Remembering Harper Lee

HarperLee

In this age where authors are expected to tweet, update their Facebook pages, use Instagram to promote their books, and even dabble in Pinterest/Snapchat/what-have-you, it’s really enough to make you nostalgic for an era where an author could write a book, have it be a massive success, and then generally disappear from public view if they wanted to.  Salinger managed it.  Harper Lee too.

Remembering Harper Lee is a delicate thing.  For many people, her book TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (which has been almost entirely checked out of the Evanston Public Library system, and for good reason) is personal to them.  People name their children “Atticus” and “Scout” in honor of the books.  She managed to write an honest-to-goodness timeless book.  Consider that just last year when GO SET A WATCHMEN was released there was enormous debate in various literary circles not just about its merit but its origins and how it all reflected back on MOCKINGBIRD.

In the end, I think the best we can do is read Lee’s book, remember it, and look at some of the lovelier tributes out there today to her life and work.  She may have kept a low profile, but her shadow loomed large.  It still does.

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