Happy Birthday, Harper Lee!

The Long Goodbye

The Long Goodbye
On this day in 1926, Nelle Harper Lee was born. She was the youngest of four children born to Frances Cunningham Finch and Amasa Coleman Lee. Had she not passed away in February of last year, Ms. Lee would be ninety-one years old today.

I was almost at a loss for words when it came time to write a birthday tribute to “Nelle” Harper Lee. What more could possibly be said about an award winning, nationally treasured author? This task was almost like searching for a gift for the person that has everything.

Very rarely does an author’s debut novel not only almost instantly become successful, but also go on to become a literary classic. Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird accomplished both of those feats. To Kill a Mockingbird was later adapted into a film version starring Gregory Peck, and the novel won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize in the fiction category.

For more than half a century, it was believed by most that To Kill a Mockingbird was and would continue to be the only book that Lee ever wrote or published. However, in 2015, Lee surprised us with her second novel, Go Set a Watchman, which actually turned out to be a prequel to Mockingbird.

Across the globe, To Kill a Mockingbird still has an impact on people’s lives. The classic novel is mentioned or quoted in numerous novels, television shows and movies. Even President Barack Obama quoted Atticus Finch in his farewell speech.

Furthermore, the legacy of Nelle Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird have lived on in Monroeville, even after her death. There are few places you can visit, or even drive past, without a subtle reminder of Mockingbird, or Nelle herself.

And on her birthday, perhaps that is what is best. For us to simply be reminded of her. Divulge yourself in a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird or Go Set a Watchman. Not a big reader? Perhaps you would rather watch the film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. If you’re a fan of audio books, maybe you would like to listen to either the audio version of To Kill a Mockingbird (narrated by Sissy Spacek) or Go Set a Watchman (narrated by Reese Witherspoon). If you are able, go see a live theatrical performance of To Kill a Mockingbird. If you are local or happen to be in Monroeville, visit the Old Courthouse or take a drive or stroll through downtown.

While it may be her birthday, we were the ones who were given a gift. We have a legacy to remember her by, and to pass on to the next generation. Nelle Harper Lee was once quoted as saying that all she wanted was “to be the Jane Austen of South Alabama.

As a native of Alabama and Monroeville, and as a fan of both To Kill a Mockingbird and Jane Austen, I think it is safe to say that Ms. Lee succeeded.

So, we at OCBS ask that you remember and celebrate Ms. Lee on her birthday. She may have passed, but she is most certainly not forgotten.

Happy Birthday, Nelle Harper Lee!

The Ultimate Book Giveaway

Ultimate Book Giveaway Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Alright, so last year we had an amazing time getting ready for the Go Set a Watchman book release  on July 14th. Well, this year we would like to do something else big to give back to our loyal followers. So we have decided to give away a signed Go Set a Watchman Special Edition!

How you can win the Ultimate Book Giveaway

All we want you to do is sign up for our newsletter and like us on Facebook and share this on Facebook and on July 14th of this year we will give away a signed copy of Go Set a Watchman. It really is the Ultimate Book Giveaway! These are very limited and worth upwards of $2,000 so this giveaway is going to be pretty sweet for the lucky winner, but that’s not all…  You see, I am a goal setter and I want our little book store to grow just like anyone wants their small business to grow. So, on top of the Go Set a Watchman giveaway we are going to give away a signed copy of To Kill a Mockingbird! That’s another $2,500 prize to a different winner. The books will be given to two separate people and all we want from  you is your help in getting the word out.

The Ultimate Book Giveaway: Our Goal

Now, the To Kill a Mockingbird giveaway comes with reaching a goal of  100k people subscribing to our newsletter, and 100k people liking us on Facebook. Now, I know this will be an easy task and we might do other giveaways if you blow it out of the water– so share this post with all your friends and family and don’t forget to join our newsletter by going to ocbookshoppe.com and signing up!

Also, please remember that we are a full service book store and if you cannot find something you’re looking for on our website, you can always give us a call and we can get it for you. If you do not have a local book store, we would love to be your local store no matter where you’re located. Our Shoppe is very small and each and everyone of our customers make a huge impact in our small community. Your orders from us have a very personal impact on our lives and the lives of our employees. You make a difference shopping with us and we appreciate you guys more than you can imagine.

Why the Ultimate Book Giveaway Means so much to us

When Go Set a Watchman came out last year, a lot of people thought we were a corporate-sized store with unlimited resources because we sold over 10,000 copies. The world soon found out the Book Shoppe is actually a 2,000 square foot house and each package was hand wrapped, stamped, and processed. We learned lot and we experienced some very real growing pains as a small business, but it was worth every moment.  Of course, it’s our desire to continue to serve you guys–to really be your hometown bookstore. So visit us online, in the store, or call us and let us know how we can help you today.

