To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is probably one of the best books I've ever read.
I first read To Kill a Mockingbird in my sophomore year of high school. And it was amazing. I loved it when I read it then. But almost 10 years have passed, and my book club decided to read it, so I sat down Thursday and read it all over again. And I think I loved it even more this time.
There's basically three parts to this story: the first and main part is the childhood of the main character Jean Louise "Scout" Finch. This book was originally published in 1960, but it was set during the 1930s. Scout is a hell of a main character to come out of that time combination. She's sassy and relentless. She's damn near fearless. And she is exactly the opposite of what good society considers a little lady to be. The second part of the story is the tale of Scout's neighbor Boo Radley. He's a shut-in who has become more or less a town legend. Nobody has seen him in years, and when Dill--Scout's friend who is staying in town for the summers-- finds out about him, Dill just wants to get him to come out. Dill latches onto the idea with all the vigor of youth, and no adults can persuade them otherwise. Finally, the third story is a trial which Scout's father is working as a defense lawyer.
Lee intertwines these stories magnificently, and I have a hard time finding flaws in the story telling at all. My only irritation is that Scout frequently gets angry when her brother calls her a "girl" -- which is more of a product of the time, and my own continued irritation that being a girl is a bad thing than anything else.
I would recommend this to everyone. If for some reason, this wasn't required reading at your high school, pick it up, Even if it was required reading, give it another read. It's such a powerful novel.
Favorite Quotes: Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.
[B]efore I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself.
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.
Cry about the simple hell people give other people--without even thinking. Cry about the hell white people give colored folks, without even stopping to think that they're people, too.
He told me havin' a gun around's an invitation to somebody to shoot you.