Archive for June 27th, 2006

Authors Are A Funny Lot

June 27, 2006


In this morning’s checks of my favorite websites (see links list at right on homepage), I came across two articles on two of my favorite authors…Harper Lee and J.K. Rowling…both creating a little stir today…and both giving me a little bit of headache.

Lee, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill A Mockingbird, has decided to end her 40-year publicity sabbatical to write a letter for Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine and discuss her life as a child in rural Depression-era Alabama.

In her letter to O, Lee, now 80, writes about becoming a reader before first grade and the scarcity of books when she was young. And I was pleased to learn that Harper, like myself, enjoyed Uncle Wiggly stories when she was young.

“Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books.”
–Harper Lee, O Magazine

Lee’s 40-year absence from the spotlight has, no doubt, added to her larger-than-life persona for me. For this reason, I suppose, I’m a little disappointed to see her words printed in such a casual venue as a magazine…even if it’s a magazine run by, basically, the most powerful woman in the nation.

I love Oprah and realize she has the best intentions…having Lee’s words in O instead of some crusty, pompous literary academic journal will be so very much more far reaching. I also realize that Lee has never been one to revel in her success publicly and has never carried the air of what one would think someone so prolific would carry. Still…it’s friggin’ O Magazine.

Rowling, author of the wildly popular Harry Potter series, announced today that in the upcoming seventh and final installment of the Potter series two main characters will die…and one could possibly be the young wizard himself.

I guess I’m torn between the irritation I have for public relations spinning and the respect I have for doing what needs to be done (read: building excitement) to make sure the book sells. I know Rowling is building reader anticipation, but it’s hilarious that she would announce that main characters will die…but then say she won’t name names because she doesn’t want to get hate mail.

“The final chapter is hidden away, although it’s now changed very slightly. One character got a reprieve. But I have to say two die that I didn’t intend to die,” she said. “A price has to be paid. We are dealing with pure evil here. They don’t target extras do they? They go for the main characters. Well, I do.”
–J.K. Rowling, AP

Let me assure you, Ms. Rowling, no matter if you named names or not or if you killed off every character…the fact that this is the last book in the series is cause enough to generate tons of hate mail. I know I’m pissed about this being the last book…and I’m pissed about anyone dying…well, unless it’s Lord Voldemort…or Hagrid (he irritates the crap out of me…he’s so damn obtuse)…ducks in preparation for barrage of shit that will certainly be hurled after last comment.