Harper Lee On Book Introductions

President George W. Bush awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author Harper Lee during a ceremony Monday, Nov. 5, 2007, in the East Room.

This summer I decidedly drove to Northern California to spend some time with my family and simultaneously tutor my younger sister. Surprisingly, my sister has been excited about studying at home and continues to show eagerness in most of her subjects.

When I arrived, my mother handed me an impressive copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. It is a Barnes and Noble hardcover classic edition with olive and violet images pressed into the leather-like texture with silhouettes of Atticus, Scout, and Jem.

It’s been quite some time since I last read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and it has been a reanimating experience while I annotate and rediscover all the details that make this novel an all-time classic.

While I spend my time rejoicing in my revisit of the novel, there is something in this edition that I have never noticed in my prior experience. Before the first chapter begins, there is a foreword which states:

Please spare Mockingbird an Introduction. As a reader I loathe Introductions. To novels, I associate Introductions with long-gone authors and works that are being brought back into prints after decades of interment. Although Mockingbird will be 35 this year, it has never been out of print and I am still alive, although very quiet. Introductions inhibit pleasure, they kill the joy of anticipation, they frustrate curiosity. They only good thing about introductions is that in some cases they delay the dose to come. Mockingbird still says what it has to say; it has managed to survive the years without preamble.
Harper Lee, February 12, 1993


Literary Paraphernalia: Belligerent T-Shirts for the Timid Bookworm

There aren’t many things that I hate in the world. Sometimes, I’d like to think of myself as a peaceful, serene, all-loving, and tree-hugging kind of person. However, the reality is that there are numerous things that will set me off into mini-Hulk mode. One being:

I absolutely hate being interrupted while reading.

It isn’t often that I am abruptly stopped in the middle of a reading experience. For the most part, I don’t mind being interrupted if it’s an obligatory, academic reading that I’m already dragging myself through in the first place. But if I’m entirely enraptured in reading a leisure book with my brow scrunched, possibly laughing to myself, or showing signs of water-brimmed eyes—clearly enthralled by my good read—then a person should, by all means, leave me be.

The few times I have been interrupted usually fall under the following circumstances: 1) Someone had a legitimate question that needed to be answered promptly 2) Someone has tried to sell me something  3) Someone thought it was a good time to talk to me about God 4) Someone just wanted to talk because they had nothing else to do.

Here’s the thing though: I’m what some people might call “timid.” I’m not nearly as vocal as I should be when it comes to speaking out against intrusive irritants. So, if one were to interrupt me during my leisurely reading hour(s), then it is no surprise that I react by using body language. Most of the time, I put down the book and shoot daggers with my eyes while attempting to transmit telepathic signals that equate to “Fuck. Off.”

In any case, if you similarly hate disruptive people with nothing better to do than shatter literary climatic moments for readers, then here are a few t-shirts from Look Human and SKREENED that can help address the problem: