Harper Lee

Go Set A Watchman

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Novel Ideas returns with a rare venture into the topical, reading Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee, the very hyped “sequel” to To Kill A Mockingbird. In this episode, we discuss why the word “sequel” might by appropriately contained within quotation marks, the murky ethics of this book’s publication, racism, and (of course) feminism. We also talk about whether this story takes place in a closely parallel alternate universe, shoddy research standards, how to get someone’s attention without backhanding them, and Ben’s utter lack of interest in Hank. And for a special bonus, we get at least two good Gabs rampages.

The sound quality is a little odd this week as I tried to use a more sensitive recording set up, but forgot to kill the fan in the background. Our voices are clearly audible, but the background is white noise city. My apologies. -Ben

The music bump this week is “I Wanna Go Back to Dixie” by Tom Lehrer, a satirical take on songs that glorify the south and things commonly associated with the south.

96 – Go Set A Watchman – Everyone Is People

Our Ratings:

Ben: 5/10. The flaws in the writing and Atticus’s heel turn bother me less than the fact that if TKAM didn’t exist, this book wouldn’t stand up for ten seconds under its own merit.

Gabs: 4/10. Didn’t hate it, but it was too unpolished. Also annoyed that a book dealing with racial issues only had black people in one scene.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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After a two week hiatus, Novel Ideas is back with To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This book is another one of those that most of you probably had to read in school. For us, this was one of the assigned readings that we actually enjoyed, and we were reminded of that on the re-read. We discuss the big issues, like feminism and racism, mostly without embarrassing ourselves. Mostly. We also discuss the smaller issues, like who makes the best cakes in Maycomb, why everybody loves tomboys, and whether Atticus Finch gets to claim the title of “Literary Father of the Year.”

The music bump is “Fables of Faubus” by Charles Mingus, written to poke fun at Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas when he called out the National Guard to prevent Little Rock Central High School from being integrated in 1957.

24 – To Kill a Mockingbird – All Racism, All the Time

Note: We neglected to mention it on the podcast this week, but banned book week is coming up at the end of the month. Our next few books have all been banned or challenged in various places for various reasons. Celebrate with us by reading something controversial!