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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

January 31, 2006

Harper Lee

Thanks to Shorty PJs for the link to this New York Times story about Harper Lee (registration required).

Apart from being the author of one of the most beautiful books ever written, you have to admire Harper Lee for not having written anything else. Why bother? With 10 million copies sold, it's not as if she made no impact; and how could you top perfection? Still inspiring kids, 46 years on.

At a book signing after the ceremony on Friday afternoon, a little girl in a velvet dress approached Ms. Lee with a hardback copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird," announcing that her name was Harper. "Well, that's my name, too," Ms. Lee said. The girl's mother, LaDonnah Roberts, said she had decided to make her daughter Ms. Lee's namesake after her mother-in-law gave her a copy of the book during her pregnancy. Another girl, Catherine Briscoe, 15, one of the essay contest winners, had read the novel six times. She trembled and held her hand to her heart as she spoke of its author: "It was breathtaking to meet the most important person in my life."

When I first read the book, thirty years ago, the idea that you might one day be able to use something like the internet to learn more about the mysterious Harper Lee would have seemed impossible.


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