Go Set a Watchman

July 10, 2015


Go Set A Watchman, Fairhope Supply Co. “Since Atlanta, she had looked out the dining-car window with a delight almost physical.”

– first line of the new, “Go Set A Watchman” by Harper Lee

Go Set A Watchman, Harper Lee, Fairhope

If the rest of the world is excited about Harper Lee’s new book, “Go Set a Watchman,” we here in South Alabama are over-the-moon excited, nervous and protective of “our” author.

Scout, To Kill a Mockingbird, Fairhope Supply Co.

No one is really sure Harper Lee wanted this book published. Some say it was to be released only after her death, others say it was never to be revealed at all. Lawyers were involved, and when lawyers show up around a client who is now in the care of a nursing home, we become nervous.

to_kill_a_mockingbird, Fairhope Alabama

My fear is that the book won’t live up to the high standards of Lee’s classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and people will grumble. In that case, did she really ask for this? On the other hand, if it’s fabulous, well then, all is well. I hope.

update: ** I’ve just read the first chapter of the book at the Wall Street Journal (HERE) and so far . . . great!**To Kill A Mockingbird, Fairhope Alabama

But in the great Southern tradition of throwing a party for any occasion and to especially celebrate our admiration for Harper Lee and her iconic works, Fairhope’s favorite bookstore, Page and Palette will celebrate in grand style this coming Tuesday, July 14th with a Watchman Book Launch Party beginning at 5:00pm.

Page and Palette Bookstore, Fairhope Alabama, Fairhope Supply Co.
Give-aways of the new book, refreshments, including “Tequila Mockingbird” cocktails (clever) and a free photo booth will be part of the fun.

Books, Fairhope AlabamaBut here’s the exciting part . . . (for me, at least) I’ve been asked to be one of the “Notable Readers” who will take turns reading the entire book aloud in the store! Sharing the reading honors with me will be Al.com cartoonist, J.D. Crowe, and authors Watt Key and Shari Smith (check back later for updates of additional readers and details). I’m thinking of dressing in theme and wearing my overalls. Yes, of course I have overalls. What do you think I wear while snipping roses in the garden?

If you are in the Fairhope area next Tuesday, come join the fun!


So, here’s the question of the moment, what do y’all think of this book, and are you going to read it?


After you read GSAW, check out this summer reading list (HERE) from independently owned booksellers around the South, as listed on Garden & Gun’s pages. – Fairhope’s own Stephanie Crowe speaks for Page and Palette!

  • […] Here’s the back story on the reading, which turned out to be standing room only at our favorite bookstore, Page and Palette. I was honored to be asked to read alongside authors Ron Meszaros, Watt Key, cartoonist J.D. Crowe, and story teller, Connie Cazort. […]

  • I have to know how this turned out….but more than that, did you wear your overalls?! I sure hope so! I haven’t gotten my copy yet, but I plan to in the very near future! Blessings for your day!


  • No. Just no. This is not a sequel, it was a first try at the book, and was rejected by the publisher, for good reason. But the editor saw something in the story and worked with Ms. Lee to edit and re-work the story into the masterpiece it became. I don’t believe Ms. Lee intended this to see the light of day.

    Atticus was the moral center of Mockingbird – its north star. Many people over the years have been encouraged by his quiet courage. Releasing this book was a disservice to Mockingbird.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I agree with everything you’ve said, but at the same time, Harper Lee’s talent shines through this book and gives us another glimpse into the writing process. As someone who loves to write, it’s fascinating to see the progression from this story into Mockingbird. Since I’ve bought the book, I’ve talked with two people who both know Harper Lee personally, and they have indicated there is no way on God’s green earth she’s been giving all these concise quotes and quips about the new book. That part of it is all very sad.

  • I haven’t decided if I want to read it, I’m going to wait for reviews and decide. Already this book is getting negative comments before published and I’m not sure it should have been published. Around here it’s said HL did not want it published. And, like you say when lawyers are involved what’s up! Your evening sounds lovely, enjoy………………..

  • I, too, fear that Go Set A Watchman won’t live up to legacy of To Kill A Mockingbird or the hype. How could it? What a thrill to be chosen as one of the Celebrity Readers! I’m anxious to read all about the release party!

  • Oh how exciting! Yes, yes! I’m going to read the new book. To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my favorite books and I loved the movie too! I wish the dear lady well. I know we can’t live forever but I pray her last days will be good. I’m so proud for you be the outloud reader! How cute you’ll be in your little overalls! 🙂 I hope someone will take a snap of you so you will share it with us!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Well, the overalls aren’t a sure thing yet. I’m still considering my wardrobe options . . .

  • I plan on being there. Any reading slots available…for a local librarian?
    I’ll wear seersucker, if that meets with your “overall” approval. LOL.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      You would be the gentleman for sure in seersucker. I have no idea what their schedule is, but I’ll check! You’d somehow have to muster up a Southern accent!

