Yesterday was Harper Lee‘s 84th birthday. It’s a special year for the author of the “best novel of the century”—it’s the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Although I haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird since ninth grade, I’ve had the book on my mind after recently watching Gregory Peck perform as Atticus Finch in one of the best movie adaptations ever. I’ve also had Charles J. Shields’ Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee on my nightstand. This biography of Lee—written without any interviews with the intensely private author—is most interesting for its depiction of Lee’s move from Alabama to New York City, her path to publication and her famous friendship with Truman Capote.
TKAM fans will likely ask the same question as BookPage reviewer Alison Hood when reading this book—Do we really need to know Ms. Lee’s innermost thoughts; isn’t it enough that she wrote a worthy book that continues to inspire?—but Mockingbird is certainly worthwhile for a glimpse at the mysterious author’s life.
Most of us were probably introduced to Lee’s classic novel in high school English class. Do you still think about the book? Have you re-read it or listened to it on audio?