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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird (original 1960; edition 1988)

by Harper Lee

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49,58195110 (4.4)2 / 1869
Title:To Kill a Mockingbird
Authors:Harper Lee
Info:Grand Central Publishing (1988), Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Read, Read but unowned
Tags:US, belles lettres, 1930s, read in 2012, source-internet

Work details

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)

  1. 282
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (loriephillips)
  2. 2914
    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Caramellunacy, rosylibrarian)
    Caramellunacy: Both stories are about a young girl in the South coming to terms with racism. Secret Life of Bees features an teenaged protagonist whereas To Kill a Mockingbird's Scout is quite a bit younger, but I thought there were themes that resonated between the two.… (more)
  3. 238
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (paulkid)
    paulkid: There are many similarities between these books. For example, a strong father-daughter relationship, where the father teaches by example by taking the moral high ground in protecting a persecuted minority - also kids that break down the barriers between secluded and socially awkward neighbors through books and sundry shenanigans.… (more)
  4. 217
    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (dele2451, rosylibrarian, chrisharpe)
  5. 174
    Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (Caramellunacy, Anonymous user, Anonymous user)
    Caramellunacy: Both stories about a young girl coming of age in the South and racial intolerance. Also both beautiful reads! To Kill a Mockingbird is told by Scout Finch - the daughter of the town lawyer called upon to defend an African-American man accused of rape. Roll of Thunder is told from the point of view of the daughter of a cotton-picking family who only slowly grows to realize the extent of prejudice her family faces.… (more)
  6. 143
    Snow Falling on Cedars: A Novel by David Guterson (EerierIdyllMeme)
    EerierIdyllMeme: Very different novels exploring similar themes
  7. 100
    Native Son by Richard Wright (DanLovesAlice)
    DanLovesAlice: An African-American facing an uphill battle against a highly prejudiced jury and public. Wright, like Lee, explores the dangers of the stereotypes created by insular and ignorant societies.
  8. 100
    Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (wisewoman)
    wisewoman: These books share a precocious narrator, vital family relationships, and themes that are funny and sad and thought provoking all at the same time. Extremely well written and engaging.
  9. 80
    Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote (Othemts)
    Othemts: These books are two sides of the same coin of life in a small Alabama town. Where there's dignity and hope in Mockingbird, Other Voices is decadence and demoralization
  10. 83
    Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (bnbookgirl)
  11. 51
    Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian (eclt83)
    eclt83: Goodnight, Mr Tom is as touching as To kill a mockingbird. Problems in society causes pain for the weaker.
  12. 51
    Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence (kxlly)
  13. 40
    The Stones Of Mourning Creek by Diane Les Becquets (Sadie-rae_Kieran)
    Sadie-rae_Kieran: Similar setting, 1960's in the south. Deals with some similar issues as well,including racism/discrimination. Though sad at times, a beautiful and touching story.
  14. 74
    A Painted House by John Grisham (infiniteletters)
  15. 41
    Home by Toni Morrison (Louve_de_mer)
    Louve_de_mer: Pour les problèmes de ségrégation raciale aux États-Unis.
  16. 41
    Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (chrisharpe)
  17. 41
    A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines (rarm)
  18. 31
    The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter van Tilburg Clark (mysterymax)
    mysterymax: This book also explores mob/vigilante thinking and is a classic in its own way.
  19. 31
    Scottsboro Boy by Haywood Patterson (lilithcat)
    lilithcat: For the real story of race relations in Alabama in the thirties, read this autobiography of Haywood Patterson, one of several young black men judicially railroaded for the rape of two young white women, and sentenced to death. A national and international campaign ultimately resulted in their exonerations, but their lives had already been destroyed.… (more)
  20. 42
    The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (LKAYC)

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Showing 1-5 of 912 (next | show all)
Yes, I know. Most people read this when they were in high school. To be honest, I don’t remember what the book was we read in high school. That is probably because I blasted through about a couple hundred books a year. But, I know that To Kill a Mockingbird was not one of them. I did see the movie, as I said in my review of Go Set a Watchman.

So, I should start with that. Its not that the movie didn’t bear any resemblance to the book. It was actually quite accurate. At least as far as the portion they took the scalpel to in order to remove what they wanted. But, the movie starts with the kids in front of the court house with Atticus. That was more than 9 chapters into the book.

I understand why this book got the high reviews and praise that it did. It is haunting and picturesque and a delight to the senses. Admittedly, I think the fact that I listened to it on Audio added to that, as Sissy Spacek was the reader for it. I don’t believe they could have found a more perfect choice of reader for Harper Lee’s book than Sissy.

