Manny P. here…
More than 7,000 copies of Harper Lee’s new novel Go Set a Watchman are headed to Madrie’s Ol’ Curiosities & Book Shoppe, located in a converted three-bedroom house near the courthouse square in Monroeville, Alabama. The owner had to buy a new building across the street just to store all the books, many of which he will ship to online purchasers. It’s doubtful people anywhere care more than the town of 6,300, and the model for Scout Finch’s hometown of Maycomb in both books.
Madrie expects to get his first shipment of 4,000 books in an 18-wheeler on Monday, and the store will open at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday to begin selling books at the first moment allowed by the publisher. Each novel sold by Madrie’s shop will come with an embossed emblem and a certificate showing it was purchased in Lee’s hometown. Madrie has strung lights across the store’s front lawn for an early-morning shindig and is bringing in an Atticus Finch impersonator who also sings Dean Martin songs on the side. Madrie hopes to close around 2 a.m. before reopening the shop a few hours later for more sales, but he isn’t counting on it.
A couple blocks away, volunteers will begin public readings at 7a Tuesday of Go Set a Watchman in the old county courtroom, a childhood hangout for Lee, and a model for the court in the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird. Walking tours will be conducted around town pointing out sites mentioned in both books.
There will also be talks, refreshments, an evening cocktail hour with mint juleps and story-telling at the public library, which was a hotel 55 years ago when actor Gregory Peck came to town with his wife to get a feel for his character in the movie, Atticus Finch, who was based on Harper’s father, the late A.C. Lee.
Scout has a boyfriend named Hank in the new novel, Atticus struggles with his own racist beliefs, and her older brother Jem is dead, according to an excerpt released Friday by the publisher. As in To Kill a Mockingbird, the new book parallels parts of Lee’s life. The author lives in an assisted living home just a few miles from downtown.
Until next time> “never forget”