Friday, April 29, 2011

Book News: Harper Lee Denies Memoir, Borders Closing, and Author Helps Tornado Relief

I've mentioned before that my friend Nicole met Harper Lee. That's right. I said met Harper Lee. Lee is fascinating to me, both because of her having written To Kill a Mockingbird and because I find her friendship with Truman Capote highly interesting. I also find her solitary lifestyle fascinating. It takes an unusual human being to shy away from the spotlight of fame rather than run towards it.

Harper Lee hasn't granted anyone an interview since 1964, except to tell the New York Times that she would always say "no" to interviews in 2006. According to the Guardian, a new memoir that purports to have "inside access" to Lee and her family has been discounted by Lee herself. The memoir, written by journalist Marja Mills, reportedly had the backing of Lee until Lee's stroke in 2007.

I have long been a Carrie Bradshaw fan. Yes, I loved Sex and the City long before feature films were made or the show traveled to syndication-land via TBS. I haven't always loved author Candace Bushnell's books, though. I usually stand by the old adage that books are always better than film adaptations, but in this one case I would have to disagree. However, I have recently become a YA reader, and Bushnell has recently become a YA writer with the publishing of The Carrie Diaries. I didn't read it, but now that she's written a sequel, Summer and the City, I may just have to try her YA books. Summer and the City shows readers Carrie and friends in 1980s NYC, and sounds simply fabulous -- especially for all the summer reading I plan on doing this year!

Last weekend, I finally went to a closing Borders (West End in Nashville). I have to say I was wholly  unimpressed by the sale. I mean, I know they want to make some money, but they had some books that were only marked 30% off. My local Books-a-Million store regularly marks new hardbacks down by 30%. All I bought was a book I would have purchased anyway -- the new Jefferson Bass novel The Bone Yard. Then I felt guilty about not supporting a closing bookstore. But then again -- it is closing. I'm not sure what paying almost-retail really did for them.

In terribly sad news this week, Alabama and northern Georgia were hit by major tornadoes on Wednesday. Dozens of people lost their lives, and damages will be in the millions. Author Shiloh Walker has launched a fundraiser on her website to raise money for victims of the storms. Visit there to find out more.

I can't even talk about the LA Times book page or their book blog Jacket Copy this week. All of their news is full of talk about the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and it makes me too sad that I'm not going. Seriously, it sounds like the best book festival around, and someday I will be there.

Until then, I will be attending going-away parties, family reunions, throwing baby showers, and (somewhere in there) reading books. It is a busy weekend, but one full of good times with friends and family. This weekend, whenever I have a free moment, I will be reading Beth Kendrick's The Bake-Off, Jean Kwok's Girl in Translation, and listening to Kathy Reichs' YA novel Virals via Audible on my iPod. Happy reading & enjoy your weekend!


  1. Do you know if Lee ever wrote any other novels? It's my understanding that she did not. It would be interesting to know why she didn't (if she did not, that is).

    Thanks for the heads up on Borders. I don't think I'll be wasting a trip now.

  2. She did not ever write another novel. It is extraordinarily interesting to me, as well. Supposedly family members have stated that she began a second, but it was never more than an idea. One of her sisters has been quoted as saying that she felt Lee never felt she could follow up that first amazing success with anything else. As she refuses to be interviewed, I guess it will forever be one of the world's great mysteries!

    As for Borders-- they did have literary fiction at 40% off, cookbooks only 30% off, and children's books only 30% off. That was last weekend, though, so they may have better deals now on what they have left.

  3. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is one of my all-time favorite books. It is disappointing that the book sale was not amazing...I think anyone would expect much more from a closing sale. For my fiance's birthday last year, I bought him a Barnes & Nobel membership. It paid itself off in no time! You get 10% off everything or 10% extra off whatever the discount already is. We recently saved about 20 bucks on BBC's life series. It has been well worth the $25 membership fee!



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