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.