Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Who said - “All I want to be is the Jane Austen of south Alabama.”?

Harper Lee said this half-jokingly after To Kill a Mockingbird was published.

2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Usually a requirement of high school English classes, I didn’t read the book until my son was assigned it in his sophomore year. To this day it is one of my favorites - (unlike Catcher In the Rye - after 2 chapters I told my son he was on his own)

Here are some interesting facts from the Smithsonian’s great article by Charles Leerhsen called Novel Achievement.

In a survey asking what one book every civilized person should read, Mockingbird finishes second to the Bible.

In 2007 she accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Truman Capote as a boy spent summers at his cousin’s house next to Lee’s. (and resembles the character Dill in the book)

In 1957 she flung the unfinished manuscript out the window of her NYC apartment but after calling the editor who had previously encouraged her, than ran down the steps to retrieve the pages, and then began the revisions.

The result? The Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

So I’ll forgive the fact she roots for the Mets.


  1. Too Kill a Mockingbird is a true classic! I, too, had difficulty getting through Catcher in the Rye in senior English.

  2. Oh Wendy its so good to know I'm not alone regarding Catcher in the Rye!

  3. Love your comments here. Enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird. So did my grandson when he read it this year. Granddaughter enjoyed Catcher In The Rye. Strange book but I finished it and then wasn't sure what I'd read

  4. Thanks Janet. I added you to my writing friends blog list - finally - sorry it took so long

  5. I must have read The Catcher in the Rye 10 or 12 times. It means something different every time I read it. First read it as an angsty tween. Was with Holden 100 percent and also thought everyone in the world was "phony." A few readings after that it was, jeez, grow up all ready, you whiney kid." Guess it's somewhere in between for me now. Never heard of anyone having trouble reading it before, though. So that was an eye opener, I guess. I mean, it's not like Moby Dick, or anything. Or even Anna Karenina, eh, Janet?

  6. OK I never read Catcher in the Rye ... does this mean I'm burning in Lit hell? Loved Kill a Mocking Bird