For Fans of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” Your 55-Year Wait Ends Today

Staff Writer

The biggest literary surprise of the 21st century will hit bookstores and library shelves tomorrow. On July 14, a half century after the release of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee will release her second book, “Go Set a Watchman.”

Here in Catawba County we have experienced an overwhelming demand for the new title with 61 people on the waiting list in the Catawba County Library System. In response, the library has ordered additional copies as well as copies of the e-book to ensure access to everyone! Hickory Public library has also ordered extra copies of this highly anticipated novel. If you haven’t already, go to www.catawbacountync.gov/library or call 828-465-8664 now to reserve your copy!

Harper Lee published “To Kill a Mockingbird” in 1960 and it was an immediate success. The book won a Pulitzer Prize, was made into an Academy Award-winning movie and has become a classic of modern American literature. Despite the book’s success, over a half century has passed since its release. According to the New York Times, the publication of "Go Set a Watchman," on July 14, 2015 may be the most anticipated novel in the last 55 years of publishing. It has already set a new record for preordered books. Without giving away too much, the novel tells a story of an older Scout, with a decidedly different portrayal of her father Atticus.

The publication of this second novel is very timely for the upcoming Catawba County Big Read program where libraries throughout the county are joining forces to promote the reading of the classic “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Big Read is a collaborative community wide reading program that will take place February through April 2016. “We invite everyone in Catawba County to read Harper Lee's “To Kill a Mockingbird,” discuss it with friends, neighbors and family, and participate in a continuing conversation about the issues of morality and racial equality that it evokes,” said Library Director Suzanne White.

We are pleased to announce the keynote speaker for the Big Read program is Mary Badham, the actress who portrayed young Scout Finch in the 1962 film with Gregory Peck. Ms. Badham will be speaking at Catawba Valley Community College, Lenoir Rhyne University, Hickory Public Library and the Catawba County Library. Additionally, each partner location will be distributing free copies of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and hosting book discussions and other activities. The Green Room Community Theatre will be performing the play “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

Please be sure to check the library’s website, Facebook, newsletters and the newspaper for Big Read news. For additional information about the Big Read or to reserve a copy of "Go Set a Watchman," contact your local branch or mylibrary@catawbacountync.gov.

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