THE G.O. BOOK: Grandma’s Observations

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Lippincott Company , which eventually bought it. Hohoff was impressed. It was, as she described it, "more a series of anecdotes than a fully conceived novel". Like many unpublished authors, Lee was unsure of her talents. There appeared to be a natural give and take between author and editor.

As for her relationship with Lee, it's clear that Hohoff provided more than just editorial guidance.

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One winter night, as Charles J. Shields recounts in Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, Lee threw her manuscript out her window and into the snow, before calling Hohoff in tears. When the novel was finally ready, the author opted to use the name "Harper Lee", rather than risk having her first name Nelle be misidentified as "Nellie".

Published July 11, , To Kill a Mockingbird was an immediate bestseller and won great critical acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in It remains a bestseller, with more than 30 million copies in print. Like Lee, the tomboy Scout of the novel is the daughter of a respected small-town Alabama attorney. Scout's friend, Dill, was inspired by Lee's childhood friend and neighbor, Truman Capote ; [11] Lee, in turn, is the model for a character in Capote's first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms , published in Although the plot of Lee's novel involves an unsuccessful legal defense similar to one undertaken by her attorney father, the landmark Scottsboro Boys interracial rape case may also have helped to shape Lee's social conscience.

While Lee herself downplayed autobiographical parallels in the book, Truman Capote, mentioning the character Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird , described details he considered autobiographical: "In my original version of Other Voices, Other Rooms I had that same man living in the house that used to leave things in the trees, and then I took that out. He was a real man, and he lived just down the road from us.

Harper Lee - Wikipedia

We used to go and get those things out of the trees. Everything she wrote about it is absolutely true. But you see, I take the same thing and transfer it into some Gothic dream, done in an entirely different way. After completing To Kill a Mockingbird , Lee accompanied Capote to Holcomb, Kansas , to assist him in researching what they thought would be an article on a small town's response to the murder of a farmer and his family.

Capote expanded the material into his best-selling book, In Cold Blood , published in From the time of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird until her death in , Lee granted almost no requests for interviews or public appearances and, with the exception of a few short essays, published nothing further, until She did work on a follow-up novel— The Long Goodbye —but eventually filed it away unfinished.

Lee said of the Academy Award —winning screenplay adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird by Horton Foote : "I think it is one of the best translations of a book to film ever made. Peck won an Oscar for his portrayal of Atticus Finch , the father of the novel's narrator, Scout. In January , President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Lee to the National Council on the Arts. In , Lee wrote a letter to the editor in response to the attempts of a Richmond, Virginia , area school board to ban To Kill a Mockingbird as "immoral literature":.

Recently I have received echoes down this way of the Hanover County School Board's activities, and what I've heard makes me wonder if any of its members can read. Surely it is plain to the simplest intelligence that To Kill a Mockingbird spells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners.

To hear that the novel is 'immoral' has made me count the years between now and , for I have yet to come across a better example of doublethink. I feel, however, that the problem is one of illiteracy, not Marxism. James J. Kilpatrick , the editor of The Richmond News Leader , started the Beadle Bumble fund to pay fines for victims of what he termed "despots on the bench".

He built the fund using contributions from readers and later used it to defend books as well as people.


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After the board in Richmond ordered schools to dispose of all copies of To Kill a Mockingbird , Kilpatrick wrote, "A more moral novel scarcely could be imagined. Lee lived for 40 years at East 82nd Street in Manhattan. On May 7, , Lee wrote a letter to Oprah Winfrey published in O, The Oprah Magazine in July about her love of books as a child and her dedication to the written word: "Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books.

While attending an August 20, , ceremony inducting four members into the Alabama Academy of Honor, Lee declined an invitation to address the audience, saying: "Well, it's better to be silent than to be a fool. On November 5, , George W. Bush presented Lee with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the highest civilian award in the United States and recognizes individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors".

In , President Barack Obama awarded Lee the National Medal of Arts , the highest award given by the United States government for "outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts". In a interview with an Australian newspaper, Rev. Thomas Lane Butts said Lee now lived in an assisted-living facility, wheelchair-bound, partially blind and deaf, and suffering from memory loss.