Black Belt Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Luncheon


On January 29th, 2016 a luncheon was held inducting two new members into the Black Belt Hall of Fame. The luncheon was held at the Bell Conference Center at The University of West Alabama, located in Livingston, Alabama. The purpose of the Black Belt Hall of Fame is to bring recognition to and honor individuals who are associated with the Black Belt region and have had an influential impact on the region, State, nation, and the world through their contributions of art, business, education, industry, medicine, politics and science.

The 2016 honorees were Dr. Wayne Flynt and Nelle Harper Lee. Dr. Flynt and his family were there for his induction, and a small group of family and friends of Ms. Lee were there to accept the induction on her behalf, since she was not able to attend.

The Luncheon

The luncheon began with a welcome from Dr. Tim Edwards, provost of The University of West Alabama, followed by an invocation led by local minister, Rev. Barrett Abernethy from the First Presbyterian Church of Livingston. Then a buffet style lunch was served. As lunch was winding down, Ms. Amy Christiansen, archivist at The University of West Alabama presented the 2016 inductees.

Dr. Wayne Flynt

Dr. Wayne Flynt was born on October 4, 1940 in Pontotoc, Mississippi. He attended Howard College and received both an MS and PhD from Florida State University. He taught at Samford University for twelve years and then became a member of the faculty of Auburn University. He has been an instructor there for twenty-eight years and has become a distinguished Professor Emeritus. Dr. Flynt has written and co-authored twelve books, including Dixie’s Forgotten People, Alabama Baptists, Alabama in the Twentieth Century and a personal memoir entitled Keeping the Faith. Dr. Flynt was the first editor for the Encyclopedia of Alabama, which is an online publication. He has received numerous awards, including: the Lillian Smith Book Award, the Clarence Cason Book Award, the Clarence Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing, two Alabama Literary Association awards, two James F. Sulzby awards, the Judson-Rice Award and an induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor.

Dr. Flynt’s induction was introduced by Nancy Anderson, retired English professor at Auburn University at Montgomery, and long time friend of Flynt. Then Dr. Flynt gave his speech, and his induction plaque was unveiled by Ms. Christiansen.

Dr. Wayne Flynt, and OCBS employee Kristen Chandler

Nelle Harper Lee

Nelle Harper Lee was born in Monroeville, Alabama on April 28, 1926. She has had a huge literary impact on Alabama, America and the world. She attended Huntingdon College and the University of Alabama. Lee then moved from Alabama to New York to pursue her writing career. It was in New York that she wrote and later in 1960, published her literary treasure, To Kill A Mockingbird. Lee received a Pulitzer Prize for her debut novel and it has sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Lee also wrote Go Set A Watchman in 1956, but it was not published until 2015. Watchman was at one time intended to be the first novel in a trilogy. She has also written several short stories and essays, including “Christmas to Me.” Ms. Lee’s awards include the Presidential Award of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts.

Dr. Wayne Flynt, fellow inductee and long time friend of Ms. Lee, introduced the induction of Lee. At the time of this luncheon, Ms. Lee was still alive but unable to attend an event so far from home. Ms. Lee’s nephew, Herschel H. “Hank” Lee made the induction speech in Lee’s honor, telling not only of her great achievements but memories he had of Nelle and Alice, from his own childhood. Ms. Lee’s plaque was then unveiled.

Friends and family of Nelle Harper Lee with her plaque
The induction plaque for the 2016 induction of Nelle Harper Lee into the Black Belt Hall of Fame

Dr. Tina Naremore Jones, Executive Director of The Division of Economic Development and Outreach gave the closing remarks. Dr. Flynt had a table set up with his books, available for purchase, after the luncheon. Ol’ Curiosities and Book Shoppe was honored to be asked to have a table selling various editions of To Kill A Mockingbird and Go Set A Watchman on behalf of Ms. Lee.

Did you attend the Black Belt Hall of Fame luncheon? Do you know anyone that has been previously inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame? We would love to hear your thoughts!


Go Set a Watchman: Going Home Again

Go Set a Watchman: Going Home Again

Woman and vintage suitcase on railway roadSequels, prequels, continuing series…whenever a book, movie, or television show finds success, there are always people clamoring for more. While some believe the original work stands alone– and it often does–it’s undeniable that others enjoy returning to the same characters as they embark on new journeys. Fans plead with creators for one more chapter, one more story, one more look. A well-told tale creates an emotional connection with its characters, and one of the pleasures of revisiting them in new contexts is learning new    details, seeing how their behavior changes (or doesn’t), and reacting to these changes based on your prior understanding of those characters.

Go Set a Watchman:  The Ultimate Sequel

Go Set a Watchman was anticipated with such fervor precisely because it would deliver what fans never thought possible: a chance to go to Maycomb again, to see what Scout and Atticus were up to, and to live another experience in the town many readers cherish as a slice of their own childhoods. While a considerable amount of press has been devoted to the behavior of Atticus Finch, the connection that many felt most in the new novel was its insight into Scout, now an adult of 26 and going by her given name, Jean Louise.

