Business Summit Explores Pillars for Prosperity

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

The 10th annual Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Business Summit is underway in Louisville this week.

Yesterday participants heard presentations about the state pension system, higher academic standards, and how tobacco could once again be an engine for economic growth in Kentucky and be a tool to fight the Ebola virus. The day concluded with a keynote address from David Gregory, the former moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press.

In his remarks Gregory said he thinks Hillary Clinton is close to unbeatable in the Democratic primary for president. On the Republican side, Gregory said Donald Trump “does not matter” in the GOP primary states. Instead Gregory likes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and U.S. Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida. But Gregory noted that it’s too early for any decisions to be made about the party nominees.

Between Monday’s sessions Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson talked with me about the history of the business summit, and the organization’s new report, Four Pillars for Prosperity (PDF download), which is about creating a culture of competitiveness in the state.

The Watchman Buzz Continues

Friday, July 24th, 2015

So many people have bought and read Harper Lee’s recently released novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” that it moved to the top of the U.S. bestseller list for fiction this week.

Most of the buzz has focused on how Atticus Finch, the iconic lawyer played by Gregory Peck in the movie version of Lee’s first novel, is portrayed differently than he was in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Critics, readers, and booklovers everywhere have had a field day discussing and comparing both books. One writer for the British newspaper The Guardian said that “Watchman” is more complex than “Mockingbird,” but also feels less compelling.

The Oyster Review literary website said “Watchman” was sometimes “messy, but on the whole, really good.”

Despite the controversial backstory, The Chicago Tribune said the novel is “a complete book” and “worth reading.”

“Watchman” is a gift for independent booksellers that have been battling e-readers and big-box bookstores for years. Copies of “Go Set A Watchman” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” are flying off the shelves.

Wyn Morris of The Morris Book Shop in Lexington says it’s wonderful that people are debating Harper Lee’s novels, discussing the writer, and buying her books.

The Buzz Over ‘Watchman’

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

“Go Set A Watchman,” author Harper Lee’s new novel that takes place two decades after her Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece “To Kill A Mockingbird,” is a publisher’s dream come true.

Cover image of "Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee

Cover image of “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee

The conversation about the discovery of “Watchman” has been going on for months. Following the book’s release this week, much attention has focused on revelations about Atticus Finch (the iconic father figure in “Mockingbird”), which are exciting and shocking at the same time.

Some people who have vowed not to read “Watchman” are disappointed that Atticus is portrayed as a segregationist with connections to the Ku Klux Klan. Others say that returning to Lee’s writing style and lyricism is a joy that is long overdue.

My copy is on my desk and I can’t wait to crack open the book.

Silas House, one of Kentucky’s best known living novelists, (who’s also a professor and radio host) was one of those who picked up his copy of “Go Set A Watchman” at midnight Monday evening. Although he had not finished the novel when I spoke to him, House said he was thrilled with what he had read and looked forward to completing Lee’s book.

PBS has updated its original profile of the author and furthers the literary discussion at Harper Lee: American Masters, where you’ll find interviews, videos, and this quiz on Harper Lee.

You can also watch a segment that explains how “Watchman” came to be published and see Lee being presented with a copy of the book.


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