Saturday, February 27, 2016

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Even though Go Set a Watchman is set 20 years after To Kill a Mockingbird, it was actually written first. Since I loved Mockingbird when I read it originally many years ago, and still loved it when I read it again last month, I wanted to read Watchman. I was disappointed in it.

I've just learned from Wikipedia that Go Set a Watchman was actually more of a first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, which explains a lot. Many of the situations in Mockingbird were different in the retelling in Watchman. I believe that as Harper Lee rewrote her draft, turning it into To Kill a Mockingbird, she must have decided to make a number of changes, some small and others quite significant. Then when Watchman was published last year, no one went back to make it consistent with Mockingbird.

I read the book for the following category of the Back to the Classics 2016 Reading Challenge:

2.  A 20th Century Classic - any book published between 1900 and 1966. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later.

I rate it 2 out of 5.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee many years ago and loved it. When I heard about Go Set a Watchman, which is set 20 years later (even though it was written first), I wanted to read it, but I decided to re-read Mockingbird because I didn't remember much about it. Luckily for me, it fit perfectly into one of the categories for my Back to the Classics 2016 reading challenge:

11. Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college).  If it's a book you loved, does it stand the test of time?  If it's a book you disliked, is it any better a second time around?
To answer the question, yes, it definitely stands the test of time. It is very well written and is the story of young Scout Finch, her brother Jem, and their attorney father Atticus Finch, who defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930's. The book was written in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961. It was made into an Academy Award-winning film in 1962. I rate it 5 out of 5.