01 August 2010

Weekly Geeks: To Kill a Mockingbird

Weekly Geeks

July 11th marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, and arguably one of the most influential cultural books of its kind in the U.S. Have you read To Kill a Mockingbird? When did you first read it? Did it affect the way you think about race and class in the U.S.? Do you agree that it's an influential and/or important book? If you read the book but don't live in the U.S., how did the novel influence your opinions about race in the U.S.?
I have read To Kill a Mockingbird. Naturally it was courtesy of a high school English class; classic or not, I doubt I’d ever have gotten to it otherwise. Mid-twentieth-century isn’t really my preferred literary territory.

There’s confession #1. Now for #2: All I remember about it is being bored. Yes, I utterly failed to appreciate it. It didn’t influence the way I think about anything (not, admittedly, that America and its history are topics I much attention to). As for whether it’s influential and important ... it must be, mustn’t it, to have been considered so for so long?

In my defence, however ... I would point out that I was 13 or 14 when I read it, and the crucial issues of my life were grades and bullies - attaining the one and avoiding the other.


  1. I hated A Passage to India when I read it in school. I was 13-14 years old at that time. I came to love it after I read it in my 20s.

    Here is my Weekly Geeks post!

  2. I think that many times we are given books of "importance" at too young an age. I understand the benefits of exposure but also think that some books are "ruined" by not having the knowledge and maturity to appreciate them.

  3. I loved _To Kill A Mockingbird_ when I read it as a kid, but none of that was about the adult plot or the social message. All I cared about was Scout - it was functionally a children's book for me.


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Header image shows detail of A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776