'Go Set a Watchman'- Opposing Viewpoints

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'Go Set a Watchman'- Opposing Viewpoints

Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee’s long-awaited second (but technically first) novel is one of the most talked-about books of the summer. It’s also one of the most controversial.

For some reason, if you are a reader, you are required to have an opinion on it (even if you haven’t read it.) Don’t worry. DC Public Library can help.

We lay out two opposing viewpoints for you, with further reading and talking points to use as cocktail party ammunition.    

Opinion 1:
"For various reasons, the book should never have been published."

People who have your back:    Further reading: Another book that the author did not want published:
  • The Original of Laura (Dying is Fun) by Vladimir Nabokov: Vladimir Nabokov wanted this book destroyed after his death. Instead, his estate decided to publish it. It was not received well. A good example of why the author’s instincts should be trusted.
Opinion 2:
"I liked it. It tackles some important issues that we are dealing with today in this country. People just couldn't deal with the points Harper Lee was talking about when she first wrote the book back in 1957."

People who have your back: Further reading:
  • Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: The other most talked about book of the summer, and one that might have more to say about race today than the one written 58 years ago.
Another author did not want these books published:
  • The TrialThe CastleAmerika by Franz Kafka: Kafka didn’t want any of these books published. They are now considered classics. Even if Lee didn’t want Watchman published, sometimes the author doesn’t appreciate his or her own work.  
Of course, you might want to read something from the opposing list too. As the original Atticus says in To Kill a Mockingbird:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

You can ignore those people who say that Truman Capote secretly ghostwrote To Kill a Mockingbird, though. Their point of view is uninteresting.