, and am proud to say that while not a huge amount I’m getting closer and closer to $1000 each month.

So, my question is do you use the library?  If not why not?  I’m challenging you to check your local library and start seeing what you might be able to get for free, and then if you are a re-reader and love it go buy a copy!