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Musings: To Kill A Mockingbird

I think most book-lovers have that one special book that ‘started it all’, don’t they? Started that fervent desire to read and read, across all genres and styles, because of the simple joy that comes from reading.

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, was mine. 

I know I’ve already made a post about Harper Lee on this blog, but I was speaking to someone about why I love reading so much and I was reminded of the important place this book has in my life.

I had to read it for my GCSE exam (10 years ago now, and I’ve read it many times since then, as you can tell from the corners of my copy in this picture). It was the first time I truly appreciated how much skill and creativity authors use in their plotting, and in bringing characters to life. I noticed it as I read it, but because I was studying it, my attention was really focussed on all the techniques Lee uses. On the recurring ‘mockingbird’ image, on the effects of the retrospective narration, on the contextual material of race relations, but most importantly, on how she expresses how complex human morality and behaviour really is. 

However despicable various characters’ actions are, they’re not melodramatic or sensationalist in my opinion. Lee makes sure that each person’s motivations are essentially ‘human’ (if you like), that they all feel like they could exist in real life. In some stories, this might not matter quite so much, but I think it really adds something to my enjoyment of this novel every time I read it that I can relate to these characters.

It’s also simply a great story: entertaining, funny, tense, a real-page turner, in my opinion. And so many characters love reading. I can definitely relate to that!

Reading To Kill A Mockingbird broadened my interest in literature: I started looking beyond the teenage/young adult sections in book shops and libraries (although the fiction for teen/young adults was and continues to be fantastic). I just wanted to experience the variety of stories and writing styles on offer, from authors past and contemporary, to delve into all these different worlds and characters’ lives. 

To Kill A Mockingbird really did change my experience of reading for the better in every way. That’s why I couldn’t resist another post about it. 

Does anyone else have a book like this, that has special meaning in their lives? 

Have you all read To Kill A Mockingbird?

Wishing you all a lovely day!

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