Please join us for a “Mockingbird” reading

If you’re on the North Shore this Sunday, I hope you’ll consider dropping by Cornerstone Books in Salem, where I will be among several people reading excerpts from Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The event begins at 2 p.m.

I came very late to “Mockingbird,” published 50 years ago this year. On the recommendation of my wife and daughter, I rented the movie this past spring. It was, I realized, one of the best I’d ever seen. The racial drama is compelling. But what riveted me was Mary Badham‘s performance as Scout, as realistic a depiction of childhood as has come to the screen. She should have won the Oscar for Best Actress.

As for Lee’s original work, I finished it just a few days ago. I found it odd to read a good novel after having seen such a first-rate film depiction of it. And, frankly, the reason I call it good but not great is that there’s a certain one-dimensional quality to it that we expect in movies but not in books. This Slate essay by Stephen Metcalf is too harsh, but I agree that “Mockingbird” is essentially a children’s book.

But what a children’s book. Lee’s achievement is worth celebrating, and I’m excited to be part of it.

Walking the future Danvers rail trail

I took a walk this afternoon along the abandoned railroad tracks in Danvers from Chestnut Street to Topsfield Road (Route 97), which is supposed to become part of a North Shore bicycle trail. For more information check out Danvers Bi-Peds.

Since I forgot to bring my camera, I took these with my BlackBerry instead. I’m astonished at how good they came out.

Surfs pounds Gloucester coast

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
I headed up to Gloucester this afternoon with my trusty Canon PowerShot SD890 IS to see what the nor’easter was doing along the coast. My first stop was a protected beach. There was so little wind that people were walking in the sand, including a woman and her dog.

Then I turned the corner, and entered a different world. On the rocky coast facing the ocean there were gale-force winds, high waves and surf pounding the shore. Above is my test of flickrSLiDR (hey, I don’t come up with the names), and below, a short video.

I’m glad it wasn’t snow.

More: I should have mentioned that I used the stabilization feature in iMovie ’09 for the first time and was really impressed. I was getting blown all over the place, but in the video it just seems like I’m drifting a bit. I’d also be curious to know whether you like the embedded slideshow or find it distracting — would you rather click and jump to Flickr?

New Year’s snowstorm

Horses at Endicott Park. For a Flickr slideshow, click on photo.

Rather than sit in the house and curse the snow, I grabbed my camera and tramped around Danvers this afternoon — along the power lines not far from St. John’s Prep, through Endicott Park and at Glen Magna. Nothing special, but if you like snow pictures, here are snow pictures.