Our Wood River Reads title has been announced: it is To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, a persistently loved tale of justice, prejudice, unexpected heroes and childhood wisdom. Libraries around the Wood River Valley will be promoting talks, events, and online commentary, but mostly, we hope everyone picks it up, even just to taste a chapter. After rereading the novel myself this spring, I can honestly recommend it for nearly every reader. The story still sings.
Many dedicated readers and librarians across the globe were stirred and even thrilled to cold chills to hear of the impending release of Go Set a Watchman, the unpublished novel written by Harper Lee before To Kill a Mockingbird. The Library Journal reports that the current planned July 14 release date will include 2 million volumes in the first press run.
The announcement that a new book about Scout and company set twenty years later created quite a Twitterstorm after the February announcement. While Twitter is an ungainly firehose of information at the best of times, it can be useful for wrangling links on breaking news and diverse topics. Our @LibraryDenizenK and @KetchumLibrary accounts will be following the Harper Lee threads from now until the harvest moon in October, when the Wood River Reads project culminates. The Guardian online book club has its readership poised to jump on Go Set a Watchman quite literally the moment it is released, via eBook, print, audio, hook or crook. They have been licensed to release the first chapter, in text and audio–get a taste of the language at The Guardian via this link.
The release announcement is not without controversy and conflicting reports, but there is no doubt the book is exciting a great deal of interest and anticipation. No pre-publication copies are available, and publishers are sending out stern warnings about keeping the content under wraps until the lay down date on the 14th (somewhat unusual in the library and publication trade, but not unheard of, as Harry Potter readers can attest.) Many are viewing the release with no little trepidation, and a lot of hope.
The looming question for Library Denizens at the Community Library here in Ketchum–how many copies to buy? What are your thoughts about the release?