Monroeville, Alabama. Pop. 6,519

Residents of Monroeville, Alabama recently gathered to celebrate the release of famous resident Harper Lee’s long lost novel, “Go Set A Watchman.” The book release festivities featured an Atticus Finch impersonator, food trucks to feed the crowds, and commemorative silver mugs that could be purchased (with the promise of a cocktail to fill it later in the evening). And alongside the residents were journalists from all over the world, representing everything from CNN to The Daily Telegraph — even Al Jazeera. The existence of the manuscript is newsworthy on its own, but it seems that the content of this new book – and whether or not Ms. Lee even wanted it published – is as divisive for some as the topic of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

Happily, one of the biggest beneficiaries of all of the controversy is the Ol’ Curiosities & Book Shoppe in Monroeville, a family-owned, independent bookstore. The owner ordered 27,000 advance copies, and sales have proven to be brisk so far. Be sure to check out their website and even sign up for their newsletter. You never know what well-known Alabama authors will be featured there in the future.

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