Go Set a Watchman: Scout Remembered

She is both the precocious girl we remember, with her comedic, mischievous edge, but Scout also a slightly troubled adult, caught between the world of New York and her childhood home. As I read the opening chapters, covering Jean Louise’s arrival via train and first evening in Maycomb, I was reminded of the first time I returned home from college. I had never been away for more than a few days, and only four months later, nothing had changed, yet everything felt different. My mind had been taken from this place and deposited elsewhere, and for the first time I could see my hometown as an outsider might.

Go Set a Watchman: Drawing Parallels

As I was still tender toward my home’s creature comforts, and I loved the spirit of Jean Louise and her boyfriend Henry’s late night swim– running around the way young people do– but now old enough to go beyond the front yard to do it. I also remember being more assertive about what I disliked at home and why, so I understood Jean Louise’s feelings about Maycomb and being stuck in the past, even when her attitude goes beyond wry and becomes rude and confrontational. It’s a common struggle new adults have: the desire to reject their pasts, but does must it mean rejecting loved ones as well? Immersed in an environment guided by family for so long, we grow up believing what we know, and then adulthood comes with its own Catch-22, as we’re challenged with new experiences and the old ones become their own challenge to confront!

The conflicts can be very serious. Jean Louise discovered a life in New York that just didn’t mesh with what she found on her latest visit home, and Jean Louise’s relationship with her family explodes because of it. While their conflicts reflect an understanding of race relations very specific to their time and place, the idea of a family in conflict over a break in values is universal. The question is: Does Jean Louise behave the way fans would expect based on what we know of the 6 year-old Scout we have loved for years? I believe she does. Jean Louise continues to grow, learn, and adapt to these changes in her thinking, while maintaining the willful, independent qualities readers remember from To Kill a Mockingbird. For anyone who wonders what Scout would be like, Harper Lee gracefully lets readers see how her classic “juvenile desperado, hell-raiser extraordinary” takes on one of the toughest challenges anyone can face: her own family.

Signed Edition of Go Set a Watchman: The Unboxing

Signed Edition of Go Set a Watchman

Signed Edition of Go Set a WatchmanThere have been few things more exciting in the literary world than the release of Harper Lee’s second book, Go Set a Watchman.  Book lovers everywhere speculated as to the contents of the new work and sought out the book as it appeared online and on bookstore shelves.  They immersed themselves in the story as soon as it was available, posting their opinions online and talking about the book around the water cooler at work.  It was big news, and readers all over the world were excited.

More exciting news about the signed edition of Go Set a Watchman

Then, perhaps even more exciting news was shared: There were a very limited number of Signed Editions of Go Set a Watchman.  These books, each hand-signed by Harper Lee were just in time for the holiday season. 500 copies have been made available–and having been put on the market very recently–many of them are already gone.  The good news is that we received some of these books and have a few in stock.

Unboxing a signed edition of Go Set a Watchman

We considered it a very special occasion indeed when we received our highly anticipated allotment of these books. In honor of this special occasion, we decided to do an unboxing video so our readers can see all of the gorgeous details of this special, signed edition of Go Set a Watchman. What better way to celebrate than opening a Signed Edition of Go Set a Watchman to share it with our followers?  Please check out the video of our unboxing of a signed edition of Go Set a Watchman below and pay close attention the beautiful details of the book.

We hope that book lovers everywhere have enjoyed our unboxing presentation of this gorgeous, signed edition of Go Set a Watchman.   Remember, if you–or someone you know–are interested in obtaining a copy for your very own, you still have a chance at owning this amazing piece of literary history. Please give us a call at 251-494-9356. Or, if you prefer, you can order one through our website.

Thank you and we appreciate every one of you!

Special Edition Signed Copies of Go Set a Watchman

Signed Go Set a Watchman Limited Edition

Another surprise announcement was made this morning concerning Harper Lee and Go Set a Watchman.

CUqLd2lUYAAXfWXLimited Number of Special Signed Editions Available

The Associated Press has reported that HarperCollins, Ms. Lee’s publisher, made the announcement this morning that there are 500 special editions of Go Set a Watchman in print. These particular copies were signed over the past few months by Ms. Lee. This is a surprise to many, because for a long time, signed copies of G0 Set a Watchman were not expected at all. In addition to being signed by the author, the book itself is hardcover bound in leather with gold gilded edges, and gold foil stamping. The book comes in a beautiful velvet lined cloth box, with a magnet closure. This would be a perfect gift for the Harper Lee fan or book collector on your Christmas list.

As this is a special edition, and very few copies are available, the price is not small. This edition sells for $1,500.00

If you are interested in obtaining one of these, Ol’ Curiosities and Book Shoppe would be pleased to help you make that happen. Please call us at 215-494-9356 or email us at ocbookshoppe@gmail.com and we will do our best to help you.

As always, thank you for everything you do and we appreciate you!