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Barnes and Noble gears up for ‘Mockingbird’ sequel


Barnes and Noble gears up for ‘Mockingbird’ sequel

As shoppers perused the books and trinkets at the Cool Springs Barnes and Noble Booksellers Monday morning, snippets of “To Kill a Mockingbird” — read aloud by various local personalities — floated through the air.

As shoppers perused the books and trinkets at the Cool Springs Barnes and Noble Booksellers Monday morning, snippets of “To Kill a Mockingbird” — read aloud by various local personalities — floated through the air.

The “To Kill a Mockingbird” Read-a-thon, hosted at every Barnes and Noble throughout the country, not only is a celebration of the acclaimed Harper Lee novel, but also is an anticipatory event held in honor of the Tuesday, July 14, publication of her second novel, “Go Set a Watchman.”

The event started out with a little bit of a change-up from the original lineup of readers, as U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) — scheduled to read first — had to cancel due to a last-minute flight reschedule.

However, local lawyer and Barnes and Noble employee Mark Mayhew stepped in to fill Blackburn’s slot even though he was scheduled to read an hour later. One or two shoppers hovered nearby as Mayhew read, but no one sat in the 20 or so chairs set up for the event early Monday.

Robbie Bryan, the store’s community relations manager, said he hadn’t anticipated a large turnout for the read-a-thon, but more of an audience that drifts in and out throughout the day.

“It’s understood that it’s just a come in, sit for a while and leave and just enjoy it,” he said. “I’m not sure there’s actually anyone with the stamina to come in and just sit and listen all day.”

Mayhew was scheduled to read several more times Monday. Other readers include Killer Nashville writers conference founder Clay Stafford with son, Ellis; Al Nations, retired Williamson County General Sessions Court judge; and Clint Redwine from the MIX 92.9 Morning Show.

Stafford said Killer Nashville, a conference for thriller, mystery and crime literature, is part of the reason he came to read from “Mockingbird.” He has read the book several times throughout his life and brought his son to show the impact such a novel can have.

“I got to read it together with him because he’s the next generation of readers,” Stafford said. “I think classics like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is something that obviously will be passed from one generation to the next.”

Bryan said the event is broken into 30-minute slots, although others like Mayhew, have chosen to do more than one, or extend their slots.

“They went through and used the unabridged audiobook and kind of ran through how long it took to go through and broke it into segments,” he said. “So it’s sort of a projection of how long it will take to read through the entire book.”

Those volunteers were scheduled read until 9:30 p.m. Monday night.

As for “Watchman,” Bryan said the store is prepared for the 7 a.m. Tuesday release. Those who choose to buy their copy between 7-10 a.m. also will receive a free tall coffee from the in-house cafe.

While he could not comment on whether the books were already at the store, Bryan said the store “will have plenty of books for tomorrow.”

“[‘To Kill a Mockingbird’] is definitely an icon,” Bryan said. “Just the history of the book — it’s published in 1960, immediately hits the bestseller list, the very next year it wins the Pulitzer Prize, the year after that it’s made into a film that won three Oscars, it’s just phenomenal.

“The fact that it’s been almost 56 years since it was released, it was the only other book by Harper Lee, so tomorrow’s going to be huge when ‘Go Set a Watchman’ comes out.”

Allison Maloney is the assistant managing editor at Home Page Media Group. You can follow her on Twitter at @allieleora, or read more on her blog, littlebitwrites.wordpress.com. Email: allison@homepagemediagroup.com.

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