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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
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To Kill a Mockingbird (original 1960; edition 1988)

by Harper Lee

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
52,46310738 (4.4)2 / 2012
Member:hungrytales
Title:To Kill a Mockingbird
Authors:Harper Lee
Info:Grand Central Publishing (1988), Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Read, Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:US, belles lettres, 1930s, read in 2012, source-internet

Work details

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)

  1. 302
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (loriephillips)
  2. 268
    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)
  3. 3014
    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)
  4. 247
    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (dele2451, rosylibrarian, chrisharpe)
  5. 184
    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. 173
    Snow Falling on Cedars: A Novel by David Guterson (EerierIdyllMeme)
    EerierIdyllMeme: Very different novels exploring similar themes
  7. 110
    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.
  8. 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.
  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. 103
    Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (bnbookgirl)
  11. 71
    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. 61
    Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence (kxlly)
  13. 84
    A Painted House by John Grisham (infiniteletters)
  14. 62
    The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (LKAYC)
  15. 51
    Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (chrisharpe)
  16. 51
    A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines (rarm)
  17. 51
    Home by Toni Morrison (Louve_de_mer)
    Louve_de_mer: Pour les problèmes de ségrégation raciale aux États-Unis.
  18. 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.
  19. 41
    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.
  20. 41
    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)

(see all 41 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 1024 (next | show all)
This is great chapter book that keeps you wanting to read more. Its a great take on racism in the past. ( )
  NaomiJohnston | Sep 26, 2016 |
Harper Lee captures a lot of southern culture in TKAM that ends up hitting me with a big dose of reminiscence every time I read it. Reminiscence and reflection on my current southern surroundings.

I received a copy of TKAM as part of a gift from a GR group's Secret Santa exchange this year. My reading has been all over the place during 2015 and I wasn't sure what to ask for because my interests have become rather inflated as a result. So I decided to list a couple of my favorite genres and request my Santa to send their favorite book along with a note about why. I got lucky with an awesome Santa who sent me TKAM and a very poignant note on her loving TKAM because each character is just trying to get through life the best they can and that's what we're all trying to do.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. I think it's what makes TKAM such a great read, what makes its characters stick with readers long after its last page.

What resonated with me most when I read this as a kid is what resonates most indelibly still, it's something Atticus says in chapter 11, "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."

I think Atticus speaks to one's conscience in the same way Jem speaks to one's pride and Scout speaks to one's impulse. As such, there are many lessons to be learned in TKAM that last a lifetime. Such as people being just people for good or bad, that we should love everyone, take a walk in another person's shoes in order to see where they're coming from, that racism is pure idiocy and the ongoing results of the fatalities of such idiocy, that we should help others, that the smallest voice can be heard, and more.

I look forward to rereading TKAM many times in my life and encourage others to revisit it if they haven't in awhile. You can't beat a book that invites such positive lessons into your life.

( )
  lamotamant | Sep 22, 2016 |
It's been about ten years since I last read To Kill a Mockingbird – in high school, natch – and over a year since I read Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee's ill-advised published draft that has some rather unusual things to say about Atticus Finch. Remarkably however, in reading To Kill a Mockingbird not much had changed for me.

The book remains as charming and fresh and composed as it did when I first read it. It is pointless going over all the old ground about the book; given its deserved reputation it's hard to say anything new about it. The writing is amiable, the characters rich and the message clear. There are essays written about the theme of killing a songbird, and the fact that Lee weaves this message in such a way that by the end it can apply equally and powerfully to any of Tom Robinson, Boo Radley or Scout Finch is incredibly impressive. The civil rights theme is also cleverly done: framing the trial through the children's eyes is genius, showing that it is prejudice and not fact which is determining the verdict. And there are certain scenes which stay with you even after a decade: Atticus with the light on the jailhouse steps; the laughter from inside the Radley house as Scout takes a tumble; Boo wrapping a blanket around a shivering Scout; "Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'." And I've not even mentioned Jem, or Dill, or Heck Tate on the porch, or the fragile Mayella Ewell, or any other number of minor characters who are brought to vivid life. It is certainly a wonder – privacy issues by the by – that such an assured writer as the late Harper Lee never really wrote again.

However, my impressions on reading this novel a second time in my life were dominated by one thought: concerns about how my approach to Atticus Finch would have changed after Go Set a Watchman. Surprisingly, and gratefully, it hadn't much. Atticus is still Atticus. He knows his children, and has the parental knack of "making [them] feel right when things went wrong" (pg. 285). The only thing that changes in light of Watchman is the scene on the porch at the end, when Atticus betrays some of his anxieties to Heck Tate. This is interesting in light of later revelations dragged out by a 21st-century publisher. Before Watchman, we dismissed this as a rather silly anxious thing for Atticus to say. This shining light, a model parent, saying he was no good as a parent and struggled to live his life in a way that he could look his children in the eye? It seemed absurd. Now, with post-Watchman Atticus certainly more fallible, it makes him all the more human.

And that is important. It makes his conduct even more impressive; he is not an incorruptible Christ-like saviour, a trap readers often fell into before 2015. He is a flawed man trying to live by a code, trying to provide an example even if he didn't always think he lived up to it, or could live up to it. But "when you and Jem are grown, maybe you'll look back on this with some compassion and some feeling that I didn't let you down," Atticus says on page 116. And whatever his later actions or beliefs, he didn't let them (or us) down then. He stood on those jailhouse steps; he spoke in that courtroom. Whatever came later, in those moments he was an example. "It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived," Scout confides on page 111. That's still the case.

And, in a way, it's because Atticus' stock is so high that we struggle with Watchman's revelations. Anyone else would have been persona non grata right away. Maybe he'll be forever tarnished now (and, in my review of Go Set a Watchman, I lamented its draft form and that Harper Lee never exploited the revelations to the full, which would have made the decision more forgivable). But it's worth remembering Miss Maudie's porch ponderings on the Tom Robinson case in Mockingbird, on page 238: "Atticus Finch won't win, he can't win, but he's the only man in these parts who can keep a jury out so long in a case like that." And it's the same here: it's testament to how remarkably Harper Lee initially portrayed him in To Kill a Mockingbird that the jury is still out. ( )
1 vote MikeFutcher | Sep 21, 2016 |
The first few pages were incredibly boring and took me months to get through, after that i read it in a day. ( )
  katcoviello | Sep 21, 2016 |
I had a much greater appreciation and understanding rereading this than when I first read it in high school. Excellent, excellent, excellent. ( )
  EllAreBee | Sep 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 1024 (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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Epigraph
Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.
~ Charles Lamb
Dedication
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)
Quotations
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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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
'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
Scout recalls her youth
Mad dogs, rabid mob threaten
Lawyer Dad defends.
(pickupsticks)
Dad says it's O.K
To kill a blue jay. But not
A mockingbird. Why?
(pickupsticks)

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)

(see all 13 descriptions)

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

(summary from another edition)

» see all 22 descriptions

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