Tag Archives: Harper Lee

Harper Lee and Truman Capote

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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.

Potential anniversary-themed reads for 2010

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
  • Rhinoceros (50th) – Eugene Ionesco
  • The Town and the City (60th) – Jack Kerouac
  • Immortality (20th) – Milan Kundera
  • Devil in a Blue Dress (20th) – Walter Mosley
  • Skinny Legs and All (20th) – Tom Robbins
  • Cosmos (30th) – Carl Sagan
  • The Bachelors (50th) – Muriel Spark
  • The Ballad of Peckham Road (50th) – Muriel Spark
  • The Snake’s Pass (120th) – Bram Stoker
  • The Sleeper Awakes (100th) – H.G. Wells
  • Jeeves in the Offing (50th) – P.G. Wodehouse

Complete:

  • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (30th) – Douglas Adams
  • I, Robot (60th) – Isaac Asimov
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (25th) – Margaret Atwood
  • Martian Chronicles (60th) – Ray Bradbury
  • Ender’s Game (25th) – Orson Scott Card
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (10th) – Michael Chabon
  • Farewell, My Lovely (70th) – Raymond Chandler
  • The Sign of Four (120th) – Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Baudolino (10th) – Umberto Eco
  • The Name of the Rose (30th) – Umberto Eco
  • LA Confidential (20th) – James Ellroy
  • As I Lay Dying (80th) – William Faulkner
  • Love in the Time of Cholera (25th) – Gabriel García Márquez
  • The Difference Engine (20th) – William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
  • The Marble Faun (150th) – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls (70th) – Ernest Hemingway
  • The Cider House Rules (25th) – John Irving
  • Tristessa (50th) – Jack Kerouac
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (50th) – Harper Lee
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz (50th) – Walter M. Miller
  • Ringworld (40th) – Larry Niven
  • The Violent Bear It Away (50th) – Flannery O’Connor
  • Hemingway’s Chair (15th) – Michael Palin
  • Good Omens (20th) – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  • Still Life with Woodpecker (30th) – Tom Robbins
  • Contact (25th) – Carl Sagan
  • Green Eggs and Ham (50th) – Dr. Seuss
  • One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (50th) – Dr. Seuss
  • Zeitgeist (10th) – Bruce Sterling
  • The Artificial Kid (30th) – Bruce Sterling
  • A Confederacy of Dunces (30th) – John Kennedy Toole
  • The Accidental Tourist (25th) – Anne Tyler
  • Hocus Pocus (20th) – Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Age of Innocence (90th) – Edith Wharton
  • Mrs. Dalloway (85th) – Virginia Woolf