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Author Topic: Your Journey to Go Set A Watchman  (Read 450 times)

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August 08, 2015, 08:17:01 AM

RiverSpirit

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Go Set A Watchman has become the fastest selling book in the history of HarperCollins Publishers. Two million copies were originally printed but another million had to be ordered to meet the demand.

Prior to the release there was a lot of hype and publicity. Did this entice you to read the book? Did you pre-order or just pop into a bookstore? Print or digital?

Did you feel that it was a prerequisite to have read To Kill A Mockingbird? Did you reread just before the release? Do you have fond memories of TKAM? Was it a set novel at school?

We would love to hear how you prepared to read this much anticipated book. Please feel free to share your journey to Go Set A Watchman.


  
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August 18, 2015, 05:27:20 PM
Reply #1

HealerOne

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I have to admit when I saw all the hype about this book I was excited. To Kill a Mockingbird was such a wonderful book. I was curious what could be in this new book and whether it could in any way stand up to Mockingbird. To prepare for its release I watched the movie which was great but not exactly faithful to the book. I then got a Kindle copy of the book too, so I could study that.

As soon as Go Set A Watchman was out I downloaded a copy in my Kindle. It took me a few weeks before I got to it in my queue. I read it and was very intrigued. I knew I wanted to read it again. I also knew I would need a hard copy so I could really study it - and mark it up as I usually do when I study a book!

Not too long ago I was thinking about this and was driving by a small bookstore which I had observed for many years. My thought was that it must be a small Mom and Pop Store that had somehow survived in the economics of the giant bookstores and Amazon. I thought that I really should support such a store so I stopped. I knew the minute I walked into that store that it must be a religious bookstore, because I saw no secular books out. "OK", I thought to myself they still might have a copy, as Watchman was - let's face it - the biggest thing in publishing history in a very long time!"

I was greeted by a young lady. I asked if they had a copy of Go Set A Watchman? She looked at me blankly. I said, "By Harper Lee." She still had a blank look on her face. I wondered if she spoke Spanish. Then an older man came out who appeared to be the manager. he said he would help me. I repeated my request - blank look. He went to the computer and started typing - asking me in perfect English each word of the title "... GO" (He typed) pause ..." set a ..." he looked up at me expectantly. "What was the last word?"

"WATCHMAN!" I replied, completely befuddled by this time. "By Harper Lee!" Was he pulling my leg or did he not really know? Wouldn't anyone in the book business know this book? ( I swear this is the truth!) He finally found it in his computer and said that they didn't have a copy. He then turned the computer screen around so I could see the book cover. "Is this the book you want?" Still very clueless that this was only the second book this Pulitzer Prize winner had ever written - her first book, one of the only books that had ever sold almost as many copies as the Bible. I was so (To borrow an British phrase) gobsmacked at this point that I turned tail and left shaking my head all the way out the door. I later bought my hard copy at the giant wholesale place Sam's.

Looking back I could easily forgive that little bookstore for not having a copy of this book, but not to even know what I was talking about? ...That was a bibliophile's heartbreak. Didn't the people that run that store even read the newspapers? Look at the Top 10 read books? It made me wonder how isolated this particular religious store was? Then I wondered ... perhaps it was me? Maybe I was being prejudiced? Maybe being immersed in the book world and being aware of all that was going on around me was just as befuddling to the manager and his assistant as the opposite had been to me? I still ponder that.

"Never judge a book by its cover." "Judge not, that you be not judged." "Go. Set a watchman. Let him declare what he sees."
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August 18, 2015, 10:38:26 PM
Reply #2

paint it Black

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I do enjoy following book news, so I admit to being drawn to this book because it is probably the biggest publishing story of the year!  I somehow managed to get through school without being assigned To Kill a Mockingbird; I read it for the first time only two years ago.  So many times I have heard people say that this is their favorite book that I felt the need to slip it into my reading queue as one of those must-read classics that I wanted to get to someday.  I read Go Set a Watchman as soon as I could get a copy from the library, though I do wish that I had re-read TKAM before starting it, so that I would be better able to better spot the differences between the two as I read.  If you are already very familiar with To Kill a Mockingbird (or don't really care about the differences between the two) than I don't think this would be necessary, unless you just wanted to re-visit your favorite book.  :hermioneread: (You'll be missing out on something special though if you don't read it someday!)  I ended up reading a detailed summary of To Kill a Mockingbird after finishing Go Set a Watchman, but I think it would have been much less confusing to have re-familiarized myself with TKAM first.  After that, I re-read Go Set a Watchman; I intended to just skim it, but you know how that goes....  ::)

...I knew I wanted to read it again. I also knew I would need a hard copy so I could really study it - and mark it up as I usually do when I study a book! ...
As a big library fan, I usually slap a large, lined post-it on my borrowed copy and make notes that way.  Though once I return the book, the page number references become somewhat useless.  ::)


...Looking back I could easily forgive that little bookstore for not having a copy of this book, but not to even know what I was talking about? ...That was a bibliophile's heartbreak. Didn't the people that run that store even read the newspapers? Look at the Top 10 read books? ...

I don't know, I do think it's pretty odd that they had never even heard of the book.  It was all over the news several times (first when it was announced that it would be published, then when people doubted that Ms. Lee wanted it released, and again when it actually came out).  Perhaps this store was staffed by volunteers for the church (as opposed to typical retail booksellers), and they typically sell the same stock of books to the same clientele...?

Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
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June 18, 2016, 03:29:26 PM
Reply #3

HealerOne

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I know not many posts in here but I had to share what happened recently. The book club I belong to decided to do Go Set a Watchman as their June book. I was in charge of facilitating the discussion. I used some of the discussion points we had right here in this part of DiscussionStation.com to structure the questions I used.

I have to admit I was a bit nervous about this, as several folks had told me their reservations about the book. Also I live in the Southern United States and there are long held beliefs in this area. The morning of the meeting I was Skyping with a good friend and she gave me some good words of advice: "When you don't talk about stuff like this, and it remains hidden - it just leads to greater pain." She gave the example of the German people who have suppressed discussion of their part in WWII. They now have no idea how to react or discuss it when it does come up. It's too painful to talk about. So discussing and talking about the past is important. "You learn from it it and you move on."

I used this message to preface our discussion and was truly amazed at the depth of the resulting exchange of ideas about the book.  There was a lot of honesty and forthright conversation. It was probably the best discussion we have had. I guess the best comment afterward was from someone who hadn't read the book. "I didn't read this book because I thought it would shatter my love of Mockingbird, but after this discussion I think I will read it."

That's the power of literature. It takes us to places that perhaps we didn't know we needed go, but we are often better for have taken the journey. 
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