Friday, April 04, 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird - The Update

I'm about 70 pages into To Kill a Mockingbird, and I really love it so far. I'm really irked that I haven't had more reading time this week, since all I really want to do is sink into this book. In fact, last night I took myself to dinner all alone just so I could read more or less uninterrupted for a decent period of time.

I resisted this book for a number of years, partially because I felt that I already knew the story well enough that it would be completely anti-climactic. I'm finding, however, that Lee's writing adds a whole new level of charm and humor to this story that I didn't get from the film version.

One of my favorite passages so far:

Context: the new teacher's system of teaching involves lots of flash cards and very little actual reading, and as a result...

"Jem, educated on a half-Decimal half Duncecap basis, seemed to function effectively alone or in a group, but Jem was a poor example: no tutorial system devised by man could have stopped him from getting at books. As for me, I knew nothing except what I gathered from Time magazine and reading everything I could lay hands on at home, but as I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something. Out of what I knew not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in mind for me" (37).

Luckily, there are no appointments scheduled for the writing center today. Maybe I can read then!


  1. I haven't read this in years--I was lucky enough to read it as a little girl before even knowing about the movie (which is also terrific). I'll have to pick it up again.

  2. I love this book. I was also lucky enough to read it when I was quite young, well before I fell for Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in the film version. Though I've re-read and re-watched both versions quite a few times now, so I envy you the pages ahead!

  3. This is a book that doesn't come up very high on the UK radar, but it's clear from the US blogs I read that it is a remarkable novel. Into the Oxfam shop tomorrow to look for a copy, I think.

  4. This is one book that I've heard a lot about but have never read. There are so many great books coming out each year, that its really difficult to go back and read classics.

  5. I just read this book for the first time a few years ago. I'm not always good about reading Southern Lit--I always expect it to be depressing and if it deals with racial issues--I find those hard going (usually they're so sad). But it was so good. It did deal with some hard issues, but maybe having such a young narrator softened it (?) or gave it a different perspective. In any case, I thought it was excellent and of course wondered why I had ever waited so long to read it!

  6. Purl, I think I would've enjoyed it as a youngster. The movie was great, don't get me wrong, but having grown up with it sort of squelched the urge to read it.

    Logophile, Peck was fantastic, wasn't he? I have a feeling I'll re-watch the movie when I'm done with the book. I probably didn't appreciate it enough when I was younger.

    Ann, I would have no qualms about labeling this book the most beloved American novel in existence. It's one of the only books I'm aware of that almost every single person I know--bookworm or not--has read. And loved. :)

    Chica, I'm one of those people that rarely reads super new books. Unless I review a book I hardly ever read one the year it comes out. I had an aversion to classics for fun for a very long time, but I've been reading more lately and seem to have overcome that tendency.

    Danielle, that may well be another reason I haven't read it until now. I sort of shy away from Southern novels about racial issues because there are just SO MANY. Sort of the same reason I often shy away from Holocaust novels. However, I can truthfully say that I LOVE this book so far. It's so gorgeously written and I've already teared up twice. I'm on page 132, so I have a feeling there's a lot more emotion to come.

  7. I read this for the first time last year, and of course, my expectations were very very high. So much that I was almost sure that even if it were a very good novel I would be a little disappointed in some way or other.

    I wasn't. Not in the least.

  8. Every time someone new reads TKAM I get all excited. It's like I'm reading it again. The movie was great, but there is so much more to the book.

  9. I just read Mockingbird this last summer and remember laughing (so I wouldn't cry!) at this passage.

  10. Just coming back to tell you that you won one of my books!

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  12. One of my favourite reads and I remember first reading it in school which seems perfect somehow with your post.

    The film came later for me and I fell in love all over again.

    It also made watching the film 'Capote' more interesting as well considering that Harper's a character in the film and Truman was the basis for one of the characters in her book.

  13. You've probably read my own similar thoughts on this and my weird resistance to it. I'm so glad that I went ahead and finally read it last year, it is such a wonderful book.

  14. To Kill a Mockingbird is an absolute classic. I'm glad you're enjoying it! I was required to read it several times in middle school (as a result of changing schools), but it's time that I re-read it.

  15. Nymeth, I felt the same going into it. I have about 100 pages left, and I'm not disappointed AT ALL! Yay for great books!

    Amen to that, Kristy! Thank you soooo much for sending it to me.

    Booklogged, I've done that a lot with this book. And other times I've just flat out cried. lol

    Dale, watching Capote (and the recommendations of so many friends) is what really made me take the plunge...finally! I'm very interested in Harper Lee as a person and an author, and I just couldn't not read the book any longer. I'll be reading Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms in May for the Year of Reading Dangerously, too. Love him.

    Same here, Carl! It was about time. :)

    Katherine, this is one I'll definitely re-read. It's going right on the keeper classic shelf when I get done.


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