Tag Archives: Harper Lee


Header photo of Old Monroeville courthouse by Andrea Wright via Flickr

Today’s post comes from tim

harper lee is dead

she went along very nicely for 50+ years after producing one of the greatest works of all time in to kill a mockingbird.she recently got brought back into the news as the author of the book the publisher rejected before the one they accepted where gregory peck has become permanently attached as atticus finch to be remembered forever.

i love that story

i can watch it again and again i have also read it twice which may not be a big deal for sherrilee but it is for me. i havnt read many books twice.

something about a book is different than a movie and very different than a tv show. it keeps me in focus and had the pictures that accompany the words come in through a different filter. they are implanted while the movie or tv shows are slid in alongside whatever is going on in my mind at the time.

harper lee grew up in a 30’s 40’s town where main street was over there and the neighborhood was over here and she wrote about the people she knew and the circumstances as they unfolded and it was all she ever really needed to do. i felt sad when i heard she had the other book released even though it had been around for 50 some years already done but not published.

i thought of her in a special way. the grand daughter of robert e lee, the writer or a truly rock solid story that will live on forever and able to stay a semi recluse without being a negative thing.  

i have thought about my idyllic childhood in the burbs of blooming with the cornfield next to me and the river a mile away and all the friends i needed to get through the different stages of lifes ever changing topography scotty bowman and ray dewberry when i was a pup, bill mccarthy and sean sinnott when i was an up and comer and my hippy friends as the adolescent years ushered in the end of sliding through life. all of a sudden life steered me instead of the other way around. i had payments and meeting then kids and responsibility. death of a salesman is not nearly as fun to read as to kill a mockingbird.

ive decided that a chunk of a lifes story is all that can be handled in one sitting. you cant write the history of the world without missing too much but you can choose a chunk and make it a good story like harper lee did

if you were gonna take a chunk and write about it how would choose it and why?

A Sequel With No Equal

Today’s post comes from perennial Sophomore Bubby Spamden, still in the 10th grade at Wendell Willkie High School after 30 years.

Hi Mr. C.,

Well,  my world got totally rocked yesterday when the news came out that Harper Lee’s second book is about to be published.

I’ve been a high school sophomore for about a third of Ms. Lee’s (age 88) life, so I’ve had plenty of chances to read her first book, “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

And by “plenty of chances”, I mean I’ve been forced to read it every October since 1985. And no, the teachers and principals who insist on keeping me back year after year after year are NOT about to cut me any slack when it comes to the reading assignments.

Or the enrichment activities.

I’ve done “To Kill A Mockingbird” storyboards to “demonstrate and extend” my learning. I’ve listed vocabulary words from the book, drawn plot diagrams and character maps, and discussed themes, symbols, and motifs.

I’ve even written a paper discussing “To Kill A Mockingbird” as an archetype of the hero’s journey, and I still don’t know what an archetype is.

There have been thousands of quizzes and hundreds of role-playing exercises. I’ve been Scout, Boo and the angry mob. And I’ve written my own version of Atticus Finch’s closing argument. Seven times.

I hope Ms. Lee knows what a gift this second book will be to 10th graders everywhere, if only because I’m flat-out exhausted with her first one.

I saw Mr. Boozenporn standing outside his room and I told him that if I’m held back again (which I will be), I’m really looking forward to reading “Go Set a Watchman” in his class next Fall, and he just laughed.

“In your spare time, maybe,” is what he said. So I asked him why.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because there are already a gazillion lesson plans built around ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’.  Or maybe because the school has a whole room in the basement just devoted to storing copies of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’.  Or it might be that your teacher has led a unit on “To Kill a Mockingbird” for forty years and is too old and tired to  do anything about ‘Go Set a Watchman’.”

Then he shrunk back into his room real suspicious-like.   I think he eats raw squirrels in there.

Your pal,

I told Bubby I will never understand how he can be so stuck in the 10th grade, especially now that I know he has read “To Kill a Mockingbird” every Fall for the last 30 years. Doing that alone would be enough to graduate, I’d think, if only for the repeated transfer of wisdom. But I’m no expert when it comes to education. Perhaps he doesn’t test well.

What are some of the books you’ve re-read, and why?