Butts also shared that Lee told him why she never wrote again: "Two reasons: one, I wouldn't go through the pressure and publicity I went through with To Kill a Mockingbird for any amount of money. Second, I have said what I wanted to say, and I will not say it again. On May 3, , Lee had filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court to regain the copyright to To Kill a Mockingbird , seeking unspecified damages from a son-in-law of her former literary agent and related entities. Lee claimed that the man "engaged in a scheme to dupe" her into assigning him the copyright on the book in when her hearing and eyesight were in decline, and she was residing in an assisted-living facility after having suffered a stroke.

The suit alleged that the museum had used her name and the title To Kill a Mockingbird to promote itself and to sell souvenirs without her consent. This prompted Lee's attorney to file a lawsuit on October 15 that same year, "which takes issue the museum's website and gift shop, which it accuses of 'palming off its goods', including T-shirts, coffee mugs other various trinkets with Mockingbird brands. According to Lee's lawyer Tonja Carter, following an initial meeting to appraise Lee's assets in , she re-examined Lee's safe-deposit box in and found the manuscript for Go Set a Watchman.

After contacting Lee and reading the manuscript, she passed it on to Lee's agent Andrew Nurnberg. On February 3, , it was announced that HarperCollins would publish Go Set a Watchman , [50] which includes versions of many of the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Iain Reid's Memoir About Time Spent With Grandma Is Young at Heart

According to a HarperCollins press release, it was originally thought that the Watchman manuscript was lost. Jonathan Mahler's account in The New York Times of how Watchman was only ever really considered to be the first draft of Mockingbird makes this assertion seem unlikely. The book was controversially [4] published in July as a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird , though it has been confirmed to be the first draft of the latter, with many narrative incongruities, repackaged and released as a completely separate work.

Not all reviewers have such a harsh opinion about the publication of the sequel book. Michiko Kakutani in Books of The Times article [57] finds that the book "makes for disturbing reading" when Scout is shocked to find Though it lacks the lyricism The publication of the novel announced by her lawyer raised concerns over why Lee, who for 55 years had maintained that she would never write another book, would suddenly choose to publish again.

In February , the State of Alabama, through its Human Resources Department, launched an investigation into whether Lee was competent enough to consent to the publishing of Go Set a Watchman. This characterization, however, was contested by many of Lee's friends. She described Lee as "in a wheelchair in an assisted living center, nearly deaf and blind, with a uniformed guard posted at the door" and her visitors "restricted to those on an approved list. New York Times columnist Joe Nocera continued this argument. They said she knew full well that it was the same one submitted to Tay Hohoff in the s that was reworked into Mockingbird , and that Lee's lawyer Tonja Carter had been sitting on the discovery, waiting for the moment when she, and not Alice, would be in charge of Harper Lee's affairs.

Stephen Peck, son of actor Gregory Peck , also expressed concern. Responding to the question of how he thought his father would have reacted to the book, he said that he "would have appreciated the discussion the book has prompted, but would have been troubled by the decision to publish it. She gave him the pocket watch that had belonged to her father, on whom she modeled Atticus and that Gregory wore it the night he won an Oscar for the role. If he had to, he would have flown down to talk to her. I have no doubt. Do you want to put that early version out there or do you want to put it in the University of Alabama archives for scholars to look at?

Lee died in her sleep on the morning of February 19, , aged After her death, The New York Times filed a lawsuit that argued that since Lee's will was filed in a probate court in Alabama that it should be part of the public record. They argued that wills filed in a probate court are considered part of the public record, and that Lee's should follow suit.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American author. The White House. November 5, The Guardian. The Washington Post. Retrieved February 19, The New York Times. Retrieved December 15, USA Today. Retrieved February 3, New York Times.

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March 19, The Encyclopedia of Alabama. Auburn University at Montgomery. Retrieved November 3, New York. Retrieved March 12, Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee. Henry Holt and Co. Los Angeles Times. Conner Obituary". As they spend more time together, though, they begin to tell stories and to really talk to one another. This is one of the books major themes: the importance of shared stories and memories.

Grandma apologizes for talking so much, but Iain is delighted to listen to her. She is frail and forgetful at times. She loves cheese. As they talk and discover how much they have in common as well as the many ways their worldviews and life experience have rendered their outlooks very different , themes of loneliness, and the difference between being lonely and being alone, emerge. I lost my grandma not too long ago, and this book made me miss her keenly.

