Reading List

Long after my formal education was over, in a miraculous turn of luck one summer I discovered Truman Capote and Harper Lee. Too busy suffering through Beowulf and Shakespeare in school, I somehow managed to miss them both. But as fate would have it I found In Cold Blood and To Kill A Mockingbird at a library sale and read them back to back. It was only afterwards I discovered the great friendship the authors shared as children and into adulthood. Like so many others I became a big fan of Harper Lee and glommed onto any bit of news or gossip about her reclusive life. The same for Truman Capote, but his descent from grace in the disco years was hard to watch without wincing. This past week, the PBS American Masters program ‘Hey Boo’ brought back my fever. Take it from me, forget chick lit and beach reads. Put both of these authors on your summer reading list and be amazed again or for the first time. Then, conduct your own Fiction into Film class and watch the movies in glorious black and white. The Quincy Jones music for In Cold Blood is spot on and the title squence for Mockingbird will draw you right in.
Vintage themes that are still news today prove that it’s never too late to learn from the past.

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2 Responses to Reading List

  1. I read To Kill A Mockingbird was I was younger and was delighted when my teenage son read the book last summer. We checked out the movie from the library, and I spent most of the summer narrating our lives using my version of the voice of the narrator in the film. Somehow the soft and southern descriptions of our daily routines gave our family a sense of just how much the ordinary routines shape us. I’ll definitely look for In Cold Blood for my summer reading – thanks for the book encouragement!

  2. Andy Howell says:

    Funny that the actress that played Scout is a Virginian (Woodstock I think?) and I learned mostly about her and the movie (and was reintroduced to the book via a “Fiction into Film” class at our old Alma Mater, VCU) back in the mid-80s. Always wanted to name a pet Atticus.

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