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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird (original 1960; edition 1993)

by Harper Lee, David Johnson (Illustrator), Timothy S. Healy (Afterword)

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48,43891012 (4.4)2 / 1772
Title:To Kill a Mockingbird
Authors:Harper Lee
Other authors:David Johnson (Illustrator), Timothy S. Healy (Afterword)
Info:Reader's Digest Association (1993), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 309 pages
Collections:Read in 2012, Read but unowned
Tags:Alabama, racism, American South, Pulitzer Prize, American, illustrated, illustrated by David Johnson

Work details

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)

  1. 262
    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (loriephillips)
  2. 2814
    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. 228
    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. 164
    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. 133
    Snow Falling on Cedars: A Novel by David Guterson (EerierIdyllMeme)
    EerierIdyllMeme: Very different novels exploring similar themes
  7. 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.
  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. 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. 41
    Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (chrisharpe)
  15. 74
    A Painted House by John Grisham (infiniteletters)
  16. 41
    A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines (rarm)
  17. 31
    Home by Toni Morrison (Louve_de_mer)
    Louve_de_mer: Pour les problèmes de ségrégation raciale aux États-Unis.
  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. 64
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (aamirq)
  20. 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)

(see all 39 recommendations)

Romans (41)
1960s (157)
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Showing 1-5 of 875 (next | show all)
Rated as one of the best books ever written, I now know why. Set in a small town in southern Alabama during the height of the great depression, the story emphasizes some of the best qualities of human beings and contrasts these with some of the worst. Told in retrospect from the viewpoint of Jean Louise Finch, known as Scout, from the summer before she started school until a little after she started third grade, "To Kill a Mockingbird" chronicles the daily lives of the Finches and the happenings in and around Maycomb county. Scout tells the story almost as she is writing a diary. From the summer before she started first grade when she met Charles Baker Harris, who went by Dill and became her best summer time friend, until Halloween of her third grade year and a night that would forever change her family.

Scout tells the story in a somewhat naïve manner that is at time heart warming and other times comedic.She recounts the summers spent with Dill and Jem fondly, and Dill was forever plotting ways for them to catch a glimpse of the town's boogeyman, Arthur "Boo" Radley. Her story takes us back to a time when the entire country was struggling, where children respected their elders, honesty was tangible and people could actually go to bed without locking their doors and still feel safe. But while these virtues were extolled, humanity's rotten underbelly was exposed in the form prejudice and hatred.

While Scout recalls the lazy days of summer fun and tediousness of school, the focus of the story changes to Atticus, her attorney father, and his desire to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman. Despite Atticus's assurances that the town people were their friends, the entire Finch family suffers backstabbing remarks and innuendos. The outcome of the trial was a foregone conclusion, yet Atticus had made enemies from his desire to see all men equal under the law.

Some people also find out that what's right and the law are sometimes two different things, and sometimes justice just has a way of sneaking up on us. And to my mind, two quotes get to the heart of the matter in this book. First, sheriff Heck Tate explains to Atticus, "To my way of thinkin’, Mr. Finch, taking the one man who’s done you and this town a great service an’ draggin’ him with his shy ways into the limelight— to me, that’s a sin. It’s a sin and I’m not about to have it on my head. If it was any other man it’d be different. But not this man, Mr. Finch.” And second, when Atticus asks if Scout understood what the sheriff meant, she replied “'Yes sir, I understand, Mr. Tate was right.' Atticus disengaged himself and looked at me. 'What do you mean?' 'Well, it’d be sort of like shootin’ a mockingbird, wouldn’t it?'”

Lee, Harper (2014-07-08). To Kill a Mockingbird (Harperperennial Modern Classics) (p. 370). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Lee, Harper (2014-07-08). To Kill a Mockingbird (Harperperennial Modern Classics) (pp. 369-370). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
  NPJacobsen | Jun 18, 2015 |
Great classic, even though I had to read it in HS. Definitely worth a re-read. ( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
Scout Finch is our young protagonist in this coming of age story during the Great Depression. She lives with her father, Atticus and older brother Jem. Their mother died when Scout was only two years old. The two kids befriend Dill, a youngster who spends his summers in the neighborhood of Maycomb, Alabama. They play well together, and one of their favorite games is playacting the reclusive Radley family. The Radley place is very spooky, made even spookier with the retelling of stories about the family. The kids begin to find small little ‘gifts’ in the knothole of a tree on the Radley property.

