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To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)

by Harper Lee

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
63,332124012 (4.38)2 / 2298
The explosion of racial hate in an Alabama town is viewed by a little girl whose father defends a black man accused of rape.
  1. 3013
    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)
  2. 256
    The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (dele2451, rosylibrarian, chrisharpe)
  3. 279
    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. 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)
  5. 173
    Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (EerierIdyllMeme)
    EerierIdyllMeme: Very different novels exploring similar themes
  6. 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.
  7. 101
    Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (atimco)
    atimco: 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. 102
    Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (bnbookgirl)
  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. 71
    Goodnight Mister 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.
  11. 84
    A Painted House by John Grisham (infiniteletters)
  12. 51
    A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines (rarm)
  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. 62
    The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (LKAYC)
  15. 51
    Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (chrisharpe)
  16. 51
    Home by Toni Morrison (Louve_de_mer)
    Louve_de_mer: Pour les problèmes de ségrégation raciale aux États-Unis.
  17. 84
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (aamirq)
  18. 62
    Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence (kxlly)
  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 45 recommendations)

Romans (41)
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Showing 1-5 of 1181 (next | show all)
Like countless others before me, I fell in love with To Kill a Mockingbird. I read it for the first time in 8th grade and I've returned to my old favorite many times since. Each time I reread it, I find a new facet to appreciate. From racism and untraditional friendships, to parent-child relationships and the fight for justice, Lee's novel is full of time enduring and relevant subjects. ( )
  NicoleGable | Jul 9, 2020 |
I always get a little nervous before reading classic works like To Kill a Mockingbird. All too aware of how good the book is supposed to be I - perversely - start worrying that I won't like it. What if it's dull and trite and pretentious? What if it's only famous because it's old enough for learned scholars to have analysed it to death and decided it's a paradigm of postfeminist premodernist literature, or something? What if, secretly, everyone just likes the film but claims to like the book in a misguided attempt to look refined?

Obviously my misgivings are usually unfounded; [b:Heart of Darkness|1836885|Heart of Darkness (English Penguin Library)|Joseph Conrad|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1189005950s/1836885.jpg|2877220] is the only 'classic' I've read that left me underwhelmed. And Mockingbird was a sheer delight to read. I've not actually seen the film and only knew that the story involved a white lawyer defending a black man in pre-WW2 Alabama. But that's like saying Les Misérables is about a French guy stealing some bread. The book is about race and sex, and about adulthood as viewed by the untarnished eyes of a child, and Harper Lee tells it beautifully. ( )
  imlee | Jul 7, 2020 |
I always get a little nervous before reading classic works like To Kill a Mockingbird. All too aware of how good the book is supposed to be I - perversely - start worrying that I won't like it. What if it's dull and trite and pretentious? What if it's only famous because it's old enough for learned scholars to have analysed it to death and decided it's a paradigm of postfeminist premodernist literature, or something? What if, secretly, everyone just likes the film but claims to like the book in a misguided attempt to look refined?

Obviously my misgivings are usually unfounded; [b:Heart of Darkness|1836885|Heart of Darkness (English Penguin Library)|Joseph Conrad|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1189005950s/1836885.jpg|2877220] is the only 'classic' I've read that left me underwhelmed. And Mockingbird was a sheer delight to read. I've not actually seen the film and only knew that the story involved a white lawyer defending a black man in pre-WW2 Alabama. But that's like saying Les Misérables is about a French guy stealing some bread. The book is about race and sex, and about adulthood as viewed by the untarnished eyes of a child, and Harper Lee tells it beautifully. ( )
  leezeebee | Jul 6, 2020 |
Backcover:

Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird

There have been very few books I can count that I know that I will continue to read for years.

Off the top of my head some of my 'will always read books' includes everything Madeline L'Engle wrote. I always re-read The Secret Garden when I am not feeling well and stuck in bed. I absolutely love Stephen King's The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. And Judith McNaught's Whitney, My Love gets me every time even though it's problematic in all of my re-reads. I can now add To Kill a Mockingbird as one of my 'will always read books'.

I am sure better reviews have been written about this book but all I can say is, 'well done.' This book made me think and grieve for fictional characters like I haven't done since Stephen King's The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower 7).

The main character of Scout Finch is six years old when the story starts. We follow Scout, her family, and the town of Maycomb, Alabama from 1933 through 1935.

Scout is a precocious child as is her older brother Jem. We find out that Scout has lost her mother when she was a baby and is raised by Atticus and their black housekeeper Calpurnia. We also have the children's friend Dill who visits in the Summer and who Scout reckons she will marry when she is older. The children become fascinated with the Finch's neighbors the Radley's and make up stories about the housebound Arthur (called Boo by the children) and without realizing it Boo has noticed the children and leaves them tokens of his affection.

Though Scout sees her father that she calls Atticus (yeah that would not have flown in my house at all) as old and not really good at anything she slowly gets her eyes opened to how brave her father is and how much the town sees him as its moral center.

