The show must go on! The eve of Go Set a Watchman's release is here, and even more bookstores have festivities planned for today and tomorrow (see previous announcements here and here).
Books-A-Million is offering an exclusive bundle of Harper Lee bookmarks and bookplates with copies of To Kill a Mockingbird and Watchman called "The Collection" for $45. The bundle also includes a guide to the roots of literature in Lee's home state, Alabama. Some Books-A-Million locations will open at midnight tonight, with free 16 oz. drinks from BAM's Joe Muggs cafes available until 1 a.m.
BAM and AL.com are also organizing a series of three literary community events tomorrow in Birmingham, July 15 in Huntsville, and July 16 in Mobile, Ala., from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The events, called the "The Next Chapter," bring community leaders and authors, including Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin, together for live readings and discussions.
"I know what Harper Lee and her books' themes mean to the state of Alabama," said Terence Finley, president and CEO of Books-A-Million. "Having the opportunity to be a part of such an important discussion on what these themes represent for the next generation of Alabamians is a privilege."
|Waterstones cafes in the U.K. will be serving coffee in themed cups
In addition to Barnes & Noble's previously announced all-day Mockingbird read-a-thon today, all locations will open early tomorrow at 7 a.m. From 7 to 10 a.m., Watchman buyers will receive a free tall hot coffee from B&N's cafe. Sessalee Hensley, B&N's book buyer, said, "This is the most exciting publishing event in my 40 years of bookselling--I never thought there was a chance of there being anything else from Harper Lee. Scout is one of the most enduring characters in 20th century literature, curious and honest to the core, and I can't wait to see how she has grown into a young woman."
"Everyone at Barnes & Noble is excited for the launch of Go Set a Watchman, which we expect to be the number one book when it's released on July 14 and one of our top-selling books this year and beyond," said Mary Amicucci, B&N vice-president, adult trade and children's books. "There's a built-in audience for Go Set a Watchman because To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most widely read backlist books we have, with sales doubling at Barnes & Noble this year alone.
Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, Mass., opens at 11 p.m. tonight for the midnight release of Watchman. Morning people needn't envy the night owls--Titcomb's reopens at 7 a.m. with coffee and muffins.
Titcomb's shares a surprising connection with Harper Lee: Tom Hallock of Beacon Press, friend of the store, is the great nephew of Harper Lee's original editor at Lippincott, Tay Hohoff, whose guidance helped create To Kill a Mockingbird out of Go Set a Watchman. (The New York Times has a long story today about Hohoff titled "Invisible Hand That Nurtured an Author and a Literary Classic.") "Every visit 'she brought me everything Lippincott had published since our last visit that could conceivably be of interest to an 8 or 10 year old boy," said Hallock, according to Titcomb's newsletter. "This sense of bounty, and of a life that was so different than any I'd known in suburban New Jersey intrigued me. I wonder now if these visits didn't give me the first taste of the life in books I would eventually choose for myself."
BookShop West Portal, San Francisco, Calif., hosts a dramatic reading of Mockingbird tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. by local performance ensemble Word for Word.
The Bookworm, Omaha, Neb., hosts a series of three "pop-up book discussions," beginning with a look at Mockingbird tonight at 6:30 p.m. Watchman will be discussed Monday, August 8 at 6:30 p.m., and Harper Lee herself is the topic of a final meeting on September 14, also at 6:30 p.m. All ages are welcome and no reservation is necessary.
Watermark Books and Cafe, Wichita, Kan., plans a bookseller-led Mockingbird discussion tomorrow at 7 p.m. From July 14-18, the Cafe features a Maycomb Menu, offering a Scout Special ham sandwich with a choice of Boo Radley blackberry cream soda or a slice of Lane Cake. Maycomb Menu purchasers receive 10% the cover price of Watchman. Readers can also share clips of their favorite Mockingbird passages on Instagram using the #GoSetAWatchman and #readICT hashtags with @watermarkbooksandcafe.
Rakestraw Books, Danville, Calif., celebrates Watchman's release with a party on Friday, July 17, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person, limited to four per household, available in store or over the phone. Ticket costs cover a copy of Watchman, "snazzy hors d'oeuvres" served during a screening of the Mockingbird film, and a chance to win a 35th anniversary copy of Mockingbird signed by Harper Lee (valued at $1,200), to benefit the Friends of the Danville Library.
Square Books, Oxford Miss., held a marathon reading of Mockingbird last Saturday, July 11. Today at 5:30 p.m., the Lafayette County & Oxford Public Library will show the Mockingbird film. Square Books opens at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow with complimentary coffee and donuts in its cafe.
Books & Books hosts a free screening of Mockingbird at the Coral Gables Art Cinema tomorrow at 1 p.m., followed by a "Southern Supper" at the Books & Books location across the street. Copies of Watchman ordered in advance or purchased tomorrow are 20% off the cover price at any of Books & Books' South Florida locations.
Doylestown Bookshop, Doylestown, Pa., and County Theater will screen Mockingbird tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. A copy of Watchman is included with each ticket. --Tobias Mutter