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Timeless themes; 'Mockingbird' goes modern.

A masterpiece as gentle and unforgettable as "To Kill a Mockingbird'' deserves to be in as many hands as possible. We welcome word that author Harper Lee has approved letting her work become available electronically.

Her story out of the deep South of family love and strong personal character can survive any form of telling. Almost any passage read aloud sings with story, mystery, or truth. The 1962 movie -- two years after the book -- is a classic, and the Depression-era drama of racial strife and standing for what's right has lessons for today.

HarperCollins Publishers announced the decision Monday, the author's 88th birthday. We hope many will pick up, or click open, this book for the first time or the tenth, to sink into the world of Atticus Finch, Scout, Jem, Boo Radley, Tom Robinson and the rest.

The author keeps mostly to herself, but in 2006 wrote to Oprah Winfrey about "an abundant society where people have laptops, cellphones, iPods and minds like empty rooms,'' but in which "I still plod along with books.''

Modern readers will bond with a work whose words, characters, and narrative work more magic than the technology that delivers them.

"Things are never as bad as they seem,'' Maude tells Jem in the book. She wasn't talking about the switch to digital devices over the touch of typed, bound pages -- but the wisdom is the same.
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Title Annotation:Editorials
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:May 1, 2014
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