Tag Archives: Harper Lee

Book Club Reflection: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

7 Sep

My book club’s latest pick was one I read about a year ago, so I didn’t reread it. I did, however, attend the discussion of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee to see what other people thought.

I listened to the audiobook so I was not aware that there were points in the manuscript where there were ellipses. Some in my book club thought it indicated a place Lee intended to add later but never got around to adding. I think this would have detracted from how I felt about the book even more. I’ll get to that later. We all seemed to agree this was nothing like TKAM but some people said it grew on them, especially the ending where they liked Uncle Jack a lot more.

The title is a Biblical quote from Isiah. The Watchman mentioned is a man’s conscious so it’s telling us to make sure our conscious is vigilant and evaluating what’s going on around us.

As Northerners, we have a very different view of race relations than those in the South would. The Civil Rights movement created tensions that were not there before. During segregation, there was a balance even though it was unfair and unequal. There was a status quo. When previously withheld rights started being granted to blacks, whites didn’t know how to react. What Scout and the reader see as racism probably seems like a poor adjustment to the Southerners who are having to re-evaluate their situation in life.

All of this makes Scout think negatively of Maycomb and where she grew up. Her ‘people,’ the ones that raised her, aren’t what she remembers. Many of them want her to come home, to meld back into the family and friendships she left, but she views things so differently that she can’t do it anymore.

The biggest problem Scout has is with her father. She had a child’s hero worship of her father and how he acts changes that. She thought he wanted her to move away but now she feels like he wants her back and Scout has trouble reconciling that. She doesn’t think having her back in town would give the town a new opinion like he seems to. She feels too removed from everyone and unable to connect with those she grew up with.

The big question of this book seems to be if Atticus is a racist. It seemed clear to us that he was. He stated that every black man was incapable of acting in a government job and that criminal politicians would be better than a newly elected black man. It’s hard to see that as any other way than racist.

The Finch family has an elevated place in Maycomb that allowed Scout to speak out. Her family was the spunky, gutsy ones in town. Scout could walk around in shorts and it was OK for her. Even so, she didn’t feel her opinions would let her remain uncontested.

A lot of us liked Henry Clinton and almost wished Scout could stay in Maycomb for him. Even though their backgrounds didn’t match, even Atticus could see they would be good together. Henry had a chip on his shoulder because he came from ‘trash,’ but he could have been good for Scout.

The scene where Scout visits Calpurnia was heartbreaking. Cal was under a lot of emotional stress from the arrest of her grandson. Her family was demeaned by being connected to an accused murderer and Cal was embarrassed. She also didn’t feel the need to act the same way she would have at the Finch house. Cal was with her family in her neighborhood. Scout was an uninvited guest and Cal didn’t want to even have the appearance of being spoken down to in her home.

To me, the biggest question about this book is if Lee ever wanted it published. The more I read the story around its publication, the more I think she was taken advantage of. This book is not how I think Lee would want herself remembered so I try to forget about it and remember TKAM.

We’ve got ourselves a mystery to read next, about as far from this as possible. Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Nerd News 23-Feb-16

23 Feb

As many of you know, I took last week off from blogging. There were two things that happened while I was ‘off’ that I think are worth discussing with  you like-minded folk here in the blogosphere. My opinions are below.

Amazing News: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be released as a book on July 31.

AHH! It’s real, the magic is continuing. J.K. Rowling worked with other writers to put together a two-part stage play of an eighth book in the Harry Potter universe which begins after Harry sends Albus Severus off on the train to Hogwarts. The play opens on July 30th and the screenplay will be available on July 31st.

Honestly, I think I’m going to go into work late on the 31st. There’s a midnight release party at a bookstore in Ann Arbor that I want to go to. Honestly, I love that Rowling is still invested in her characters and thinking about them so long after the book ended. Things keep happening for Potter fans and the magic hasn’t ended. Now I’ve got to find a way to make it to London to see this show on stage!

(News source)

Sad News: Harper Lee passed away.

I heard about this while at Disney World. Not the best place to hear such downer news. This makes me really sad and really angry at the same time. Lee’s book Go Set a Watchman was published late last year to mixed reviews (including my own). The circumstances surrounding its publication were a little hazy and in my opinion, a bit shady. It seemed like a cash grab by some greedy lawyers and publishers. It makes me sad that the last thing people will remember about Harper Lee is this mediocre book which never should have seen the printing press. We should remember her for the amazing book that many of us read in high school and gave us a great message about race and what it means to be human. RIP, Ms. Lee.

 

Reader, I’d love your thoughts on these two huge pieces of news. I’ve been dying to have some good literary conversations. Leave me a comment and let me know.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 16-December-2015

16 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


100 yearsCurrently reading:  I’m almost at 90% of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Still hoping to finish this by the end of the year so I can take it off my list.
On hold with I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. Stay tuned.
I put A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab on hold but I’m starting back into it today. I’ll likely interrupt this again for another audiobook. I do that with ones I own. It’s probably not fair to them.
I started One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez a little ahead of when I thought I would. I’m still in the first few chapters, but all I’ve read about this makes me excited and a bit nervous to dive in. We’ll see.

Station ElevenRecently finished: I flew through Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Those of you who said I’d love it were 100% right, it was really amazing. I highly recommend this one to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.
I started and finished Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee! It came in on Thursday morning last week and I finished it last night. It was better than I expcted because I went into it with really low expectations. happy surprise!

No book reviews this week, but they’re piling up for next week so get ready for that.

PrincipeReading Next: Wow, having finally made it through my huge bedside stack, I’m not totally sure what I’ll read next. It might be time to start my Spanish language read of the year, which can take me forever sometimes. It’s time for another Harry Potter read so it will likely be Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling.
If I think I have time to squeeze in another book, it will probably be Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. I’ve had it on my shelf forever and just want to read it!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 9-December-2015

9 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Station ElevenCurrently reading:  Hit 85% in Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I got another renewal out of it so I hope to keep pushing through and finish it by the end of the year.
Nothing with I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I want to be back into this by the end of the year and maybe wrap it up early 2016.
So excited to tell you all I started Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel! It’s as great as you all promised it would be and I’m excited to finish this one up quickly because it’s hard to put down.
I just started listening to A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. I got this audiobook for free back when the Ford Audiobook club still existed. I’m excited to get into it because I’ve seen so many good reviews.

IMG_2549 Recently finished: Three! I finished three! I used my half day on Friday to finish Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Immediately after, I did the folding and finished that up on Saturday. Doesn’t it look awesome?
It was a nail biter, but I finished All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr on Sunday driving back from my writers group meeting. I had a paper copy on hold at the library just in case. Phew!
On Monday, I finished up the end of Animal Farm by George Orwell. I didn’t realize I was so close to the end so it was a nice surprise!

Another two book reviews up. This should keep steady now that NaNoWriMo is over. The first is The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank which I finished before NaNo. I really enjoyed reading (listening) to this book after having seen the play twice. 4 stars.
The second is Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. I wrote this review late and I didn’t finish it up until after my book club met! I’ll have to write up that reflection this week and you should see it next week. 5 stars.

WatchmanReading Next: I’m trying not to get too far ahead of myself. I only have One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez on my bedside table though I have an idea what my first book of 2016 will be. There’s a lot of overlap in my book clubs early in the year because of library sponsored author appearances so I’ll have time to read at least one of my choosing. Yay!
I saw that I’m next in line for the eAudio of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee! Eeeeek, so excited!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!