Jean Louise (Scout) Finch is the feistiest girl in Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930's. She's six years old and doesn't care to be a lady. She wants to wear pants all her life and mess around with her older brother Jem and their friend, Dill, who visits every summer. To Kill a Mockingbird spans over a couple years of Scout's life, during which she becomes engaged to Dill, attempts to befriend a reclusive neighbor - and, most importantly, witnesses a trial during which a young black man is accused of raping a poor young white girl. These events are seen from the young, questioning eyes of a little girl who wants to understand. It is heart-breaking, eye-opening, and a book that everyone should take the time to devour.
My thoughts - This is my first time reading To Kill a Mockingbird (people have looked at me, shocked, for saying that), and not only can I say that I've read it, but I can also say that I loved it.
I was quite moved by this story. Moved to laughter, moved to sorrow, moved to anger, moved to love. I was inspired by this little girl Jean Louise who saw the world so innocently. I wanted to be like her. I want to be like her. She was precious to read about.
Character notes - Scout Finch has a sarcasm that's hard to miss. It adds life to the story and made me laugh. She's one smart little seven-year-old. She understands most things - and when she doesn't she asks questions. Questions that made me think. Questions that seven-year-olds now would never think to ask. Scout is also a deep thinker, pondering the world in that innocent light that she views everything.
She loves her family. She has a heart for her brother...wants to do everything to be like him. When he starts to grow up, she doesn't understand it, but she tries her hardest. Because she loves him. And she loves her father, too. Oh boy, their relationship tugged at my heart more than anything else in this story. Atticus Finch is older, has no wife, and would be lonely but for his lovely children. Scout and Jem mean everything him, and he means everything to them, even when they would like to say otherwise. Atticus very easily became my favorite character - for his bravery, his selflessness, his humility, and his desire to do what is right...at all costs.
Story notes - This story is well told from the first word to the last. It weaves in family troubles, characters being built, the culture in the south in that time of history, the town's trials and triumphs, strange neighbors, unlikely friends... All of this is seen through the eyes of an observant six/seven/eight year old, and I can't imagine it any other way. It was the perfect touch for the story's progression.
Speaking of the progression...it was slow. But not in an "I'm bored, please get me out of here" way, but in a languid, beautiful, floating way. It was a current, slow and constant, and it pulled me along until we reached the shore, where I sat, watching the tide drifting away, knowing that I would never forget that experience.
When I first started reading this book, I expected it to be mainly about the rape trial. While I was at first confused that it wasn't, I couldn't stay confused for long. The depth and intense character development in the rest of the story led up to the trial and its outcome - and even events after the trial.
One word I'd use to sum up this novel (final thoughts) - Eager. Because while the whole town is languid, underneath the surface a passion is stirring - and it is seen in Atticus and his bravery; Miss Maudie and her garden; Jem and his desire to be like his father; Tom Robinson and his innocent friendship with the poor white girl; and little Scout, who cannot get enough of her world, and who won't let it fly by without having a word or two with it. This really is one exceptional story.(less)
Harry Potter has been a wizard all his life and has never known. His Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia always did, but they never told him; instead, they...moreHarry Potter has been a wizard all his life and has never known. His Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia always did, but they never told him; instead, they kept him in his cupboard (a.k.a. his bedroom) and treated him differently – much differently – than his cousin Dudley, who was spoiled beyond comparison. On Harry’s 11th birthday, however, Harry receives a visit from, well, a giant. Named Hagrid. It is then that Harry learns of his past – and what his future could be. After dealing with Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, Hagrid whisks Harry off to Hogwarts and a new life of friends, magic, flying and…and evil sorceror who is trying to knock Harry off his broomstick – literally.
I’m a first time Harry Potter reader. I’ve heard so many different opinions that when I started reading The Sorceror’s Stone I was really excited to form my own opinion about the series. So far, I have to say that I’m impressed. I was expecting a bit of an “older” read, but I guess that is yet to come. As Harry grows older and progresses in wizardry, so do we. I like that. I’m very much looking foward to seeing that change in the story/characters in the coming books.
While J. K. Rowling has a very strong original writing style, there was one thing that bothered me every time I saw it. She has a slight case of the “run-ons”. I hate run-ons. They seem so easy to find and simple to fix – and yet there are so many of them in literature today. However, I can’t say that the few grammatical errors I found in The Sorceror’s Stone ruined the book for me. It was much too good for that.
In one word, I think – and a few weeks ago I never thought I’d say this about a Harry Potter book – I would described The Sorceror’s Stone as lighthearted. It was very funny and J. K. Rowling has a quite a bit of sarcasm under her belt. I laughed out loud multiple times. Fred and George Weasley were always making me laugh, from their smart mouths to them always getting in trouble. The Sorceror’s Stone was a very good start to a series that I hope will get better and better as I continue to read.
When I read this book for the first time, it was everything: inspiration...an amazing example of really really good literature...a motivation for me to work hard to get published early in life. I remember thinking the writing was great, the story super intense, the characters fully developed.
Then I read Eldest. Then Brisingr. Then Eragon again. My opinions have...ummm....changed.
I'll say first off that I want to cut this guy some slack. After all, he did write this when he was just 15, and that's pretty darn amazing if you think about it that way. But really, if you look at it from the viewpoint of one who has read a lot of really great literature, Eragon is nothing super duper special. Good, but...lacking.
The writing is good, but it lacks life, meat. Paolini gets across what he wants you to see, but not in a way that gave me chills or made me want to live there or experience that world with Eragon. Speaking of Eragon, he's just average. I never felt a connection with him, through all the books. I liked him, but not enough to really care about him. I cared more for Arya and Murtagh. Murtagh is actually one of my favorite characters in the whole series, a great, tragic character who caught my eye from the first. And Brom...oh Brom. I loved him.
The story is fairly good, but not as strong and original as I'd want. It was, however, enough to keep me interested and a couple of the scenes, because of their sheer danger and magical intrigue, really stuck with me. So, this book is worth the read, because it is good, and because the series just gets better and better.(less)