The Harper Lee Novels

I’m trying a new type of post today. I’ve done People I Met posts (obviously) and some Places I Went posts, and today I’m going to start a series called Books I Read. I’ll be writing about books I bought, books I’m starting, and my thoughts after I have read them.

I grew up loving reading and I’m constantly trying to make more space for it in my life, so I think this will be a good way to make me read more – especially if other people get involved! I have added the Goodreads widget on the right side so you can see what I am currently reading. When I finish a book, I will publish a post on my review of it. Typically I am reading 2-3 books at once. Right now, for example, I am listening to New York: The Novel as my slower, travel/ work read on Audible, while I am about to restart To Kill a Mockingbird again as my quick, bedtime read. I’m always looking for new things to read (fantasy, fiction, historical fiction, and non-fiction are all great) so please leave me your suggestions in the comments below!

Harper Lee is such an iconic author even though she only published one book in her lifetime!

Harper Lee is such an iconic author even though she only published one book until now!

Harper Lee’s second (secret) novel has just been released and it is a sequel to her acclaimed novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The new novel, Go Set a Watchman, centers on a 26-year-old Scout and an aging Atticus. I originally read To Kill a Mockingbird in middle school or high school and I remember instantly thinking of it as one of the best books I had ever read. The story made you think, the characters were likable, and the prose was extremely well-written. Harper Lee holds a special place for me because she has the same birthday as my grandfather (April 28, 1926) who is also an author and the first storyteller in my life. It has been a long time since I read TKAM, though, and although I want to dive into Go Set a Watchman, I have decided to quickly reread the original book first.

There has been a lot of controversy over Go Set a Watchman being published because Ms. Lee’s decision to publish the novel (which she had written long ago) came after decades of vowing never to publish another book, and after she suffered a debilitating stroke. What do you think of Harper-Collins going ahead and publishing the book? I think that even if Ms. Lee did not originally want to share this new picture of her iconic characters with a larger audience, it’s alright to share it with them now. It has been so long since TKAM was published and the image of those characters as they were in TKAM is so ingrained in readers’ heads that I feel like it will never leave. Reading GSAW will just be like a bonus, the way JK Rowling continues to provide additional information about the Harry Potter universe. (Obviously Ms. Lee is providing us with a whole new novel, but I think it’s the same idea.)

Are you planning on reading Go Set a Watchman? If so, let’s read it together! I am hoping to finish rereading TKAM by Friday the 24th (I’ll tweet when I do), and then I’ll start GSAW right away. Let me know if you’re reading with me below, and also leave your thoughts on these books and suggestions for what I should read next! Thanks! 🙂


23 thoughts on “The Harper Lee Novels

  1. Wow! An absolutely amazing post! I haven’t gotten the chance to read To Kill a Mockingbird yet but I’m sure I will in the future! My blog is centered around books and writing but I mainly do Young Adult books. This posh has definitely made me want to read the first and soon to be released second book of Harper Lee.

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  2. Hi ! I love to read too so I’m glad I ran across your blog on blogging101. I have to say, I do not remember ever reading TKAM but my girls read it last year or the year before (middle school) and they both thought it was great, I have been toying with the idea of reading TKAM and then going straight into GSAW. Hmmm wondering how fast I can read 😉

    I just finished “Station Eleven” by Elaine St. John Mandel, if you’ve not read it, add it to your list. It is amazing and it stays with you after you’re done reading. We seem to like similar genres so maybe you’ll like that title too. Very nicely written post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello! Thanks so much for your comment 🙂 Yes! I’ll be glad to have a reading buddy for these novels. TKAM is absolutely beautifully written. I will definitely add Station Eleven to my list! I hadn’t heard of it before but I just read the description on Amazon and it sounds like a really interesting take on the post-apocalypse genre that’s become so popular in the last few years.


  3. Hi, I used tk read 1-2 books a week but feel like everything else has taken over recently and now I inky read on holiday. I keep downloading books to my kindle and thinking oh that’ll be good for my holiday. But reading about someone else who clearly still enjoys a good read is making me want to go back. I still have never read TKAMB, but more and more people posting about it is certainly making me think maybe I should. Happy reading


    • I totally understand! I was in your place a few years ago in terms of reading. I felt like I just couldn’t find the time and when I did find some, I was so out of practice that I got bored! I finally set some book goals for myself like it was part of a job and through that I fell back in love with it. Listening to audio-books really helps too. I thought I wouldn’t like it (I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to the feeling of a book in your hand) but it turned out to be a great way to pass time when on a train or bus. Read TKAMB and GSAW with us! It’ll be fun as a group 🙂


  4. You’re right. There’s so much controversy surrounding the release of Go Set a Watchiman. In the article I read about it, it mentioned that Lee actually wrote and submitted this book prior to writing and releasing TKAM. GSAW was rejected. That being the case, it might be why she didn’t want it published. Now she has no say in the matter. I am very suspicious of the secrecy that surrounds her. They are not even letting her see the friend that has been by her side for years. I don’t like the way it sounds. And I read yesterday there was a third book they had found — don’t know about what — that they are planning to release. Could she communicate, Ms. Lee would likely be fit to be tied. Many of the people who got to read the galley proof of this new book didn’t like it because it ends up making Atticus seems like a racist. I think before I buy it I will read other reviews. It feels kind of like having older relatives. Sometimes you just want to remember them the way they were… Know what I mean? So glad you stopped by my blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do know what you mean about the old relatives! I think I’m probably going to approach GSAW like it’s fanfiction and if I like it I’ll decide its canon, haha. I had read a while back that Lee didn’t like all the fame that came after TKAM and that’s why she never wanted to publish another novel. She’s certainly getting a lot of publicity again now, but we can’t be sure how aware she is of it. I wish we could hear directly from her somehow!

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      • I read her 50th anniversary interview. I think that’s why I’m so puzzled about the tone of Atticus in this book. Lee said she only had one thing to say and she said it in TKAM. She didn’t need to write another book. I wondered at the time if writing two previous books was just part of her journey to GET TO TKAM. People change as they write. They discover new inside territory. And the time she was writing was rife with change.

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      • Oh wow I’ll definitely have to go and watch that interview. That’s very true that people change as they write and with time. Characters often change too, I think, as you write them, which is probably what happened with Atticus in Lee’s mind.

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      • My son and I were just talking and he said her publisher said GSAW was the rough draft for TKAM, and that after they edited the whole story down, TKAM was what they published. But now the gal who “found” the manuscript is kind of back-peddling. I’m starting to wonder just how much of this is publicity for publicity’s sake…

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  5. I really find it fascinating that she’s now decided to release a book. I think ultimately I agree with you – nothing will diminish TKAM and if she wants to publish a second book now then well done to her. x

    Liked by 1 person

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