There are shifting plots in To Kill A Mockingbird, but all of them intertwine and work together very well. The main plot of this book is that of Atticus defending Tom Robinson, a black man who is accused of rape of a 19 year old girl.

Courage is when you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.

The trial scenes in the book that Ms. Lee describes made me hold my breath. She did such a good job I felt as if I was sitting next to Scout, Jem, and their friend Dill as they listened to what Tom was being accused of. I was right there with Dill crying inside at the horribleness of people to stand by and let someone be accused of something that all parties had to realize was a lie and treating people differently just because they are not white.

The closing oral argument that Atticus Finch said to the jury was perfect in every way.

Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passin'.

Ms. Lee's look at race relations in this book I thought was topical in the 1960s when it was written and is still a topical conversation in 2015. I initially posted that the constant use of the "n" word kept throwing me in this book and after any character used it I flinched. I know that it was totally true how people spoke about blacks in this country, but it still makes me grieve a little inside that people were casually racist back then. Heck even the character of Mr. Link Deas that I was rooting for made me irritated every time he kept referring to Tom Robinson's wife Helen, as his girl.

I think most people like to claim in this country that there is no racism and people are really not prejudice at all and then I remind them look at the recent deaths of black men and women in this country. Tell me that we still don't have a problem with race. We demonized black men and women in this country because there are still racist notions in most Americans mind that black men and women are bigger, aggressive, and can kill them.

I was really appalled at a lot of comments I read on articles dealing with the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. You sometimes forget how ugly people still are in the U.S. Heck, read any articles talking about President Barack Obama sometime.

I am never not going to be thankful about being born in a different time and place. I know I am lucky to be doing what I am doing, to have the right to vote, to be able to sit where I want and not have anyone think that just because I am of a different race that I don't matter. I fought really hard to be where I am in my career and life and it still galls me that I know that some people think that I only have this job because I am a black woman. Some people will never think it could possibly be because I kick butt at my job.

Continuing the discussion of race is the character of Calpurina that takes care of Jem and Scout and who she considers her children. Calpurnia really got to me since I feel a little like her too. She speaks "right" at home with the Finch's, but when she is at her black church she speaks just like the other members of the congregation. I loved her conversation with Scout and Jem explaining it would be like putting on airs. I realize that I do this as well. I don't lapse into "black speech" when I am back home in PA. I call it my hometown patois. Honestly, I didn't even consciously realize that I do this until I read that passage in this book.

The ending though, that about did me in. This right here is my favorite passage in the book. There are so many passages I love, but this one made me close the book for a second and re-read it again and again.

It was summertime, and the children came closer.
A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishing-pole behind him.
A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips.
Summertime, and his children played in the front yard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention.
It was fall, and his children fought on the sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose's.
The boy helped his sister to her feet, and they made their way home.
Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day's woes and triumphs on their faces.
They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled, apprehensive.
Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house.
Winter, and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and shot a dog.
Summer, and he watched his children's heart break.
Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him.

I plan on watching the movie this weekend since this Monday is a federal holiday. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 1181 (next | show all)
Mockingbird is not necessarily as widely admired among scholars of US literature as it is among its fans. I once enraged an audience of very nice book-lovers at the Cheltenham literary festival by suggesting that Mockingbird was just the teensiest bit overrated. There are many reasons for this assessment, not least the feeling that Atticus Finch’s famous moral rectitude is, in point of fact, disturbingly flexible. He tells Scout: “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.” That’s all well and good, and a fine American sentiment that goes at least back to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. But part of Mark Twain’s radical move in that novel is to make his hero an illiterate backwoods boy; Lee’s hero is a virtuous, middle-class white man, full of noblesse oblige to the black people he defends (who revere him for it), but who doesn’t bat an eyelid at the common knowledge that the illiterate, white-trash Mayella Ewell is regularly raped and beaten by her father.

added by SnootyBaronet | editThe Guardian
 
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 (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lee, Harperprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brouwer, AafkeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Agostino Schanzer, AmaliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Darling, SallyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edinga, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elster, MagliTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
French, AlbertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaskin, NinaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hausser, IsabellePostfacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hewgill, JodyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lualdi, Frank P.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malignon, ClaireTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Millman, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nissen, RudolfEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Noli, SuzanneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pines, Ned L.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porta, BaldomeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prichard, RosesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, KatherineIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sønsteng, GryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, ShirleyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spacek, SissyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stoïanov, IsabelleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westerlund, MaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westrup, Jadwiga P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, Andrewsecondary 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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Book description
"To Kill a Mockingbird" was my absolute favorite books to read in school. I would maybe wait to have students read this until middle High School but I think it can be a great learning experience for students. The topics of this book raises awareness about rape, racial inequality, and family. The way that my teacher in High School set up her lesson was that she had everyone in her classroom dress up like a character from a book and make everyone talk and act like that given character. It was fun to watch what everyone wanted to dress like so it will for sure go into my teacher toolbox.
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)

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