Just finished To Kill a Mockingbird earlier today—it’s the 50th anniversary of its publishing, and since I didn’t remember having read it (at least in adulthood) I decided it was high time. Thank goodness: a new favorite book.
Perusing the book’s Wikipedia article, I was amused to find out that not only did Harper Lee grow up around Truman Capote, he played a role in her literary masterpiece—as she did in his:
The character of Dill was modeled on Lee’s childhood friend, Truman Capote, known then as Truman Persons. Just as Dill lived next door to Scout during the summer, Capote lived next door to Lee with his aunts while his mother visited New York City. Like Dill, Capote had an impressive imagination and a gift for fascinating stories. Both Lee and Capote were atypical children: both loved to read. Lee was a scrappy tomboy who was quick to fight, but Capote was ridiculed for his advanced vocabulary and lisp. She and Capote made up and acted out stories they wrote on an old Underwood typewriter Lee’s father gave them. They became good friends when both felt alienated from their peers; Capote called the two of them “apart people”. In 1960, Capote and Lee traveled to Kansas together to investigate the multiple murders that were the basis for Capote’s nonfiction novel In Cold Blood.
A few months ago I got the idea to create a reading queue based on anniversary. There were quite a few great books celebrating more or less significant birthdays in 2009.
Continuing the idea, here’s a list of possibilities to choose from for 2010, with the ordinal in parentheses. The list is skewed to 20th Century lit since I didn’t go farther back in my searching except for certain authors — there will be scads of additional selections available if you feel like looking around. Feel free to offer any other suggestions in the comments.
I’ll strike out those I get around to reading during the year.
The Brothers Karamazov (130th) – Fyodor Dostoyevsky