Gives me an intense craving to reread The Phantom Tollbooth.
The original subject of this post (which was so very longwinded and conflicted and you’re better off never having read it) was the February 3rd announcement of Harper Lee’s “new” book, Go Set A Watchman, an early version of what evolved into To Kill A Mockingbird.
The story goes that this manuscript was recently found in a safety deposit box by Lee’s lawyer, having been all but forgotten for years. How thrilling! I was over the moon about it… that is, until I had a few minutes to think about it, and then read up on it. The timing was incredibly suspect– Lee’s sister Alice, who had been her fierce protector and legal advisor for decades, passed away just this past November. Lee is notoriously reclusive, and all contact with her is filtered through her current lawyer, the person who apparently found the manuscript a few months ago. The information coming from her publishers was incredibly inconsistent and sketchy. The news didn’t match up with decades of Harper Lee’s actual words on the subject of another book coming out.
The fear of Harper Lee being exploited, of having her writing released without her explicit, cogent approval, gave me a deep, sick knot in my stomach.
BUT, that post has been preempted by news that I somehow completely missed when it came out in April– a longtime friend of Lee’s has come out and confirmed her recent lucidity, the state of Alabama investigated to ensure that Lee is not the victim of elder abuse, and Lee personally responded to a nosy journalist’s letter with the southern equivalent of “fuck off!” (“Go away. -Harper Lee”). Upon reading that just now, I immediately burst into hysterical tears of relief and joy, very much confusing my poor boyfriend.
GUYS. Harper M-F-ING Lee has a NEW BOOK COMING OUT and I’m allowed to be thrilled now. I have a tribute to her work permanently etched into my arm (“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience” with a mockingbird), I intend to name one of my future children for her (Nelle, her legal first name and the name by which friends call her), and I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED FOR THIS NEW BOOK NOW I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY JLKJHASHFOIHREAWIRAFCHAUSRAFSD. I wasn’t intending on ever reading it if I couldn’t be sure that she actually wanted it published (which was killing me but non-negotiable in my mind), so I never let myself get excited for it… IT’S ALL FLOODING OUT NOW!!11!1!! We’re having a goddamn Harper Lee party on July 14th, babies!
*throws confetti and glitter, moonwalks out of the room*
(gotta say, I’m a little bothered that I didn’t see this good news plastered everywhere like the initial book announcement was, though…)
//not directly related, but a terrific LONG heart-breaking Vanity Fair article my dad sent me– To Steal A Mockingbird
I pretty much want everything in the world to smell like pipesmoke or a bonfire or old books. That person who will stop in the middle of the sidewalk with their eyes closed if they catch a whiff of a cigarillo? Me. These candles sound like fucking magic.
Frostbeard Studio‘s Booklovers’ Soy Candles come in a ton of different scents, but listen to these descriptions…
Old Books – Library, white tea, newsprint and dusty attic. Sweet and papery.
Bookstore – Timber, driftwood, hazelnut cappuccino and a hint of leather. Cozy and sweet.
Sherlock’s Study – Cherrywood, pipe tobacco and rain. Sweet and rich.
Oxford Library – Sandalwood and oakmoss, with hints of tobacco and leather. Fresh and woodsy.
Book Cellar – Fresh dirt, dry wood, vanilla and basement. An “even older book,” rich & earthy.
Some impulse purchases from a few weeks ago…
The Opposite Of Loneliness by Marina Keegan – begrudgingly picked this one up for book club (I originally had no interest in reading it). I found it interesting, but not really because of the content so much as the macro context of how people see a writer posthumously. The writing of a very talented girl who was clearly still in university and hadn’t really lived enough to create compelling stories yet, frankly.
The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon – SO PURTY. Haven’t cooked anything yet, but nom nom nom. (Does anyone else have dozens of cookbooks just for reading?)
The Turnip Princess And Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth - this one is for sure for the hardcore folklore geeks out there. These stories are not the polished, tidy (sometimes quite brutal) fairy tales of Perrault or Hans Christian Andersen; these are rougher (and more brutal), almost fragmented stories just carried down through an oral tradition in them deep dark German woods. Schönwerth wrote for academics, so these tales are not written to be terribly accessible. See here for a great Salon piece about the discovery, and here for a little BBC Radio programme on the Brothers Grimm. Review to come when I’ve read it.
Because I’m a sucker for Penguin Books-style anything, and because I’m an insufferable know-it-all.
// via This Isn’t Happiness
Great little piece with tips for getting over a reading slump. ”Cut yourself some mental slack” should be my new credo.
// via Toronto Public Library