To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (plows right into the top books I have read this year and top books I have read in my lifetime)

Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em,

but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Meet Jean Louise Finch, but do not call her that.  Call her Scout.  Scout is 8.  She lives with her slightly older brother Jem and her father Atticus who is a lawyer.  As they hang out and play in their neighborhood they become increasingly infatuated with a man named Boo Radley, who is 30 years old and has not been seen out of his home where he lives with for family for more years than Scout has been alive.  The imagination of Scout, Jem, and a boy named Dill get the best of them as they imagine the monster that must be Boo Radley.

Scout’s father Atticus becomes a defense attorney for a black man who is falsely accused of raping a white woman  in a time when that is just acceptable in the eyes of the towns people.  Scout and Jem become targets at school because of this and as the story progresses, the children see first hand the prejudices around them.

A book wrapped around the deep south, interesting and delightful characters such as Scout, Jem, and the infamous Boo, along with a father named Atticus and how his decision to defend the innocent, makes for all that is To Kill A Mockingbird.

When this book came up for the 50 Anniversary I knew I had to read it this year.  I thought I was one of the last people on earth who had not read To Kill A Mockingbird, but as the conversations came up about this book, I discovered there were a lot of people who have not read this book.

You know what else I discovered?

We are all missing something remarkable by not reading this.  I was so impressed by the writing of this book.  I can not stress that enough, Harper Lee is an amazing writer who writes with words that are just as relevant today as they were in 1960 when the book was first written.

The sixth grade seemed to please him from the beginning:  he went through a brief Egyptian Period that baffled me – he tried to walk flat a great deal, sticking one arm in front of him and one in back of him, putting one foot behind the other.  He declared Egyptians walked that way; I said if they did I didn’t see how they got anything done, but Jem said they accomplished more than the Americans ever did, they invented toilet paper and perpetual embalming, and asked where would we be today if they hadn’t?  Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 7

The words are poetic, rhythmic, I can’t even tell you how many times I was in awe of the writing, smiling to myself at how brilliantly written each line is.  Kicking myself again for thinking this would be another wordy hard to read classic that would no doubt give me a head ache before it was done.   I can not wait to see the movie!

When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness’ sake.  But don’t make a production of it.  Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles ’em.  ~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 9

In the end, I feel it is safe to say that this book just reached into the elite group that holds the spots of the best books I have ever read.     Everyone needs to read this book.

I received my review copy of this book from Harper Perennial

43 thoughts on “To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (plows right into the top books I have read this year and top books I have read in my lifetime)

  1. I read this when it first came out and saw the movie when it came out. So glad you liked it. It is one of the all time bests!

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all time favorite books as well. I was tickled to see that someone on has an entire storefront dedicated to jewelry related to this novel. It has been years since I have picked it up but once again I think that I am going to pull this off of the shelf and submerse myself in some truly classic literature that will continue delight readers for years to come. I am so glad that you enjoyed it!! Thanks for reminding me of WHY I enjoyed this novel so much!

  3. That does it! I’m buying it tomorrow at B&N. I read it in high school, but I don’t think I appreciated it as much then as I would now. Thanks Sheila! 🙂

    1. YAY Jill! This was not required reading for us in school – in fact other than The Lord Of The Rings in my Creative Writing Class, I do not recall and of the great ones that were required reading. I feel…. robbed.

      Glad I got to it now! 😀

  4. Yay, another Mockingbird lover is born! I finally just read this maybe three years ago (when I was about 35), and much like you, I thought, “This book is amazing! Why did I wait so long to read it?!?!?” Less than six months after reading the print version, I checked out the audio from the library — narrated by Sissy Spacek, and only released that previous year. Spacek is the perfect narrator for this perfect novel; I’ve listened to the audio twice. There are some books that I think nearly every book lover would enjoy, but To Kill a Mockingbird is the only book — I agree with you again! — that I recommend *everyone* should read, whether they’re “readers” or not. Thanks for your post, Sheila, and enjoy the film version! 😀

  5. I re-read this a few years ago, when my daughter was reading it for a class. I think I enjoyed it much more as an adult and a parent — particularly the author’s perspectives on growing up and education. Love the quotes you chose!

  6. I’ve never read this book before, and really should get it down off the shelf and give it a run this weekend. The movie; however, is one of my absolute favorites. Gregory Peck is phenomenal. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book and hope you enjoy the movie!!

  7. I am so glad you read it! It is one of those rare books that absolutely deserves all the kudo’s and hype that has been written about it. I hope your review encourages those who haven’t read it to give it a try. 🙂

  8. I read this for the first time as a required read in high school but I was already familiar with the story since my mom loved the movie. It’s such a good book! I actually read it again shortly before I started blogging.

  9. This book is a favorite of so many people. And although I have had it sitting on my shelf for so many years, I still have yet to pick it up and read it. But seeing all the wonderful praise of people discovering this treasure for the first time or rediscovering it on its 50th Anniversary really makes me want to pick it up FINALLY!

  10. Unfortunately I came through school before this was a classic. That is a bit frightening : ) I made sure we always had multiple copies at the library so it would be available for everyone. I know I have a copy somewhere (unless it is among the many things I forgot when I left). I have not seen the movie and unless I read it in college and forgot, I’ve not read the book. One of those things that is on my To Do list. It isn’t all that long and needs to be read. The civil Rights era encompassed my high school and college years.
    It is past time for me to read it and my husband has expressed interest. I’ll search my book shelves and if it isn’t there, get a copy.

    1. That is what surprises me so much Cori – no one ever told me you absolutely have to read this book. I knew it was said to be good – but seriously… it moved right up to top reads for me within the first hour of reading!

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