Aside from today being the World Cup Final, it is also the 50th Anniversary of the publishing of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. If y'all haven't...moreAside from today being the World Cup Final, it is also the 50th Anniversary of the publishing of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. If y'all haven't read this book yet, you really need to. It's gorgeous. Saturday and today I took the time to re-read this classic. I know it's silly to re-read things when my TBR is a mile long, BUT some books merit this.
I first read To Kill A Mockingbird the summer before 11th grade. It was assigned summer reading for A.P. English. I remember pretty much rushing through it and not really taking the time to appreciate the language. I was more interested in the plot and what would happen. I think on being about 6 years older, I have slightly matured and am a bit more able to appreciate this gorgeous book.
I was struck by the moral code of Atticus. This is a man who does not waiver. He perfectly represents Maslow's top level, being someone who is self-actualized. In reading about Atticus, I wished that I could be more like him. His character caused me to examine my own character. Friends, it sorely lacks in comparison. He's just so fascinating. I mean, you could even read into this as a gender studies kind of book, as Atticus challenges societal notions of masculinity and what it means to be brave. Instead of being macho, he reads books in the evenings. He may be the deadest shot in the county, but he doesn't own a gun, nor does he advertise his skills. He's gentle. He's got honor. What I loved was how he is exactly the same in his public life as he is in his private life. I don't see how you can't admire Atticus.
What is perhaps the most wonderful thing about To Kill A Mockingbird is the writing style. It's smooth. It flows off the page. I actually laughed out loud while reading, which I would never have expected. Perhaps I was more taciturn in high school? Anyways, wow, this book is FUNNY. It's also heartbreaking. Harper Lee has excellent wordsmith skillz. Her prose is never flowery just to be flowery. Nor is it ever dumbed down for the audience.
I wonder, could this book be considered YA? When I did the top 100 YA vote, this book wound up in the top five. Now, personally, I would consider this YA. Perhaps it does not conform to today's flavor of YA, but it has the elements. I guess for me, YA really resonates with coming of age stories, features a young protagonist, and has wonderful pacing. This book fit all of those requirements. I think it has perfectly stood the test of time, and will last at least another 50 years.
I can happily say, To Kill A Mockingbird actually improves upon a second reading. When I already know the plot, I find I can focus on other details, such as turn of phrasing and characterization. I must say this excels in characters from Bob Ewell and his dependcy on the county to the Cunninghams and their not taking handouts from anyone to Mrs. Dubose who wants to die free of addiction, I just loved how well done these characters were.
Finally, dear friends, I would like to leave you with some quotes which struck me this time around:
"But I never figured out how Atticus knew I was listening, and it was not until many years later that I realized he wanted me to hear every word he said." - pg 89
"They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions," said Atticus, "but before I can live with other folks, I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience." - pg 105
"I wanted you to see something about her --- I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew." - pg. 112(less)
The Book Thief is moving and haunting. The book follows Liesel Meminger a young German girl at the time of Nazi Germany. Liesel's story begins with a...moreThe Book Thief is moving and haunting. The book follows Liesel Meminger a young German girl at the time of Nazi Germany. Liesel's story begins with a journey to Himmler St. in Molching. Along the way we meet a stellar cast of three-dimensional characters. This book became an instant favorite. Now, go read this amazing book.(less)
Jay Berry Lee wants a pony and a .22 more than anything in the world. One summer he gets a chance to make the amount of money required to get the pony...moreJay Berry Lee wants a pony and a .22 more than anything in the world. One summer he gets a chance to make the amount of money required to get the pony and the .22. A circus train wrecks, and a car full of monkeys is on the loose in the Ozarks. Jay Berry and his trusty hound, Rowdy decide to take on the monkeys, which turn out to be smarter than they are. Other characters which pepper this book include Jay's sister Daisy who is crippled but can see spirits, Jay's mother and father, and his Grandparents. This book was decent although I feel at certain parts the overall feel was ruined with religion. I mean, did Rawls really need to put in the bible-thump undertone, or could he have just left this book as the simple story of a boy and his dog out catching monkeys? I do recommend this book to children though. The story is delightful, and simple. This would be a great book to read out loud.(less)
I'm sure everyone reading this has heard of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, be it through the various movie adaptations, school, or even through a...moreI'm sure everyone reading this has heard of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, be it through the various movie adaptations, school, or even through a children's illustrated classics edition. I can remember when I was little, my parents would often bring home Great Illustrated Classics after a visit to the super market. If we (my sisters and I) were good we would get to pick out a Great Illustrated Classics book for the week. Little Women was one of the first Great Illustrated Classics books we got. The version I read as a child was definitely the abridged GIC version. Read the rest of my review here(less)