Listen to the Mockingbird!

Before her new book's out, hear Harper Lee's first read aloud

Listen to the Mockingbird!

On Tuesday, the world will be able to learn what became of Scout Finch and her father, Atticus, as Harper Lee's novel Go Set a Watchman, set two decades after the author's much beloved To Kill a Mockingbird, is released by HarperCollins.

Early reviews and the first chapter's online posting have incited some controversy – mostly regarding the novel's depiction of Scout's papa as far from the saintly figure of the book that made Lee's reputation.

How much that might dampen some of the enthusiasm for this new old novel – it takes place 20 years after the events of Mockingbird, but Lee actually penned Watchman before the other book – is hard to anticipate, but it may boost interest in some of the activities taking place in bookstores today. For instance, the Barnes & Noble chain is using the day prior to Watchman's release as an opportunity to celebrate Mockingbird. Each of its stores is hosting a marathon public reading of To Kill a Mockingbird, with members of the community taking turns at passages. Garland Frey-Gardner, Community Business Development Manager at the Arboretum location, has scheduled several librarians from the Austin Independent School District to take part and was hoping to have some board members participate as well. Staff members will read, and customers will also have the chance to join in. Frey-Gardner reports that one customer who signed up will be reading from his own Braille copy.

The readings began at 9am at all locations and will continue throughout the day.

Each location will open at 7am on Tuesday, July 14, in connection with Go Set a Watchman's release.

For more information, contact the following:

Barnes & Noble Arboretum 10,000 Research, #158, Austin 512/418-8985

Barnes & Noble Sunset Valley 5601 Brodie, #300, Austin 512/892-3493

Barnes & Noble Homestead 14010 US Hwy 183, Austin 512/249-5644

Barnes & Noble La Frontera 2701 Parker RD, A-700, Round Rock 512/600-0088

Barnes & Noble Hill Country Galleria 12701 Hill Country Blvd., #0-140, Bee Caves 512/263-7504

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To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee, Barnes & Noble

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