You guys will have to excuse me; whereas I used to do my best blogging during my lunch hour, my company adopted new internet restrictions and I’m afraid Untamed Shrews did not make the cut. Not to worry, though; only a few things have evolved in my life since my last post, most of them being the completion of a book or two, and I’ll delve into those in a bit. First, however, I’ve got good and bad literary news, both coincidentally dealing with Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
The good news is that Harper Lee has finally agreed to release To Kill a Mockingbird as an e-book. Apparently she is such an old soul that she has, until now, preferred for her novel to be read as God intended: with the dusty, musty paper copy in hand. I hear you loud and clear, Harper darling, and I agree 100%. However (and I intend for this to be a big, fat “however”), times are changing. Technology is taking over the world. Most likely, all contemporary novels are published with full intentions of releasing e-book versions, and if the oldies want to stay relevant they gotta get with the times! And don’t say they shouldn’t! Maybe they don’t need to, but they should! I’ll tell you what, Kindle offers so many classics for free, and that’s a darn good way of levelling the playing field. Publishers are literally giving classics away for free in e-book version just to give them a chance to keep the “competition” lively between oldies and newbies. Books can be re-released, sequels can be written, old editions can be “updated,” but the classics can’t be written for the first time all over again and released to compete in modern-day times. The classics are at a disadvantage since their peak hay-day has more or less passed, so the best way to compete is to make them available in any and all versions. My mother was just noting recently that she can’t remember ever having read To Kill a Mockingbird before, and she was disappointed that it wasn’t even available for her to buy on her Kindle. Well hang in there, Mama. It’s coming!
**Side Note: this article also mentions the beloved J.K. Rowling, as well as George R. R. Martin, so consider it a “must-read.”
The bad news is that, just as soon as we get a glimmer of Harper Lee hope, “the man” tries to bring us right back down to Sad-town. Apparently, Lee’s classic is included in a list of books that are likely to be removed from reading lists for British national exams. The complete story is here, but I’m getting the gist, and I’m not liking said gist. From what I can tell, the British Education Secretary thinks that the curriculum should replace much of the standard American classics with more British ones. The idea is that British students should read more works from natives of their own country, and less from the all-too-influential America. Aside from the disturbingly obvious undertones of Nationalism, removing some of the most influential authors of any other nation in order to increase knowledge of one’s own nation seems counter-productive to the ultimate goal of providing students of literature with an all-encompassing and well-rounded education. Exclusion of an understanding of anything only leads to naivety of that thing, not superiority. In order to grasp the impact of Literature, as a whole, one should never exclude any writer or genre or subject, but especially not an entire country with hugely influential works. People are talking a lot of talk about this subject, so I suggest you get in on the action.
Now, this post just got rather longer than I intended (I’m passionate about my Mockingbird, what can I say?!) and I’ve read that you readers aren’t interested in novel-length blog posts (myself included, certainly), so I’m going to save my review of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places for next time. Thanks, again, for not giving up on us and I’ll get my review out soon!