RED BANK: GO SET YOUR WATCHES

TKAMThe 1962 film version of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ screens for free at the Count Basie Theatre Tuesday as River Road Books celebrates the July 14 publication of Harper Lee’s long-awaited followup, ‘Go Set a Watchman.’

It’s panning out to be the most eagerly anticipated event in the digitally driven, radically reconfigured 21st century publishing industry, one centering around a story that was pecked out on a manual typewriter nearly 60 years ago. The first book published by the reclusive novelist Harper Lee in more than half a century, Go Set a Watchman stands as a sequel to the author’s To Kill a Mockingbird, even though it was written – and subsequently filed away–  prior to that 1960 classic of modern American lit.

On Tuesday, July 14, Fair Haven’s River Road Books marks the official publication date of Watchman with a special event at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre: a free screening of the 1962 film version of Mockingbird.

Gregory Peck stars as single father, conscientious attorney and moral beacon Atticus Finch– a character who, as advance reviews have teased, shows a much more darkly nuanced side in the new-old book. Young Mary Badham co-stars as whip-smart daughter Scout, with Brock Peters as Finch’s African American defendant and Robert Duvall in his screen debut as the enigmatic Boo Radley in the acclaimed screen adaptation that faithfully captured the small-town period setting, peculiar rhythms and sense of social justice put forth by Lee’s novel. First-edition copies of Watchman will be available for sale at a discounted price in the Basie’s lobby, courtesy of the folks at River Road Books – and admission to the 7 p.m. movie, while free of charge, requires a ticket that can be reserved online here or in person at the box office.

Then on Wednesday, July 15, River Road Books partners with Red Bank-based literacy nonprofit Project Write Now for a book club discussion of To Kill a Mockingbird, hosted at the Fair Haven store and moderated by PWN’s Jennifer Chauhan and Allison Terald. Scheduled for 6:30 pm, it’s open to all, with copies of Mockingbird and Watchman available for purchase at the shop – and with a followup discussion of Go Set a Watchman set for September. Call (732) 747-9455 to reserve for either book club event.