On Friday, the news broke that the writer Harper Lee had passed away. Those of you in the upper school (and maybe some middle schoolers) should be familiar with her because I know Mr. Betteridge and Mr. Sedgwick both taught her novel To Kill a Mockingbird. On the Mrs. Gillespie List of Fabulous Literature, this one ranks in the Top 5. Easily. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. We even have the audio book in the library. If you’re really against reading it, watch the movie. It’s equally fantastic.
If you’d like to know more about the woman who gained a reputation for herself and earned a Pulitzer Prize for her debut – and until this summer, only – novel check out I Am Scout. This is a biography of Ms. Lee. She has often said that the character Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird is somewhat autobiographical – that she was a tomboy and a little rebellious as a kid. She also grew up best friends with the writer Truman Capote (you may have read his short story A Christmas Memory with Mr. Betteridge). All in all, she was an amazing person and her story is fascinating. So, read about her.
Oh, and since they were friends and supported one another’s writing, you may also want to check out Capote’s book In Cold Blood. It’s non-fiction, and often considered to be the first “true crime” book published. There’s even speculation that one of the reasons Harper Lee never wrote another book is because she spent a lot of time helping Capote with his own writing. There’s also speculation that she never wrote another book because he actually wrote Mockingbird. I’m not sure I believe either statement, but they’re out there. I do, however, love Capote’s writing almost as much as I love Lee’s.