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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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48,19090312 (4.4)2 / 1753
Title:To Kill a Mockingbird
Authors:Harper Lee
Info:Grand Central Publishing (1988), Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Untitled collection
Tags:Harper Lee

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. 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. 110
    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.
  7. 133
    Snow Falling on Cedars: A Novel by David Guterson (EerierIdyllMeme)
    EerierIdyllMeme: Very different novels exploring similar themes
  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. 93
    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
    A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines (rarm)
  16. 41
    Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (chrisharpe)
  17. 42
    The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (LKAYC)
  18. 64
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (aamirq)
  19. 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.
  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 40 recommendations)

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1960s (157)
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Showing 1-5 of 870 (next | show all)
Even still today this novel is spellbinding. A recommended read for anyone interested in Southern Literature. If you are not acquainted with the lifestyle of small rural Southern towns during the 1930s and 1940s, you may miss the meaning of some of her comments in the novel. This book can be read over and over again and enjoyed every time. ( )
  jcozart | May 24, 2015 |
The lessons that this book dealt with considering all of the racial tension that was occurring spoke volumes for me. I like the book as well as the movie with Gregory Peck in it. ( )
  NoLabelsUnleashed | May 22, 2015 |
Really?!! I am writing a review of To Kill A Mockingbird? This beloved novel has been the subject of countless literary critiques, reviews, dissertations and high school book reports since its publication 50+ years ago. What could I possibly add? Just that this really is an American classic that accurately depicts the South before the Civil Rights Movement in all its beautiful and ugly glory. The characters of narrator Scout and her father Atticus are some of the best written. This is definitely a must-read, and if you are like me (I had never read it before) you need to put this one at the top of your TBR list. I listened to the audiobook, and Sissy Spacek did an outstanding job giving voice to Scout.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: teens to adults.

Great for Book Clubs. ( )
  vintagebeckie | May 21, 2015 |
I recommend listening to the audio of this book because coupled with the descriptive prose of the author and the perfectly portrayed reading of Sissy Spacek, I absolutely witnessed every event in the book; I lived it, I watched it, I felt it. It was an absolutely brilliant reading of a brilliant book with an abundance of messages about human nature and human behavior at its best and at its worst.

Early in the thirties, the effects of the Great Depression were raging. Jobs were scarce and money was hard to come by. Poor people found it hard to send their children to school because they were needed to help out on the farm or in other ways to provide for the family. They often went hungry. In the south, race relations were poor and the people of color were poorer. There were few civil rights afforded to blacks. They were oppressed by those who thought of themselves as better. They stood little chance of having a fair trial if accused of a crime or of improving their economic condition. They were at the mercy of whites, and some whites were evil. These were the times, rife with inequities, that this novel takes place.

There are several characters that play meaningful roles in the story:
1-Atticus Finch is as close as a human being can get to being a saint; he seems near perfect. He is calm, contemplative, kind and compassionate, fair and non-judgmental, and he has no desire whatsoever for retribution even when he has been wronged. He teaches by setting a good example for others and believes in always doing what is right. He has two children, Jeremy and Jean Louise. He raises them with the same values. His wife has died.
Atticus is a lawyer, and he has been appointed to defend a black man who has been accused of rape. Atticus knows it will be an uphill battle to defend him in Alabama, but he would never refuse the case. He believes that Tom Robinson, accused by Bob Ewell, a no-account in town who drinks and abuses his children, is innocent. He is disappointed and saddened by the state of the justice system regarding the treatment and trial of blacks accused of a crime. He vows to do his best, even when some townsfolk object to his defense of a black man whom they would rather see wrongfully punished for daring to touch a white girl, than shame the white man who is lying to protect himself simply because he can, in this white world. A black man simply has less value to them than even a man they know is a lowlife. Their arrogance and blindness propel them to behave this way.
2-Scout (Jean Louise), is the younger of the two children. She is the voice of this novel. Her voice, as a young child filled with innocence and wonder, is authentic. She is just entering kindergarten and is suddenly exposed to a world that is sometimes unjust and cruel. Scout is a bit more rambunctious than her older brother Jem. She is also "in love" with her playmate, Dill (Charles), and he, also very young, has professed his love for her. Scout adores Calpurnia.
3-Jem, (Jeremy) is more like his father. He is a careful thinker and as the older brother, he cares for and protects Scout who wants to do everything he does, even though he is older. He is not a saint, he is a boy who knows how to play as well as how to toil. Both children have enormous respect for their "older" father whom they call Atticus, not dad, throughout the book.
4-Calpurnia is the insightful, black maid/nanny who astutely cares for and helps to raise the Finch children. She is like part of the family. She has basically brought them up as a surrogate parent. She does everything their mother would have done, disciplining them, nourishing them and loving them. She knows how to read and write and speaks differently, in a more educated manner when she is working, than when she is at her home because it wouldn’t do to be “uppity” in her own neighborhood. She is acquainted with the young man that Atticus is defending. Both children genuinely care for and respect her.
5-Boo (Arthur Radley), is a developmentally challenged neighbor who keeps totally to himself and doesn’t speak. He is the neighborhood “freak”, and the children are wary of him. They have never seen him and attribute all sorts of character traits to him and relate stories about the nefarious things he might have done. Is he really a "gentle giant" quietly living his life?
6-Scout’s teacher, Miss Caroline, seemed largely unaware of the needs of the poor children or of the problems they faced preventing them from attending school. She resented Scout for knowing how to read before the rest of the class was taught. She seemed unprepared for her job and naïve, at best.

Each character played an important role in setting the scene, illustrating the atmosphere that often existed then in small and large towns, everywhere. Harper Lee, using, insight, wit and wisdom, has carefully drawn a picture of the race relations that existed down south with its prejudice and poverty, whites towards blacks and blacks toward whites, albeit in the latter case, with far less power and effect. She has articulated the ignorance and abject hatred that existed there in some quarters. It was widely known that blacks had far fewer advantages and little chance of proving their innocence when accused of a crime. It was a time when a black life was thought to be worth far less than a white life, and some may think that, even today. Even if the jury knew the accused was being framed, in the interest of preserving white superiority, they often convicted him as part of a conspiracy to maintain the status quo. A black man could simply not get away with any accusation a white person made, even though innocent. Their superiority had to be maintained at all costs. Still today, almost six decades since the book was published, the reader will wonder if much has changed, and upon careful reflection will realize, yes, much has truly changed, but some attitudes on both sides, black and white, have not. Still, one can hope that the guileless children, with their pure thoughts and trusting natures, will lead the way.

In this sweet narrative, related by Scout, a five year old, frank and open, honest and sincere in her thoughts, questions and spontaneous evaluations of events, the prevailing southern attitudes of the times, come to light. The class distinctions are apparent and the differences in treatment are very obvious. The children sometimes have more common sense than the adults. They are kinder and fairer and love without reservations.
***“I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way….” Music and lyrics written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed. ( )
  thewanderingjew | May 18, 2015 |
This book has a lot of different interesting parts to the plot. A lot of great teaching ideas.
  elindseyziegler | May 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 870 (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.

(summary from another edition)

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