To Kill a Mockingbird has been on the Banned Book list for a laundry list of reasons since it was first published, including that it was published under protest of the publisher because of the content. The reality is that with the negative comments about blacks, including the word nigger, you also have the white trash elements, the class division that existed/probably still exists in the South. The book speaks as its characters would have, thinks as they would have, behaves as they would have. You cannot take an eraser to the words you don’t like and pretend that they were never used. That the good an upstanding citizens of the south did not use them. They did. And the bigotry in the book is as real as the words that depict it. As are the complexities of many of the characters.

And I think that is the genius of the book. She shows you the humanness of all of the characters, even the most vile of them. She gives them history and a voice. You can still hate many of their words, their actions, but its tempered with a taste of understanding as well. For Harper places their shoes upon your feet and sends you for a walk along their path.

The book is far more about the Fitch family, the children, Scout and Jem, their father Atticus, and their aunt Alexandra. Its about growing up in a small town and full of memories many of us can relate to such as treasure finding, daring each other into scary places, and trying to understand the world of the grownups. Its full of family secrets both win their family as well as whispered secrets about their neighbors.

The section carved out for the movie is but a sampling of what the book is about. It is more to show the reality of the times, and what the law held for a black man accused in that time frame of a charge of rape. It also shows how a small town, through this case, begins to have a struggle of conscience as it is growing and beginning to move beyond some of the prejudices. For just as hate and prejudice don’t emerge overnight, they also do not go away overnight. And that is one of the shining lights of the book. To see how the community begins to mature and take a few more baby steps to being a bit more enlightened.

I hope we never see the banning of books such as this. They are a slipping back into time, where many things were much simpler, where people took the time to swim in a creek and believe in ghosts in the neighbor house. That the people often acted only as they had been taught how. And even the darker things such as rape and the treatment of blacks, it offers a treatise on how far we have come. We should never erase or forget the words of our past. For if we do, we are doomed to repeat them.

I don’t know that I agree in having To Kill a Mockingbird as a student requited reading. I don’t think the young people will understand it the way that it should be understood. Or if they are, they should be given it in a way that they are given the history and lessons of the book in a way for them to truly experience what it meant to live in that time, that place. In a way that it is more than just words on paper.

Harper Lee has recreated life in the south in a way that only someone from there can. If you are like me and have never read it, do yourself a favor and change that. Read it, breath it, then close your eyes and dream it.

November 2015 ( )
  sephibitchwitch | Nov 29, 2015 |
I read this again...I believe it is the 5th time I have read it...it really is that good! ( )
  AR_bookbird | Nov 20, 2015 |
What a wonderful re-read this was. The last time I read it was about 10 years ago. What struck me this time was the dignity and old-fashioned nobility in Atticus' character and in his respect for his 2 children, something that doesn't come across in many books written in that time. Scout's childhood voice is one of my favorites and the loss of innocence theme is handled deftly and doesn't strike the reader like a blunt end of a hammer as it does in some books. The book has so much to "teach" us, still, about respect and acceptance for fellow humans. ( )
  cjazzlee | Nov 13, 2015 |
I may have read this when I was younger, but I don't remember when. I know I've seen the movie a couple of times and just bought it to watch again. It's a wonderful story and was read expertly by Sissy Spacek. I liked that it was first person from Scout's perspective, but it may have appealed to boys more if it was third person or even first person from Jem's perspective. I read this because I wanted to read the author's other book, but I didn't even think about it when I was deep into this one. Now, I'm looking forward to it. ( )
  eliorajoy | Nov 8, 2015 |
Lee has this style of writing that is so Southern, but so...not. I can't describe how she makes you feel like you're in the South without depending on the dialect. You can feel the slow pace and the dusty roads, you can hear the neighbors gossiping on the porch and lowering their voices to whispers as you walk by. She accomplishes all this and more without employing an excessive amount of y'alls, ya hears, ain'ts, and other Southern phrases that are often overused to try and set the scene.

And the characters, wow. I fell head over heels for Atticus. So smart and reserved, a good father, an honest man. Jem is a really realistic pre-teen boy, if I remember my brother at that age. Scout is the typical tomboy, trying to hold on to her brother as long as she can, if I remember me at that age. Scout reminds me of Ramona Quimby, and for a long time I wanted to be each of them. Good role models.

