Read Harper Lee's Letter to Oprah About Her Love of Books

In 2006, Harper Lee, author of American classic To Kill a Mockingbird, wrote a letter to Oprah about her experience growing up with reading: first listening to family members reading aloud, then hunting down and trading for books, and later connecting with old friends over what books they had been reading. The letter, which we found courtesy of the always-inspiring Letters of Note, is a touching meditation on the reading life that we totally identify with, but in a somewhat prescient manner (of course) Lee also stresses the importance of reading actual books.

She writes, “Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me. I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it. And, Oprah, can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer? Weeping for Anna Karenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kurtz, having Holden Caulfield ring you up — some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal.”

Convenient as our modern technology may be, we have to admit that she has a point. Read the entire letter here.

What are your thoughts?

4 thoughts on “Read Harper Lee's Letter to Oprah About Her Love of Books

  1. While I do like the convenience of our technology and it makes some things simpler, like finding a recipe real quick, I do have to admit she has a point. I like the way she says, “–some things should happen on soft pages…” There is something much more real and almost magical about reading a novel that pulls you into the story as you’re holding a real book in your hands. It’s like somehow I feel connected with being able to touch the actual words upon the pages as my mind comes alive.


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