I was lucky to have her into my late twenties, equally lucky to have a good relationship with her. She used to love telling me stories about her years as a teenager living in Toronto, and when I visited her in her small town, I would show her photos of the Distillery District or tell her about walking down Yonge Street where she once walked.

It was pleasure to spend a week with Iain Reid and his grandma, to think about my grandma, to ruminate on the importance of telling stories and sharing memories. View all 5 comments. Jan 05, Jim Puskas rated it it was ok Shelves: family-relationships. I wish Iain Reid had decided up front which writing style to apply and then stuck to it. He starts off in an extreme degree of self-deprecation that quickly becomes so annoying that I was tempted to put the book aside.

Perhaps he was trying to be humorous but no one can be that vapid, lazy, unfocused and sloppy and still write an intelligible sentence, never mind a whole book. Once his conversations with his grandmother develop, it soon becomes clear that he is a different person entirely. His as I wish Iain Reid had decided up front which writing style to apply and then stuck to it.

His assumed fecklessness was just a pose, but to what end? An excuse for laziness? His grandma's fine character shines through immediately, once he stops doting on her. One reviewer compared the book with "Tuesdays with Morrie"; although the parallel is obvious, this one is hardly in that league. Iain is by no means changed by the encounter in any way close to the impact that Morrie had on Mitch Albom. A more apt comparison might be Patrick Dennis's experience with "Auntie Mame", although Reid certainly isn't the humorist that Dennis was.

The book gains in stature as it goes along, and as Grandma takes centre stage. Too bad we get too much of Iain along the way. Jan 03, Joanne rated it it was amazing. This utter gem of a book was a sweet delight to read. It rained so relentlessly that they never got past Iain's home in Kingston. For five days they spent every moment together, or at least in the same place. Grandmas as a dynamo of activity back at home in Ottawa she still lived in the house she'd owned for 60 years.


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Her enforced leisure made her more contemplative and introspe This utter gem of a book was a sweet delight to read. Her enforced leisure made her more contemplative and introspective than Iain had ever experienced with her before. They ate, drank and talked more openly because they were alone together.

It turned out that Grandma had a lot more interesting life and was a lot more observant than Iain had given her credit for. This was a lovely book, one I simply couldn't put down. I got up in the night to finish it because I wasn't prepared to wait until the next day. I'm really looking forward to reading another book by him. Sep 02, Janet Hutchinson rated it really liked it Shelves: book-challenge , adult-me-read. What he gave her is something that we all have, but often forget about, as a gift to those in our life - time. Along the way, he learns about her life, and her wisdom.

An enjoyable and easy read. Jun 24, Nancy rated it liked it Shelves: e-book , library-book. This was a fun, quick read and a gentle reminder about a couple of things, I think. One is the importance of sharing memories and telling stories, and the other is about positivity. At times I thought Grandma's positivity was almost unbelievable but if "the glass is half full" is your attitude all the time, then I guess it becomes habit and therefore, part of you.

Mar 12, Sharen rated it liked it.

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An interesting premise for a novel - the relationship between a grandson and his grandmother. Reid provides an interesting tale with humorous touches. The one drawback: inconsistencies that are jarring for the reader. The first morning he has nothing to offer Grandma for breakfast except freezer-stale bread for toast.

The next morning he "gorges" on bacon, eggs, beans, fried potatoes, tomatoes, toast and an English muffin. When and how did the fridge fill up with these treats? Or another ex An interesting premise for a novel - the relationship between a grandson and his grandmother. Or another example, he doesn't mention to Grandma that he has no hot water. This isn't discussed? He has no plans for Grandma on a rainy day - and they all seem to be rainy. How about the movies?

These kinds of things leave the reader mystified and wondering; they take attention away from the story. Still, what he learns about his Grandma's life is touching and endearing, so it is worth the read! Nov 17, Jane Mulkewich rated it it was amazing. A true story about a year-old writer living in Kingston, Ontario, who invites his year-old grandmother to a "staycation" in his apartment for five days.

He writes in a humorous and delightfully candid style, revealing how unprepared he is as a young bachelor living alone to host a year-old woman, but the two enjoy their time together and learn a lot about each other, and it is an enjoyable read. I am just impressed that he can make his living at writing, at such a young age. And I und A true story about a year-old writer living in Kingston, Ontario, who invites his year-old grandmother to a "staycation" in his apartment for five days.

