The nope list

There are two camps in the bookish world right now. On the one side, readers are counting down the days until Go Set a Watchman is published. Other readers are worried about the controversy over the manuscript’s discovery or are concerned about the quality, given that Lee chose not to publish it for almost six decades. I am going to order a copy (two copies) for my library’s collection, but I think that Go Set a Watchman will go straight to my nope list—the books that I never plan on reading.

My nope list is short. So far, books have only landed on it for two reasons. The first books to go on the nope list were Lolita and A Clockwork Orange. I’ve heard enough about the content of the books that no amount of arguing can convince me to read them. The arguments are that the quality of the writing makes reading about a pedophile worthwhile or that satire could only be achieved through the extreme violence.

The next books to go on the nope list were the sequels to Nancy Turner’s These is My WordsI loved the book so much that I worry that the sequels will ruin how I feel about These is My Words. And I really don’t want that to happen.

Go Set a Watchman is on the list because I worry about how it will make me feel about Harper Lee and To Kill a MockingbirdThe book is perfect. I already know that Go Set a Watchman won’t be. Earlier today, I read an article by Claire Suddath for Bloomberg Business that confirmed my worry. Suddath cites a publisher for HarperCollins and writes, “Lee hasn’t reread it, and HarperCollins, her longtime publisher, is releasing it unedited.” I realize that Lee is in declining health, with poor vision, and that editing a manuscript may be beyond her powers. This line of thought brings me back to the first question I had when I heard about Go Set a Watchman: why now?

So far, these books have stayed firmly on the nope list. I don’t know if I’ll ever change my mind. It’s possible that the reviews for Go Set a Watchman will be incredibly positive and my worries will be assuaged and I will regret not having read the book sooner. One can hope.

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5 thoughts on “The nope list

    1. Annie

      Out of curiosity, do you have any other titles on your personal nope list? Since I posted, I’ve found that this is a more widespread phenomena among readers than I thought.

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      1. Hmm, I’m sure I have lots of books on the list that I’m not even aware of. But one grouping that comes to mind is Kerouac’s On the Road and also Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. No drug-fueled road trips for me!

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  1. I hear you. The circumstances under which this is being published leave a bad taste in my mouth, so supporting it by buying the book–or even reading it–would feel unethical to me.

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    1. Annie

      I’ve been keeping tabs on the story for months. It seems that for every article that voices concerns about manipulation and elder abuse, there’s another defending Lee’s lawyer. The articles in defense of Tonja Carter still make me worry that there were shenanigans. There are just too many inconsistencies and troublesome stories here that I have a hard time believing that Carter was acting entirely for Lee’s benefit. Perhaps I’ve read too many mysteries and I have a suspicious mind.

      I’m buying it for my library’s collection because I can’t not have a copy in the literature stacks.

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