Go Set a Watchman



shannon-chatI just finished re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time since…high school, I think. I might have read it once more since then, but it’s definitely been at least ten years. One of the things that stood out to me right away was how self-assured and even feminist Scout’s voice is.

For some reason, I feel like I remember the Boo storyline much more than Tom Robinson’s. I’m not sure if it’s because it was more interesting to me at the time I read it or if the white suburban high school I went to didn’t really want to tackle race.
jennifer-chatI re-read To Kill a Mockingbird last year so I didn’t feel the need to re-read again so soon. Scout is the perfect narrator in my eyes. She’s my benchmark, the ultimate literary character that I hold all other characters up to.
april-chatScout’s voice is amazing and underrated as one of the feminists in our literary canon.

I read To Kill a Mockingbird for the very first time about six months before I started law school (I knew I was about to start law school). I somehow missed out on it during the high school required reading circuit and the impact that it had on me at that time was immeasurable.

I read it for the second time right as I was about the graduate law school (about three years later) and while it read differently for me, it was still quite powerful. Now as I read it for a third time, working as a prosecutor (the opposite job that Atticus Finch does) it means something different again for me, but still incredibly important.
monika-chatLike April, I missed out on this during high school. I read it for the first time last October and was blown away. It’s stuck with me so vividly, I don’t feel the need for a re-read before Watchman is released, but I loved it enough that I’m sure it will be read again and again throughout my life (and re-reads are rare for me!).
shannon-chatThe first chapter of Go Set a Watchman was released last week and made me realize something I hadn’t thought too much about.

There is going to be endless criticism of this book. Not just reviews, but sentence-by-sentence think pieces, rants and raves, etc. and it started on Twitter the moment that chapter was released. I couldn’t even enjoy reading it because my feed was cluttered with the thoughts of so many people. I know how the internet works, so I realize I don’t have to have Twitter open…I just wish things like this didn’t have to be analyzed on the spot. We have plans to discuss the book here on The Socratic Salon next month—so, hey irony!—but I can’t help wishing I could read it in a  bubble.
monika-chatIt’d be easier to be read in a bubble if places like the New York Times didn’t put spoilers IN THE TITLE of their review, which means it’s also part of the link (we’ll still link up in case you’re interested). Was I the only one who felt like that was a jerk move? To me, that felt like a huge spoiler.

I don’t think I’m even going to read the first chapter beforehand. I just want to read the book in its entirety, like it was any other book. (Although I don’t remember the last time I was nervous about a book release!)
shannon-chatI know there’s kind of this backlash against spoiler warnings right now and a sense that they’re unnecessary, especially when it comes to TV and Twitter (which I actually understand—television shows are at most an hour long), but I feel like books are different. I don’t know why common courtesy seems to be out the window with this one. It’s just frustrating to think that someone who doesn’t grab the book tomorrow and immediately sit down to read will likely walk into a minefield of analysis by the end of the day. I hope I’m wrong.

boy meets world
april-chat[claps hands over ears] I didn’t see the article and I’m not going to. I’m going to be on radio silence until I finish Watchman, so sorry, darlings. The good news is that I should finish it quickly. I decided to re-read To Kill a Mockingbird Sunday and I finished it that day. I’m going to ignore all the shennanigans until I finish the book. Wishful thinking?
jennifer-chatI’m wishfully thinking right beside you. I’d really like to read, and hopefully enjoy, Go Set a Watchman on its own. I don’t want everyone’s Twitter commentary in my head. I don’t want the usual suspects to parse every word for me. I’m nervous enough about this book without hearing everyone’s thoughts, criticisms, and opinions in my head. This is one of those times that I regret social media’s existence. Call me a Luddite. I won’t mind.

Yes, we will eventually discuss Go Set a Watchman here on The Socratic Salon. Hopefully you’ll be able to read the book on your own, instead of through spoilers on Twitter.


How are you feeling about all of this, readers? Have you re-read To Kill a Mockingbird? What stood out to you? Do you plan to read Go Set a Watchman? What are your expectations?