FW: Daily Dose: Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee
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Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2006 2:05 AM
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Subject: Daily Dose: Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee
Today's Dose is reviewed by Christy from Custer, Wisconsin
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"Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee"
by Charles J. Shields
"I couldn't put the book down once I started reading. I hadn't
realized that so many of the characters and events in 'To Kill
a Mockingbird' were based on her life in Monroeville, Alabama.
Until I saw the movie 'Capote' I did not know about Lee's relationship
with Capote, so reading more about their investigation of the
Kansas murders was especially interesting....I wonder if there
will be writings that will be discovered later -- when she will
not have to hear any comparisons with her beloved first book."
"To Kill a Mockingbird," the twentieth-century's most widely read
American novel, has sold thirty million copies and still sells
a million yearly. Yet despite the book's perennial popularity,
its creator, Harper Lee has become a somewhat mysterious figure.
Now, after years of research, Charles J. Shields has brought to
life the warmhearted, high-spirited, and occasionally hardheaded
woman who gave us two of American literature's most unforgettable
characters -- Atticus Finch and his daughter, Scout -- and who
contributed to the success of her lifelong friend Truman Capote's
masterpiece, "In Cold Blood."
At the center of Shields's lively book is the story of Lee's struggle
to create her famous novel. But her life contains many other highlights
as well: her girlhood as a tomboy in overalls in tiny Monroeville,
Alabama; the murder trial that made her beloved father's reputation
and inspired her great work; her journey to Kansas as Capote's
ally and research assistant to help report the story of the Clutter
murders; the surrogate family she found in New York City.
Drawing on six hundred interviews and much new information,
is the first book ever written about Harper Lee. Highly entertaining,
filled with humor and heart, this is an evocative portrait of
a writer, her dream, and the place and people whom she made immortal.
"This biography will not disappoint those who loved the novel
and the feisty, independent, fiercely loyal Scout, in whom Harper
Lee put so much of herself."
-- Garrison Keillor
"There are many pages about Lee's collaboration with Truman Capote
on 'In Cold Blood'...with some attention to Capote's jealousy
of Lee's success and his petty failure to acknowledge the great
contributions she made."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"An informative and genial biography that literary fiction lovers
will flock to."
"The best chapter details how Lee and her childhood friend Truman
Capote went to Kansas to research the crime and its aftermath
that would later become 'In Cold Blood.'"
-- Library Journal
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A former English teacher who taught Harper Lee's novel for years,
Charles J. Shields has a BA in English and an MA in American history
from the University of Illinois, where he was a James Scholar.
The author of many widely praised books for young people, he spent
four years researching Mockingbird in Alabama, New York, and Kansas,
speaking to hundreds of Lee's neighbors, friends, classmates,
and culling facts from the archives of Truman Capote and other
collections, as well as papers from the Monroe County (Alabama)
courthouse and historical museum. He lives in central Virginia
with his wife.
COPIES NOW AVAILABLE*
Hardcover (New) $25.00
*Please note that copies are limited to on-hand quantity; used copies,
in particular, may be available in extremely limited supply.
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