Local booksellers prepare for new Harper Lee novel

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT) — A revival for one of America’s most impactful books is coming soon, and local booksellers are enthusiastically preparing.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” has strong ties to Alabama, which expand beyond its covers.

Tuesday, the world learned that its author, Harper Lee, will release her first book since “Mockingbird” was published more than 50 years ago.

The new novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” is planned to hit bookshelves in July.

The story follows “mockingbird’s” child narrator, Scout, as a grown woman in New York City. She returns to her hometown of Maycomb to visit her father, Atticus Finch. The tale is set in the 1950’s, the dawn of the American Civil Rights movement.

“Folks identify Maycomb with Monroeville, Alabama, and us with Harper Lee,” said Jake Reiss, owner of Alabama Booksmith in Homewood. “Literally from around the world, I got emails from Germany and Lithuania.”

Reiss only sells books signed by their authors in his store. He currently has two signed copies of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” one of which is valued at $1,485.

Reiss, who shares mutual friends with the 88-year-old Lee, says he doubts Lee will sign copies of “Go Set a Watchman,” due to her declining health, but he still looks forward to selling the book.

“We’re working with the publishing house, hoping to get some sort of very special edition,” he said.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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