Atticus is a lawyer and they are doing fairly well compared to many during the depression. The community is primarily white, and neighbors are shocked when Atticus agrees to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who’d been accused of raping a white woman. He is held in a local jail as the trial begins and a mob forms as people have their minds set and want to hang him.

Harper Lee won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 1961 for To Kill a Mockingbird. It was the only book published by Harper Lee until now. On July 14, there will be a long-awaited sequel called Go Set a Watchman. I liked all the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird and I loved the strength shown by Atticus and how he influenced his two children in the face of opposition. The beginning was fun – children will be children after all. Their antics, although not admirable, were fairly innocent. This is wonderfully told historical fiction set in the Deep South during one of the hardest times America has gone through. Rating: 4 out of 5. ( )
  FictionZeal | Jun 14, 2015 |
It's an American tradition to read "To Kill a Mockingbird" in middle school; it functions as a sort of passageway from childhood to adulthood.

This book explores much of the same. Scout and Jem begin the novel as young children, romping about in the glorious summer sun, spending their days devising playful plans to lure Boo Radley, a mysterious recluse, out of his house. Along the way, though, through Scout's original and genuine voice, we see Jem become a gentleman, and Scout a little lady in her own respect.

Harper Lee hit upon something that I carry in my heart every day: all people are good. We are the same. We strive to love, to do our best, and to survive, really. What is sad is how easily we forget.

"Scout: Naw, Jem, I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks. 
Jem: That's what I thought, too, when I was your age. If there's just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with each other? If they're all alike, why do they go out of their way to despise each other? Scout, I think I'm beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley's stayed shut up in the house all this time . . . it's because he WANTS to stay inside."

As Scout and Jem grow up, they begin to realize that their simplistic and easy-going childish morality isn't accepted by Aunt Alexandra and other members of "society". Although Scout never becomes quite the proper princess that her Aunt desired her to be, she does recognize that there are concessions to be made: she can wear a dress, she can offer cookies and compliments to her living room's guests, and other such trivial details. But, thanks to Atticus, Scout NEVER loses her young and true sense of right and wrong.

"Scout: An' they chased him 'n' never could catch him 'cause they didn't know what he looked like, an' Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things. . . Atticus, he was real nice. . .
Atticus: Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them."

What can one say about this book that hasn't already been said? I missed the hype--this is the first time I've ever picked the book up, even, at age 18--but I caught its beauty. In a few respects I'm glad that I read this book later rather than earlier. I wouldn't have had such a full appreciation for the simplicity, which sounds contradicting, but this is how I see it: as children, the world is simple. There is good and there is bad. As we become adults, though, we begin to get caught up in the nuances of morality, and prejudice, and gossip, opinion, crowd mentality, all of it.

"I don’t know [how they could do it], but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it—seems that only children weep."

To read this book as a child is to be told the obvious. To read this book as an adult is to be gently reminded... there is beauty in this world. Don't let yourself lose sight of it.

( )
  Proustitutes | Jun 11, 2015 |
In hot anticipation for Ms. Lee's soon to be released "Go Set a Watchman", I thought I'd go back to give "To Kill a Mockingbird" a look. The story did not suffer from over familiarity with story and characters. In fact, I can see it through a different, lawyerly lens. Atticus Finch is the attorney all of us wish to be: principled, dignified and willing to go the full length for our clients. Finch prefers to use his intellect and articulateness to conquer, not force, even if he once was a talented marksman. A colleague of mine has been so taken with the book, he has named his daughter Harper.

Sissy Spcek does a wonderful job narrating this audio version of this beloved tale. She captures just the right tone giving voice to young Scout Finch. If you want to give this a reread, or even are encountering for the first time, I encourage you to give the audiobook a chance. ( )
  michigantrumpet | Jun 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 875 (next | show all)
A book that we thought instructed us about the world tells us, instead, about the limitations of Jim Crow liberalism in Maycomb, Alabama.
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."
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 Shortride | editTime (pay site) (Aug 1, 1960)
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 Shortride | editThe New York Times, Herbert Mitgang (pay site) (Jul 13, 1960)
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.

» Add other authors (8 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
French, AlbertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gry SønstengTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hausser, IsabellePostfacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malignon, ClaireTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porta, BaldomeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prichard, RosesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sergel, ChristopherAdaptersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spacek, SissyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spacek, SissyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stoianov, IsabelleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stoianova, ITranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szymański, (tłumacz). MaciejTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westerlund, MaijaTranslatorsecondary 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:20 -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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