Harper Lee’s classic turns 50 this month, with much fanfare from publisher HarperCollins, who have created a special anniversary website to celebrate. The book — Harper Lee’s first and only novel — has been translated into over 40 languages, was voted by librarians as one of the best books of the 20th century, and sells over 750,000 copies a year.
To Kill a Mockingbird continues to inspire debate, most recently in a piece by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker, who argued that the character of Atticus Finch is “looking for racial salvation through hearts and minds,” an approach that “is about accommodation, not reform.”
Yesterday, in the Washington Post, columnist Kathleen Parker defended To Kill a Mockingbird, saying, “trying to kill a great book because a 50-year-old literary character doesn’t measure up to modern critics’ idea of heroism is a sin.”
Apologist or revolutionary? You can judge for yourself how the book has stood the test of time. The Library has three copies in its collection, all of which are currently available. Do you remember the first time you read it?
UPDATE: If you’re interested in comparing the film and book versions, please join us as we welcome Judith Merians for a talk on adapting “To Kill a Mockingbird” to film, on Tuesday, 28 September, 19h30 at the Library.