Monday, July 13, 2015

On Baseball and Harper Lee



It was a full weekend and I came home yesterday evening and crashed before the TV, staying up way too late, watching the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second night in a row beat the Cardinals in extra innings.  It was an exciting game as the Cards scored two runs in the top of the 10th.  The first batter in the bottom of the ten got on base.  Then, with two outs, the Pirates got hot.  Five straight hits.  They tied the game and then went ahead for a 6-5 win.  As they go into the All Star break, the Pirates are playing over .600 ball and are only 2.5 games behind the Cardinals who have the best record in the National League.  I’m glad I stayed and watched the ending of the game!



Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird is being released this week.  I wasn’t offered an advance copy, so what I know about the book is only what others have reported.  There appears to be as an uproar over the fact that Atticus Finch is seen in the new novel which is set in the 1950s as a segregationist.   Some readers are disappointed.  But I wonder if maybe the new novel will flesh out his character more and make him like the rest of us.  No one is perfect.  We certainly have seen many idols shattered.  Think of Bill Cosby, or Bill Clinton (or those who led his impeachment who were later discovered to have skeletons in their own closets).  People who are put on pedestals are often knocked off because none of us can live up to the hype.  Pride goes before the fall, the Good Book tells us…  The Reformed doctrine of Total Depravity plays out as true over and over again.  Even religious leaders who had done great things for their communities are often discovered to have clay feet.  John Calvin did incredible things for those who were refugees in the 16th Century, but did not intervene to save Servetus from the stake.  Martin Luther, who helped kick off the Reformation, was also anti-Semitic, especially in his later writings.   Martin Luther King, Jr, who helped bring needed change to America also had his struggles with infidelity.   Getting back to Atticus, maybe the question to ponder is why he did what is right in To Kill a Mockingbird while harboring racist sentiments.  All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Paul writes, yet as individuals, despite our failures, we can do some amazing and wonderful things.  And that’s to be celebrated! 

54 comments:

  1. And the blues ain't nothin' but a good man feelin' bad. Well said, sir.

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    1. I'll have to remember that quote. Thanks!

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  2. Yes. Nobody is perfect! This book should see some pretty good sales.

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    1. There is definitely a "demand" for books of authors whom we seen so little from but what we've seen is classic

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  3. Heroes with feet of clay! The stuff novels are made of. I'll have to read Go Set the Watchman and see what happens. Thanks for reminding me it was out.

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    1. The train on the cover is drawing me in!

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  4. I don't think I'll be reading this new book by Harper Lee...just to preserve what I know and like about the story and characters. You're absolutely right that no one is perfect. Often when we put someone up on a pedestal as an idol, they always fall off it in some way.

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  5. I don't think I'll be reading this new book by Harper Lee...just to preserve what I know and like about the story and characters. You're absolutely right that no one is perfect. Often when we put someone up on a pedestal as an idol, they always fall off it in some way.

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  6. Pretty much on Luther's orders the Peasants of southern Germany were slaughtered.

    This book of Lee's is the first one. It was rejected numerous times by publishers. To Kill a Mockingbird is the rewrite.
    Frankly I'm not expecting great things.
    On the other hand it may well provide a reasonable true snapshot of a period and the people of that era. And it may well show just how far the South has moved and how far it needs to travel.

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    1. Lots of the comments I've heard have spoken about the work being disjointed--so it probably won't be great.

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  7. Mockingbird is one of my favorite books so I don't know if I'll read Watchman. But the thing is I don't have an issue with Atticus being less than perfect. Given how history progresses, I'm fairly certain even the most liberal and opened-minded individual of this era will seem like a sluggish bore one-hundred years from now.

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  8. thanks for stopping by :)
    Yes A friend suggested the blog name & I think she drove it from the ' great expectations'

    I still have not read the prequel to this book. I know :(

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    1. Well, there's time, it is just coming out. I like your name!

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  9. I think people fall because power seems to always lead to corruption.

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    1. Yep, we have a hard time resisting temptation and will often use unfair advantages for our own benefits.

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  10. There aren't too many characters like Atticus, though. The Lee's choice is an interesting one. She could have written about entirely new characters. She is brave to challenge her audience this way, especially after so long.

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    1. But it appears she wrote this novel before Mocking Bird.

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  11. I never read To Kill a Mockingbird so I probably won't start with this one. I guess I never read it because we never read it in high school and by the time I got out of college with time for free reading, I was into my non-fiction phase which is still going strong. Perhaps one of these days when I read through my pile of books, I will start reading fiction again and go back to read some of these supposed classics.

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    1. I don't think I will ever get through all the books I want to read that are non-fiction or fiction (or poetry). Cheers!

