Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Sunday, July 3, 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1960
Pages:  376
ISBN:  0446310786
Genre:  Modern Classics

Start Date: June 18, 2011
Finished Date:  June 25, 2011 (7 days)

Where Found:  Campus bookstore--just to have a copy on hand
Why Read:  I initially read this in high school, then decided to re-read it for a challenge.

Read For:  Back to the Classics Challenge (4/8)

Summary:  A coming-of-age story set in the Depression-era American South revolves around two precocious children of a lawyer defending a black man against the charge of raping a white woman and a number of eccentric neighbours, including a hermetic scrounger nicknamed "Boo" Radley.


I have never read a book again so many years in between my first reading of it.  I first read To Kill a Mockingbird in my Grade 11 English class.  I remember struggling with the first half of the book, wondering when the story would come around to the trial, which was the key focus of the book's summary.  There was not much said about how the first half masterfully sets the stage for the second half.  Also, there was no patience in my 16-year-old self.  Fast-forward about a decade later and here I am reading the book again, wanting the first half to never end!  Maybe it was because childhood was still raw in my teenage memory and now it's reduced to nostalgia, which is the framework for the first half of TKAM but is far from sugar-coated. 

Scout, Jem, and Dill are complex, fascinating children that are more challenging to comprehend than the adult characters.  Harper Lee not only understands children's motives, feelings, and interpretations of adult situations, often hilariously rendered, but she makes a distinct period of history in which these children grow up a purposeful part of their development.  A multi-faceted turning point in American history represents their growth, as well as the nation's.

It was a delight to read this book again and feel much more appreciative of Lee's representation of children, now read through my adult & teacher lens rather than teenager & student one.  It was amazing how much of the first half came back in the second and played an important part but for a new purpose in light of the trial.  The shift in how characters are understood changes considerably from an assumed nature to a more complicated one.

It has been a long while since I saw the movie adaptation with Gregory Peck, which I first saw in that high school class.  It was a highly respectful interpretation of the book, very loyal to the original novel.  I thought Peck was a perfect Atticus Finch with his sharp foresight, deep patience, and calm, peaceful presence.

The bottom line is that every human being needs to experience this book. I think it is wise to introduce it when learning about civil rights history in school, but should be read as an adult as well to remind yourself of childhood wonders, frustrations, and understandings.

Here is the short TKAM review from my Harking Back series of posts about books read in school.  It's interesting to note that I also read Inherit the Wind, a terrific play about the Scopes trial that ties in to themes of TKAM, making it a great companion read.

Rank:   (A+)- One of the greatest books ever written


  1. I read this book in the 11th grade, too! It is one of my favorites but I haven't read it in a long time. Good pick!

    -Miss GOP

  2. This is one of my favorite books. I can't believe I have only read it once. I think it might be time for a reread. I wonder if I will get more out of it the second time around.

  3. Hi, just wanted to let you know I've added your entry to the literary blog directory:
    Hope you find some great blogs through it and also get some new readers. There's a button on my blog for you to use.

    I didn't read To Kill a Mockingbird for school (we did Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry instead) but I did read it as a teenager and like you, I loved it more as an adult. I could reread it countless times and still enjoy it each time.

  4. I so adore To Kill A Mockingbird, and I'm pleased that you found it better with age (both its and yours!), as I do. I've read it closely nearly every year for the past 7 years (I teach it), and I find I never tire of Lee's gorgeous prose and never fail to discover new intricacies of character and theme and symbol and imagery each time.
    And my dad's favorite movie of all time is "Inherit the Wind". Spencer Tracy and Gene Kelly in the same film: What's not to like?
    So happy for you that your summer started on such a high note!
    And that's quite an eclectic TBR list there: what's next?

  5. I really enjoyed reading your review. I read it in highschool also, and have not read it since. It is so interesting how our life experience changes and can enhance a book. I Daresay the opposite can happen too, when a much loved book as a teenager can seem underwhelming later. Also I notice that you have Brideshead Revisited on your nightstand; it is one of my favourite novels, hope you enjoy it.

  6. A wonderful book. I wish I had read it when I was younger (how could my education have been so lacking?) so I could see how my understanding has changed. But reading it as an adult was a joy.

  7. I need to get around to reading this! :)

  8. I agree, TKAM is a wonderful read. I'm so annoyed that I never read it while I was in school! I read it for the first time last years and really, really enjoyed it.

  9. Agreed. One of the best books pretty much ever. Everyone should definitely read it, even it they don't normally read this type of literature.

  10. This is such a wonderful book, no matter what age you are. We're planning a road trip to Alabama in October and I'm hoping to go to Lee's home town. They have a Mockingbird museum there.