'Why I won’t be reading Go Set a Watchman.'

For all those people asking, ‘Should I read Go Set a Watchman?’

Today, the much-anticipated novel and sequel to To Kill A MockingbirdGo Set a Watchman, will be released. And across the world, millions will be lining up to get their hands on a copy.

But not some people.

It’s not just because the title is annoying. Seriously, how do you set a watchman? Is it supposed to be Go Set a Watch, Man? Did they omit the comma by mistake, not realising until the millionth book rolled off the printing press?

Anyway. No amount of FOMO means I’ll be parting with my hard-earned. Go set your watch, man, to the fact I won’t be reading it.  Here’s why.

1. The book’s dubious ethical beginnings.

Harper Lee never wanted to release this book.  In the few interviews over her career, the publicity-shy Lee spoke about only ever wanting to publish the one book.  Her sister, who was her manager, agent and trustee, kept Harper’s word for her. THEN THE SISTER DIED.

And suddenly, Harper Lee’s “forgotten” manuscript is discovered?? OH, WHAT A COINCIDENCE.

Harper Lee is notoriously publicity shy.

Then there’s her capacity to actually consent to the deal. The 89-year-old author suffered a stroke in 2007, which resulted in serious vision and hearing problems. Some claim the publicity-shy octogenarian is able to communicate. Others say she is “in her own world”.  An investigation was launched into the publication of the book. It ultimately found the book’s publication did not amount to elder abuse, but the whole affair has left a lingering question of whether the Pulitzer Prize-winning author was pushed into publishing her second novel.

2. To Kill A Mockingbird fanatics don’t want to ruin their enjoyment of the first book.

Remember how good Wayne’s World was? Yep. Remember Wayne’s World II? Me neither, because I’ve done turds more interesting than that. When has a sequel ever been better? When has a second book or movie ever eclipsed the brilliance of the first?


To Kill A Mockingbird (an English curriculum staple) was a brilliant book. It caused a whole generation of fans to name their children Scout and their animals Atticus. One Melbourne bar is even called Atticus Finch as a tribute to the book’s noble lawyer and cultural icon. But early reviews have revealed our favourite, principled literary hero IS APPARENTLY NOW A MASSIVE RACIST.

Which doesn’t make you a racist for buying it, technically, but if you named your DOG Atticus, doesn’t he look like a jerk now.

3. Netflix.

It’s has been described as “more complex and less compelling” than its predecessor. Newsflash: nobody likes complicated and boring. You know what’s complicated and INTERESTING? Orange Is The New Black. Or MasterChef. Or many many other amazing TV shows, series, movies and other books to hook into.

Complicated and boring? That’s what study is for. Not leisure time.

Let’s just level with each other. Where are you going to find the time? To Kill A Mockingbird has been sitting on my bedside table since Year 9.  I keep thinking, “Yeah, I probably should read that again”.  And now, with a list of books I’d like to read already taking over the notes section of my iPhone, a dozen book samples downloaded on my Kindle, a backlog of audio books and podcasts in my phone, and the constant beckoning of the five-plus series I am currently watching on Netflix, it’s just not going to happen.

Sorry. I will probably never get around to reading it. But, if asked, I’ll tell people I’m morally opposed.

They don’t need to know I chose watching half-naked ladies threaten to shank each other in a prison bathroom block over the sequel to a classic of modern American literature.

For more on the new release, try these articles:

9 things you didn’t know about To Kill A Mockingbird.

This new book already has more pre-orders than the final Harry Potter.

The ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ sequel theory we really don’t want to believe.

Wonderful news: To Kill a Mockingbird is about to get a sequel.

Will you be reading Lee’s new book?