More About the Author
If I close my eyes and conjure up the past, I can still smell that quintessential library aroma from the Washington Park branch library in my hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri. Although we visited the library year round, we spent more time there each summer with weekly trips and participation in the annual reading program. I learned early in life that summer was a perfect time to enjoy reading, one of my favorite pastimes.
With the hot weather ongoing across Southwest Missouri, this summer has been a time for reading and revisiting some of the classics. I've read and re-read some of my old favorites, everything from Dickens to Thomas Hardy. Since I do much of my reading these days on my Kindle, I soon learned many classic titles can be downloaded for free at Amazon.com and are also available through the Overdrive program, accessible through the Neosho-Newton County Library site. Thanks to that program, I can check out books, new as well as old, on my Kindle, a 21st century twist on visiting the library.
I've still made some stops at the local library and I've also dug through my extensive collection of books to find reading material this summer. Right now, I'm re-reading a long time favorite, a historical novel called You, My Brother. Written by Philip Burton, father of the famous actor Richard Burton, the novel is about William Shakespeare and his brother, Ned, who also became a player in Elizabethan theater. Based on historical fact, the novel depicts a rich backdrop of England and London in the period. I first read it in my teens and I've found re-reading books later in life often brings a deeper and different experience.
While the temperatures soar outside, I've also taken advantage of Netflix to enjoy some classic and favorite films. I suppose it demonstrates my appreciation for the Bard but I've also watched the whimsical movie, Young Shakespeare In Love. While it's not nearly as historically accurate as the Burton novel, it remains a fun movie to watch. I especially enjoyed watching that time period come alive in glorious color on the screen.
I've learned that one of my daughters has watched a number of classic movies but that my other two kids haven't. Thanks to Netflix, which we used to replace mundane cable last year, I've had the opportunity to watch classic films including Breakfast at Tiffany's and Bus Stop.
We've also watched some older movies from the 1980's, movies I find I still enjoy. Everything from On Golden Pond to War Games has been on our entertainment line-up this summer.
One of my favorite classic novels, one I first read at an early age and many times since, is Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. This summer, the release of another novel is making literary headlines and Set A Watchman has become a bestseller for the elderly author. My understanding is that Lee penned this novel first and it was rejected. An editor suggested she write from the viewpoint of a younger Scout, the main character, and so she did. I've long thought that Lee's childhood and lifelong friend, Truman Capote, may have offered some sage advice and editorial suggestions as she created To Kill A Mockingbird. I've read no more than the first chapter of Lee's new release and may not read more. Set A Watchman doesn't really sound like the kind of novel I would enjoy and I fear it might undermine my appreciation for To Kill A Mockingbird. Judging by the first sample chapter I read online, the quality of writing is lacking compared to Lee's classic novel. Only time will tell whether To Kill A Mockingbird stands as a classic and will be revered by new generations or not.
In the meantime, though, I'll be reading a few excellent books and watching some entertaining movies as I wait for cooler days and a return to the routines of autumn. As we all know, it will come sooner than we think.