  • I have heard bits here and there about the possibility of this book, and am excited to know that it’s really happening…I do worry that the media will over criticize over analyze and in general try to ruin such a legendary author. What fun to be a reader at the P&P event! I will definitely read this, keeping Harper’s Lees fresh spirit and outlook in mind~ I’m with Ellen on hunky Gregory Peck 🙂

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Although I’d like to go back and re-read TKAM, I honestly don’t have the time right now, but maybe re-watching the movie would be a good idea. There’s always time for Gregory Peck, right?

  • Nancy Maners says:

    Oh, I will definitely be reading it. Thought about going to Monroeville, but Fairhope is more fun. I will be at P&P on Tuesday sitting in the front row, and I will be reporting on what you are wearing! Started listening to Reese Witherspoon reading it yesterday, but it was too slow. Will read the first chapter myself before Tuesday, so you better start with Chapter 2.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Oh dear! Pour on the pressure! I heard Reese Witherspoon was reading the audio version and thought that was a very good choice. Can’t wait to see you at Page and Palette!

  • TKAM is my favorite fiction book. I have read it many times. The most fascinating thing about the book for me is its universal appeal. I was born and grew up in a small town in Southeast Alabama. I went to a state college and eventually moved to the Seattle area. I have a dear friend who is from Mumbai India, who was educated in a ritzy East coast women’s college and her favorite book is TKAM. Crazy, isn’t it?
    I read the first chapter of GSAW and I’m not sure I’ll read the entire book.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Very interesting comment. I’m wondering now what you thought of the new chapter. I thought it was very good and want to read more. I guess the entire feeling is like I had about “Scarlett,” the sequel to Gone With the Wind. Just a little strange I guess.

  • How cool is that to be chosen to be a reader at the bookstore event! … and the overalls are a must 🙂 Be sure to let us know how the book is! ~Have a great weekend, Rhonda

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Oh yes, it’s very cool indeed. Just a little pressure to get such a highly anticipated story perfect! Happy weekend to you too!

  • I wish I’d known a few weeks earlier so I could be at the reading! The mystery surrounding Harper Lee, her connection with Mr. Capote, the enduring and endearing superb quality of TKAM…could it happen anywhere else but the South?

    PS: I picture you in a straw hat and pretty white dress snipping roses into a wooden trug…!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Oh, I’d give anything if you could be here! It’s going to be a great party. And of course I have a white rose-picking dress, I only wear the overalls when I know I’ll have to kneel on the ground and get “earthy.”

  • Arlene Cocke says:

    Can’t wait!
    See you there!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Please find me and say hello! Can’t wait to see you there!

  • To Kill a Mockingbird was on my required reading list from the summer of 8th to 9th grade. I devoured the book in days…living in the north, Boston, MA at the time and attending Catholic schools I was not involved in the turmoil that bussing created in my city that summer…my circle of friends was quite diverse. I remember being outraged at the injustice served to Tom Robinson…it struck a chord and still does so today. The actors who played Scout and Jem in the movie were just as I pictured them after reading the book. I have come across many Dill’s in my life and love his character also. Wish I could be there for the reading…good luck.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Beemie. The magic of the story is that it speaks to all of us, no matter where we live. Injustice is a hard thing for good people to take.

  • I am most definitely reading it and will savor every word. If anyone tries to “critique” this book I may just have to get UGLY. Hopefully, everyone will read it for what it is, a buried treasure that we are fortunate to have. What time do you think you’ll be reading?

    BTW, literary experts have come to the conclusion that Harper Lee is the author of TKAM. I think that rumor was stirred up to create more interest for the book. But Capote was genius in his own right.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I don’t know what time I’ll be reading, but if I find out in time, I ‘ll let you know.

      I’m fascinated with the history of Harper Lee and Truman Capote growing up knowing each other and basing characters in their books on each other. Can you imagine what that neighborhood was like with two creative minds like that? I wonder if they were ever in the same class at school?

  • I haven’t decided. As you know, there is the theory that Truman Capote wrote the original TKAM or at least helped. Most times, I always prefer the book to the movie. In this case, I think I liked the movie better. I mean, Gregory Peck in his prime? What’s not to like. I might read it out of curiosity. I am sure you will read it with feeling and heart, and I wish I could be there to hear you.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I’ll call you and read it over the phone!

  • Oh my goodness ! Off course I am going to read it. You had me at the opening line. I am so excited that now I am going to read”To Kill a Mockingbird” again, before I start this one. I would pay an entrance fee for the opportunity to hear you reading (and see you maybe even dressed in overalls).

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Hahahaha. I’m rethinking the overalls now!

  • Malinda Clay says:

    I have mine pre-ordered and I am in the process of reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” AGAIN.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I think it’s a great idea to re-read the original. When I just read the first chapter of the new book, I already had to stop and think . . . “wait . .. who was that again?”

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