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I’m assuming you read it more than once. Pretty much everybody I know has. To Kill a Mockingbird is now fifty years old. I was ten or eleven when I read it for the first time, and I loved it so much I can still tell you exactly what I wore (plaid pedal pushers) and ate (orange double popsicles), what the air felt like around me (hot) and the glimmer of the flashlight losing battery power as I stayed up extra late to finish. I remember staring at the tree on the cover and trying to picture the characters. I loved Scout. She talked and thought like me, and Atticus reminded me of my dad. I had never heard of rape before, and didn’t realize it was sexual until years later. Racial prejudice did not exist in my town in upstate New York, so it all seemed very exotic and tense to me. But Scout felt so real to me. I’ve read this book several times through the years, and there’s always something new to discover.
It was the only novel she ever published. A tough act to follow. She dedicated her life to books and education, and now lives in New York City and Monroeville, Alabama. I think the only person who has her number is Oprah.
Here is the summary from Writers’ Almanac:
Congrats to Janie–you won the www.random.org virtual drawing for a copy of Anjali‘s book and Just Breathe! Very cool that you support the Humane Society because Anj totally does. See the bottom of this post for today’s drawing.
Interesting question posed by my friend Suzanne the other day:
Who did you lust after at age 14?
In literature, people. We’re looking for a heartthrob that went viral, starting with a book–like Edward Cullen in the Twilight books. Readers fell in love with Edward, and then they fell in love with Robert Pattinson in the movie.In literature. We’re looking for a heartthrob that went viral, starting with a book–like Edward Cullen in the Twilight books. Readers fell in love with Edward, and then they fell in love with Robert Pattinson in the movie.What character could you not stop thinking about?Well, lessee. I came up with a few.Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger, as played by Mark Lester and Jack Wild in the Disney musical “Oliver!” — I remember plastering their Tiger Beat posters all over my room.And there was Ponyboy Curtis in THE OUTSIDERS. The movie didn’t come until years after the book and I can’t remember who played him. But I had a paperback version of The Outsiders with a photographic cover, and I was obsessed with the boy in the photo. I wanted to marry him.Oliver Barrett (played in the movie by Ryan O’Neal) in Love StoryLouis & Lestat in Interview With the Vampire (1976)Here are a couple from my mother’s generation:Heathcliff (played in the movie by Laurence Olivier) from Wuthering Heightsand Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind.But to me, the winner is the timeless object of lust, but especially as played by Colin Firth:Fitzwilliam Darcy. I didn’t read the book until I was sixteen, but I swooned over that man, and when Colin played him, I knew I could die happy.It’s hard to think of books that went viral like Twilight! Probably Outsiders.music & filmJackson Brownethe BeatlesShawn CassidyDavid CassidyJohn TravoltaMichael JacksonDonny OsmondBobby ShermanFreddy PrinzRobert Redford/Paul Newman (tho they’re older)Andy Gibb—– Original Message —–From: Suzanne SelforsTo: susan WiggsSent: Friday, May 01, 2009 5:53 PMSubject: conferenceI have to do a 20 minute thing about summer reading and I’m trying to figure out if there was an Edward (Vampire in Twilight) equivalent for my generation, in literature?
It took me a while to think of a parallel from the Ancient Past. But I came up with a few. Remember any of these?
Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger, as played by Mark Lester and Jack Wild in the Disney musical “Oliver!” — I remember plastering their Tiger Beat posters all over my room.
And there was Ponyboy Curtis in The Outsiders. The movie didn’t come out until years after the book and I can’t remember who played him. But I had a paperback version of The Outsiders with a photographic cover, and I was obsessed with the boy in the photo. I wanted to marry him.
Other contenders: Oliver Barrett (played in the movie by Ryan O’Neal) in Love Story
Louis & Lestat in Interview With the Vampire, later played by Tom and Brad.
Romeo has been played by a couple of tasty morsels:
Leonard v Leo? How are we supposed to choose?
Here are some from my mother’s generation:
Heathcliff (played in the movie by Laurence Olivier) from Wuthering Heights
and Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind.
But to me, the winner is that timeless object of lust, especially as played by Colin Firth:
Fitzwilliam Darcy. I didn’t read the book until I was sixteen, but I swooned over that man, and when Colin played him, I knew I could die happy.
Your turn! Post your pre-teen crush (from a book that later became a movie) in Comments and you’re automatically entered in the drawing for Just Breathe AND a copy of the latest in Romeo & Juliet stories, Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors.
In my Shelf Awareness feature, I admitted to this:
Book you’ve faked reading: Du Coté de Chez Swann by Marcel Proust. In French. I was trying to impress a professor who I later learned was gay. Quel dommage!
I wish I could be more patient with this book, because the bits and pieces I’ve read are truly beautiful. All four of them. 🙂 Yet the book was so good that one of the several publishers that rejected it later wrote him an apology. However, the image above stole my heart–it’s a galley proof from a manuscript that sold at Christies for £663 750. But that’s not what stole my heart–it’s his cutting-and-pasting technique. Masterful. But how did the poor man write a whole work of literary genius without Post-It Notes? No wonder he died young.
And p.s., Proust is wise:
“Every reader finds himself. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument that makes it possible for the reader to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself.”
Your turn–have you fake-read any good books lately?
It’s the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, who invented a way for the blind to read and write. Genius! Another technology hasn’t replaced Braille for writing–it’s still the standard. I first met Lillian as a reader who wrote me letters about my books. Last year at a booksigning, we finally got to meet. I know she joins me in saying, Bonne anniversaire, Louis!