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I’m a bit put out at Canada right now. They’ve got some nasty forest fires burning and all the smoke is blowing down here to Minneapolis. It is so bad that when I left work this afternoon it looked like a fog had settled over the city. It also smells terrible. While standing outside for 20 minutes waiting for my late bus, it became harder to breathe and my eyes began to burn. Now, indoors, I’m fine but for a headache that will not go away. The state has declared an air quality emergency and is discouraging people from going outdoors. I like you Canada. You are a good neighbor and I know a number of people who were born and raised Canadian and some of my favorite authors are Canadian. But, really, keep your smoke to yourselves! Get those fires out, won’t you? It’s hard to breathe down here! Your consideration is much appreciated.

And maybe I am only using it as an excuse to put off writing about The Art of Daring by Carl Phillips yet one more day because it is such a good book I don’t know what to say about it. Or maybe it’s just because it is Monday and it was a long and busy day at work following my full and glorious three-day Independence Day holiday weekend. Or maybe I’m just extra tired because Dickens has been an annoying cat lately, yowling at 3 a.m. for attention and even though he doesn’t get any, he keeps trying. I purposely did not have children and have enjoyed many years of good sleeping as a result. Dickens is swiftly reversing this and I don’t exactly know why.

I am behind on my internet and blog wanderings so it is quite possible all of you already heard about the latest development in the Harper Lee Go Set a Watchman saga. Apparently, the manuscript was found in 2011, not last year. And supposedly it was found in Harper Lee’s Safe Deposit box at the bank, not attached to an old manuscript of To Kill a Mockingbird in the publisher’s files.

The whole thing just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser, doesn’t it? I’m not sure what to think or who to believe. By a number of accounts, Go Set a Watchman has always been considered a first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird. Why then, would Harper Lee, who has said she will never publish anything else, want to see this book published? Is she in need of money to pay her medical bills and nursing home care? Are the publishers pulling a fast one? Go Set a Watchman has the most pre-orders of any of the publisher’s books, ever. It is likely going to be a bestseller the day it goes on sale July 14th. Everyone involved is going to make a pot of cash. How much will Harper Lee get of it I wonder?

I have not pre-ordered the book. I have no plans to buy it or wait in line at the library for it. I am not entirely certain I want to read it. The whole thing smells fishy and I don’t feel comfortable reading the book because of that. Maybe one year, five years, ten years from now I will change my mind, but at the moment, I just can’t. Plus there is the hype which turns me off. And then of course, there is the fear that the beauty that is To Kill a Mockingbird might somehow be tainted if this new book is nowhere near as good.

What about you? Do you plan on reading Go Set a Watchman? Did you pre-order it? And what do you think of all the controversy swirling around it? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill and should just get over it already?

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