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  12. Don't expect I'll read Watchman right away. Eventually I probably will. From what I understand, this book was written before Mockinbird, and was essentially rewritten into Mockingbird

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    1. I don't think I will either, despite the fact the cover (with the train) seems to call my name

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  13. Amen to your argument, Sage. Plus, it's a different world. Of course, Atticus (and Harper Lee) were influenced by the times. We all are. Plus, why should this make a masterpiece or two any less of a masterpiece? Why must the world look for controversy in a classic, when the author is long gone? $ is the bottom line. Sales are likely sky-high. I never heard of Watchman until these days.

    Be well, Sage.

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    1. Yes, we are all influenced by our times, but it is the ability to rise above that and do what is right that makes Atticus so appealing

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  14. Your take on the book and the struggles of great men (and women) is refreshing - society likes to focus on one "flaw" and beat it to death. That path ignores the fact that everyone has a flaw! We need to look at what they offer in the positive column, rather than the negative.

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  15. No one is perfect indeed and that title should be a good read.

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  16. I still wonder if Harper Lee really wanted this book published - it all seems very fuzzy. I actually bought the book - one of those preorder things on Amazon. Should be in my mailbox this week. I'm not as keen to read it now, but will reserve judgement until I do, I guess.

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    1. I certainly wouldn't want my first drafts (or early attempts at writing) published!

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  17. It's a shame if she did muddy the perception of a beloved character. If so, it will end up being a book that would have been better off staying hidden away.

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    1. But it might give some insight into how the character developed?

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  18. I have mixed feelings on the new book. Why has she waited so long to release it? There is quite an uproar around here (not sure if it's national, it may be just because she's from Alabama) about whether her lawyer/executor pushed for the release in order to profit from it. However, I've little doubt the writing will be phenomenal.

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    1. As they say in politics, follow the money!

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  19. Oh, and from what I understand, Sage, "Go Set a Watchman" was actually written before "To Kill a Mockingbird." I've read that after reading "Watchman," Ms. Lee's agent at the time suggested she write a book from the point of view of Scout as a child.

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  20. *meh* baseball--if you're a fan. I leave the sports up to the wife, Jeff. haven't been to a baseball game since before they tore down Michigan and Trumbell.

    If the sequel of To Kill A Mockingbird comes out with a less humane Atticus, a man of his present times, I think the tale will turn on the grown up attitudes of Scout and Jeb. do they accept or reject all of the life lessons taught in TKAM?

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    1. Baseball helps me relax! The TIger's new stadium is a nice place to watch a ballgame--I just wish the tickets weren't so much.

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  21. I plan on reading Lee's book, but not right away. I loved Atticus and don't know how I feel about reading something that would change my mind about him.

    Thank you for your recent comment. 52 in my novel is how many likes the MC receives on social media messages, which ties into a surprise later on about what the number really stands for.

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    1. Good luck with your novel, Medeia! I'm seeing lots of promotion for it on the web.

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  22. I will soon start reading this book... thanks for sharing :)

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    1. You'll have to let us know what you think

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  23. I don't think I'm going to read Watchman, not because i wouldn't want to see Atticus Finch change (that would be interesting and probably realistic) but because I get the impression that Harper Lee didn't want this book to be published and was pressurised to change her mind. And I want to respect her earlier judgement on that.

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    1. That's an honorable reason for not reading the book.

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    2. though having just read that it may actually be a first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, my writerly curiosity may push me into reading it, being fascinated by the drafting process...

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  24. agreed! I don't plan on reading this one, just b/c I have such limited time as is, and when I have time I need to write or read TBR YA, but I have heard so many times that Go Set a Watchmen is more like a first draft than a finished copy.

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    1. Time waits for no one... It's too bad there is so little time and so many books to read (rivers to paddle, seas to sail, mountains to climb, food to try, naps to take)! :)

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  25. The thing that gets me, is that Go Set a Watchman was written before To Kill a Mockingbird, but set after and yet Atticus showed no sentiments that he was racist in TKAM... so what changes between Scout's youth and her adulthood in the new book? I've been against reading it (because Harper Lee isn't in the proper state to give people permission to publish this book - it seemed very coerced) but maybe I'll borrow it from someone to find out..

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  26. As a Yankees fan it worries me that the Cards are red-hot this year. They might want to wrest that crown from the Giants. I trust Joe and his boys will go on to win the championship (I've always refused to call it World Series on principle :-D) for the 28th time. :-)

    Guess what? Never read "To Kill a Mockingbird". Only saw the movie. So, I might, just might think of getting Go Set a Watchman and get To Kill... in order to read them together,

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Yes, the Cards are red-hot and the Pirates just can't catch them (but if they were in any other division, they'd be in first place). It looks as if they'll have to get into the playoffs via a wild card slot.

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  27. I'm not a big sports fan. I don't think I've ever watched an entire baseball game.

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    1. Live baseball is something to experience, Mary. Does Vegas still have a minor league team? Only problem is that it would be so hot watching the game.

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  28. I find interesting this sequell of To kill a Mockingbird and heard is really different.
    but it curious think was writen before to kill a Mockingbird...

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