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For me, it was Leonard Nimoy followed by David Bowie. I don't have any idea *why* this is the case, but it's difficult to predict reactions to celebrities' deaths. I think it's because Nimoy affected me more when I was younger, and he played such an incredibly strong (physically strong) character. These two hurt. Prince's passing surprised me, but I wasn't emotionally attached to him, so it didn't last as long. Everyone will have their own people and reasons, and they're all equally legitimate. I can only think of a couple celebrities in the world (who I don't know) whose passing would absolutely devastate me, and I'm afraid some of them will probably happen in the next ten years. I don't even want to name any names, because the thought alone almost brings tears to my eyes - one person in particular will have such a profound impact on me that I almost hope I go before he does, and he is almost 80.
Sad news ... "Harper Lee, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Author, Has Died at 89" by Kendal Weaver and Hillel Italie on wtop.com
This is what you can refer to as "big news" - Harper Lee is publishing a second novel, written fifty years ago. If "Go Set A Watchman" is any good at all, it could wind up being the best-selling American book ever written (right now, it's "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown at something close to 100-million copies), and could solidify Lee as one of the most important 20th-century American novelists instead of just a one-hit wonder. Although Ms. Lee isn't getting any younger, it could increase her chances for a Nobel Prize ("The Bridge On The Drina" did it for Ivo Andric), and it now gives her - in technical terms - a 50-year career. The only caucasian American female to win the Nobel Prize for Literature - a *very* political award - is Pearl Buck in 1938, who had spent most of her life living in China up until that point. A legitimate argument could be made that Eudora Welty was robbed, so this could be "the right book at the right time" for Lee - time for a "make-up call," perhaps. She seems like a very likable person, so I hope it works out well for her, and that a new generation of Americans will be introduced to "To Kill A Mockingbird" - one of the greatest American novels I've ever read: It's both timely and timeless. Could this sequel diminish "To Kill A Mockingbird" in some way? Possibly, but do you remember Willie Mays as a Giant, or a Met? Hell, Willie Mays could *sing* at the Met and it wouldn't tarnish his legacy any more than Jackie Robinson being a pitchman for Chock Full O' Nuts. For a contrarian opinion (note that the Nobel has always favored British writers over American writers): "Go Set A Watchman And Five Other Sequels That Should Never Happen" by Hannah Jane Parkinson for theguardian.com - I'm writing this sentence before reading the column (which I'll do as soon as I post this), but my first impression is that "Go Set A Watchman" isn't really a sequel since it was written first, and by definition, was not written to cash in on "To Kill A Mockingbird." There's something innocently disturbing about this title to me, mainly because it sounds pretty similar, in terms of syllables, rhythm, and accent, to an imperative I'll sometimes mutter, the third word of which is "your," and it isn't "Go Set Your Table." PS - If "To Kill A Mockingbird" is something you've always meant to read, but haven't gotten around to doing it, what better time than now? I just read it for the first time myself two years ago, and I'm glad I did.