I think it also says something about the characters and the writing (as much as the power of the story itself) that I could read it and still feel the punch in certain scenes, still cry in certain scenes, still get my hopes up, even though I already knew what was going to happen. This is a novel where the fun is in reading it, not knowing it. It's timeless. ( )
  howifeelaboutbooks | Nov 4, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 912 (next | show all)
Author Lee, 34, an Alabaman, has written her first novel with all of the tactile brilliance and none of the preciosity generally supposed to be standard swamp-warfare issue for Southern writers. The novel is an account of an awakening to good and evil, and a faint catechistic flavor may have been inevitable. But it is faint indeed; Novelist Lee's prose has an edge that cuts through cant, and she teaches the reader an astonishing number of useful truths about little girls and about Southern life.
added by LT_Ammar | editTime
The dialogue of Miss Lee's refreshingly varied characters is a constant delight in its authenticity and swift revelation of personality. The events connecting the Finches with the Ewell-Robinson lawsuit develop quietly and logically, unifying the plot and dramatizing the author's level-headed plea for interracial understanding... Moviegoing readers will be able to cast most of the roles very quickly, but it is no disparagement of Miss Lee's winning book to say that it could be the basis of an excellent film.
added by LT_Ammar | editThe New York Times Book Review, Frank H. Lyell
Its sentiments and moral grandeur are as unimpeachable as the character of its hero, Atticus. ... It's time to stop pretending that "To Kill a Mockingbird" is some kind of timeless classic that ranks with the great works of American literature. Its bloodless liberal humanism is sadly dated, as pristinely preserved in its pages as the dinosaur DNA in "Jurassic Park."
added by LT_Ammar | editThe Wall Street Journal, Allen Barra
A book that we thought instructed us about the world tells us, instead, about the limitations of Jim Crow liberalism in Maycomb, Alabama.
added by LT_Ammar | editThe New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell
There are some improbable and sentimental moments in the story, but there are also great moments of laughter that belong to memory and a novelist's hand... Miss Lee's original characters are people to cherish in this winning first novel by a fresh writer with something significant to say, South and North.
added by LT_Ammar | editThe New York Times, Herbert Mitgang

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lee, Harperprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brouwer, AafkeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Agostino Schanzer, AmaliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edinga, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elster, MagliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
French, AlbertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaskin, NinaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hausser, IsabellePostfacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malignon, ClaireTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Noli, SuzanneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porta, BaldomeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prichard, RosesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sønsteng, GryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spacek, SissyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stoïanov, IsabelleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westerlund, MaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westrup, Jadwiga P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.
~ Charles Lamb
For Mr. Lee and Alice
in consideration of Love & Affection
First words
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.
Please spare Mockingbird an Introduction. (From the Foreword by Harper Lee)
Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.
People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.
They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions, 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.
Not from, but about To Kill a Mockingbird, with apologies:

Monroeville, Alabama
January, 1966

Editor, The News Leader:

Recently I have received echoes down this way of the Hanover County School Board’s activities, and what I’ve heard makes me wonder if any of its members can read.

Surely it is plain to the simplest intelligence that “To Kill a Mockingbird” spells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners. To hear that the novel is “immoral” has made me count the years between now and 1984, for I have yet to come across a better example of doublethink.

I feel, however, that the problem is one of illiteracy, not Marxism. Therefore I enclose a small contribution to the Beadle Bumble Fund that I hope will be used to enroll the Hanover County School Board in any first grade of its choice.

Harper Lee
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.' To Kill A Mockingbird is a coming of age story set in the deep south during the time of the Great Depression. Atticus Finch, father of Scout and Jem decides to represent a black man, accused of raping a white woman, in court. Although this stirs up the town during a much heated and racist time during America's history, it sheds a light on the hostility of the south during the 1930's. Filled with insight and suspense, To Kill A Mockingbird is a timeless story that any one can learn something from.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0446310786, Mass Market Paperback)

"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.... When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out."

Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up.

Like the slow-moving occupants of her fictional town, Lee takes her time getting to the heart of her tale; we first meet the Finches the summer before Scout's first year at school. She, her brother, and Dill Harris, a boy who spends the summers with his aunt in Maycomb, while away the hours reenacting scenes from Dracula and plotting ways to get a peek at the town bogeyman, Boo Radley. At first the circumstances surrounding the alleged rape of Mayella Ewell, the daughter of a drunk and violent white farmer, barely penetrate the children's consciousness. Then Atticus is called on to defend the accused, Tom Robinson, and soon Scout and Jem find themselves caught up in events beyond their understanding. During the trial, the town exhibits its ugly side, but Lee offers plenty of counterbalance as well--in the struggle of an elderly woman to overcome her morphine habit before she dies; in the heroism of Atticus Finch, standing up for what he knows is right; and finally in Scout's hard-won understanding that most people are essentially kind "when you really see them." By turns funny, wise, and heartbreaking, To Kill a Mockingbird is one classic that continues to speak to new generations, and deserves to be reread often. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:38 -0400)

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The explosion of racial hate in an Alabama town is viewed by a little girl whose father defends a black man accused of rape.

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