And I understand that his grandmother is turning this year, still going strong! Great genes in this family - including his sister who lives in Iceland. Jun 26, Angeline rated it really liked it. After a week long "vacation" in his Kingston apartment with his grandmother, who shares details about her life and living through wartime, Iain shows us the value of spending time with our loved ones and the great wisdom that comes with age. Great book for "Being lucky isn't about constant happiness, things being easy, or always getting what you want.

Great book for anyone who is looking for a cheery picker-upper. Jul 06, Loriepaddock rated it it was amazing. After reading "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" and enjoying it very much, was curious to read Reid's earlier books. Thoroughly enjoyed this gentle, lovely tale about a vacation he took with his grandmother. I'm about to become a grandmother later this year. Perhaps in part that's why this book resonated very deeply and profoundly with me.

Or perhaps it was simply because Mr. Reid is a superb teller of stories, and whether it's a heart-stopping thriller or a loving memoir, the book is going to be After reading "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" and enjoying it very much, was curious to read Reid's earlier books. Reid is a superb teller of stories, and whether it's a heart-stopping thriller or a loving memoir, the book is going to be outstanding. Sep 26, Alex rated it really liked it Shelves: bookclub. I think this was more of a 3. Maybe a 3. I love that this is a Kingston book. I've never really read one, I don't think.

So that was fun. Also fun? The relationship between Iain and his Grandmother. Their time together was told honestly and I really appreciated that. He does a lovely job of making his Grandmother really come to life on the page - having a 91 year old Nana myself, I smiled and nodded at the moments where his Grandma forgot what she was talking about mid-sentence or couldn't r I think this was more of a 3. He does a lovely job of making his Grandmother really come to life on the page - having a 91 year old Nana myself, I smiled and nodded at the moments where his Grandma forgot what she was talking about mid-sentence or couldn't remember a word.

It was endearing. It's a 4. Apr 20, Randa rated it it was ok. All I could think as I read this was, "This guy's a douche. I appreciate that you learned more about your grandmother, but you sure didn't treat her very well. The writing style was uneven and distracting; particularly the last three or four pages, which were the most observatory and provided the most perspective. Completely out of keep All I could think as I read this was, "This guy's a douche.

Completely out of keeping with the remainder of the book. A great premise, but not well executed. May 28, Arlene rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The author has given his grandmother the gift of a road trip with him. Although this road trip means driving her to his house and having her stay for a few days, I found it amusing. Clearly there is some degree of being uncomfortable with his grandmother and that fact that the road trip isn't a road trip anymore. He learns a lot about his grandmother he never knew before.

Feb 21, Chris rated it it was amazing.


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Loved this book. Very easy to read. The author learns a lot about himself and his grandmother, and renders his grandmother, through stories and memories, into a delightful lady who would be a lively, easy going addition to any road trip. Oct 22, Magdelanye rated it liked it Shelves: memoirs , disappointing , laughable. Because I was so blown away by his novel, and liked his reading and presence at the writers fest, plus the concept, I did anticipate some fun with this.

I found this one cringeworthy and as lame as his half- hearted attempts to care for someone else's comfort. I sure hope he's bothered to get a new umbrella. Jun 07, Susan Hopkins VanZant rated it really liked it. I loved this book! My dad is 92 like Mr. I love all of Iain' books, and this was another gem. Delightfully told story of a young man's "vacation" with his grandmother, which was supposed to be a road trip, but ended up at his home.

Loved the personalities and the storyline. Oct 29, Trudy Jaskela rated it liked it. A book similar to Tuesdays with Morrie. Grandma, a 92 year of widow spends 5 days with her twenty-some year old grandson at his apartment in Kingston ON. Grandma is interested in the outside world,; the grandson is interested in her.

A serious, yet humorous look at 2 generations. Mar 25, Paige Murphy rated it did not like it. I thought this book was by another Iain Reid.

Like him or not, no one can deny that Trevor Noah has lived a fascinating life.

Sep 27, Lauren rated it really liked it Shelves: book-club. This book was charming! It reminded me of how lucky I am to still have all of my grandparents in my life.



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