28 September 2010

Book report

I just finished To Kill A Mockingbird, and feel a bit like I'm unfashionably late to a party. You've all been standing there enjoying your cocktails and witty banter, and I show up having missed most of the evening. But my outfit is so cute I don't feel shame. I just slip into place and join the conversation, laughing a bit self-consciously to fit in.

I still don't understand how 42 years came and went without this most iconic of books crossing my path. Mom always said I was the most well-read kid she knew, and I had a fantastic American lit teacher in high school. But what a thrill to read it now, eyes wide open, reveling in the language and the story. To close the book a half hour ago, and stare at it, not moving, for several minutes, happy tears streaming down my face. We love to read for just those moments. I'm still surprised each time a book knocks the wind out of me, convinced it can't happen yet again. It does, randomly, not very often, but often enough to keep reading. What book will do it next? Over to the color-coded shelves I go.

Random bits:

Something particularly satisfying about reading from a borrowed hard-bound copy circa 1961. Thanks, Jerry and Judy. Just think, that's what was on the New in Hardcover table at the bookstore in days of yore. So nice to have seasoned neighbors.

People wonder why Harper Lee hasn't written anything else. My God, why would she?

I'm grateful that Westminster Town Hall Forum has scheduled this event for me. Anyone else want to go?

In conclusion, I love Scout. And Atticus and Jem and Dill and Boo and Tom and Maudie and several other minor characters. The End.


  1. You make ME want to re-read it now too! I loved that book growing up and am sure I would appreciate it on a completely different level today. And you're right - I love when a book knocks the breath out of you for a few seconds!

  2. Ditto to Kathryn - it's been far too long since I read this wonderful book! I sometimes wonder if my niece (Harper Elyse) is at least partly named after the author...

  3. There was a great piece on All Things Considered a few months back about Harper Lee and why she became almost as reclusive (and as unwillng to talk in public) as J.D. Salinger.

    Now that you have read the book, you should watch the movie. It's really good and captures Scout's perspective pretty well.


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