mockingbird
Actress Mary Badham, who portrayed the character Scout, poses at a screening celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Academy Award winning film "To Kill A Mockingbird" at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills, California, April 11, 2012. A sequel centering on Scout as an adult is due out in July. Reuters/Fred Prouser

Just one day after it was announced that "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee is publishing a new novel some fifty-plus years after she wrote it, “Go Set a Watchman" has been made available for pre-order on Amazon -- and it's already #1 on the Amazon Best Sellers Rank. It only required a mockup of a plain blue cover with the title and author name -- oh, and considerable media buzz about Lee's first book in over fifty years.

"Go Set a Watchman" was in fact the first book Lee wrote, and includes the "Mockingbird" characters about twenty years into the future. One of Lee's biographers, Charles J. Shields (Mockingbird: Portrait of Harper Lee, Holt, 2006), told International Business Times that the literary editor who first looked at the manuscript suggested that Lee shift back into the characters' past. "That’s how we got a novel written with a 9-year-old narrator," he said.

The title "Go Set a Watchman" refers, Shields said, to the scene when Atticus is outside the courthouse defending against vigilante justice. "He’s the watchman.”

Considering that "To Kill a Mockingbird" still sells a million copies a year and is translated in over 40 languages, anticipation is high among Lee fans and those in the publishing world who are in line to make a hefty profit. Harper publicity director Charlotte Bush told The Guardian that when the publication date was announced on Tuesday, "a series of screams went up around the office."

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