Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Birthday in April ~ Harper Lee


Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books.  I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it. 
Harper Lee, O Magazine (June 2006)


Press Photo
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 Nelle Harper Lee was born on 28 April 1926 and celebrates her 87th birthday today. Certainly she needs no introduction. Her magnum opus, To Kill a Mockingbird, has sold over 30 000 000 copies world wide and was voted the 'Greatest Novel of all Time' in a poll conducted in 2008.

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch
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I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I'd expected. 
Harper Lee, quoted in Newquist (1964)





The brilliance of her novel lies in the fact that whoever reads it (wherever that reader may be in the world, or how far removed in time from the 1930s in which the story is set) will not come away from the experience without the deep sense that something of value has been added to their understanding of the world. 

To share my experience of the book, I must take you back to the times of Apartheid South Africa, when I read it as a set work to exclusively white students, demanding that they, too, climb into someone else's skin and walk around in it. Over a period of 27 years, I have returned repeatedly to the novel for literary study and each time, I tell my class that I am about to give them a gift that no one will ever take away from them. Happily, I am now able to offer it to classes which exclude no one.




Harper Lee is our source of inspiration on this Sunday. With no further instructions or restrictions I ask you to focus your writing on a theme, quote, character or personal experience related to To Kill a Mockingbird, in any form you choose.



For a list of quotes visit the Goodreads page.


16 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

I mentioned this book recently when someone wrote about a mockingbird. Of course, I can't remember who it was or what day it was on, although I did try to go through a few days' worth of Real Toads to see if I could find it. I couldn't.
I love Harper Lee's book as much now as I did when I read it as a young teenager in the 1960s.
K

Dixie said...

My first visit here and now I know it won't be my last. Indeed I seem to be sprouting warts!

The book, the movie, even the mention of the title and my insides feel a pang of "yes, I remember" and I won't forget. In fact I've the urge to take it of the shelf and read it through. It's a raining day here; should be perfect. Thank you!!

~dcrelief

aprille said...

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

===this was the quote I chose this morning.===

I saw the film of course, but never yet read the book.

Jinksy said...

Loved the book and the film, and couldn't wait to join in with this one! :)

Jinksy said...

Kay - I think you were looking for this blogpost http://mamaneedsshoes.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/mockingbird.html

manicddaily said...

kerry, what a lovely post. She is also one of my favorites. I don't know if I'll get writing, but will carry this with me through my day. k.

Fireblossom said...

I have never read the book nor seen the movie, so I guess I'll have to peruse the quotes.

Someone, I don't even recall who, gave me a vhs tape of the movie at some point, and I ran across it a few months ago and I am not even sure I kept it. I think my reaction was "What the hell is this?" Perhaps I was hasty?

Marian said...

oooohhh Kerry, what a beautiful share with us this morning. thank you. "Happily, I am now able to offer it to classes which exclude no one." that makes me very happy!
xoxo

Susan said...

Thank you, Kerry, for a chance to write about another lifelong companion. She managed to give much insight into the many layers of prejudice and its influence on children AND did it without preaching! Something I need to learn. A luscious read, starting with the mystery set up on the first page and then the descriptions of heat on the third. Right. I have to go back an rewrite my first chapter.

Phil said...

Thank you for telling this so interesting story Mama Zen. I must admit I never read the book (yet) but did see the film.

Loredana Donovan said...

I read the book in college and saw the movie several times. It's a classic. Such a beautiful and enlightening story. I'm still away for the weekend. I'll try if I can to share something later. Thanks, Kerry.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Kay, your link takes us to a wikimedia page - Dave Barry. I have removed it. Please link up again.

Margaret said...

I am SO busy and have NO TIME for this and you throw one of my favorite actors, Gregory Peck, up on the screen and one of my all time favorite books....

UGH.... I've just got to do this challenge. I hope to be back and I will definitely read all the links! What a great idea is these birthday challenges. I love them.

Susie Clevenger said...

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite all time movies. I see so much of me in Scout.

wordcoaster said...

What a wonderful prompt--wish I could do it more justice. TKAM is one of my favorite books and I look forward to rereading it again this summer. :)

Hannah said...

Kerry!! You're inspiring and YOU are a gift...wow, thank you for what you do.

What a great author to feature! I haven't written yet but I just wanted to let you know how fantastic this post is...really.