Sunday, February 21, 2016

I didn't want to write too big of a post on this, but I figured I'd type my thoughts after a few days had passed.

Mostly because I feel really lucky in my experience with To Kill a Mockingbird. I never had an English teacher assign it to me. I never had to write essays and analysis and book reports on it. When I picked it up off a library shelf, sometime at the end of my middle school years, I got to read it with only the vaguest idea that it was this big part of American literature and that it had been a massive influence in some way.

I'm conflicted when it comes to classics. When I was younger, I used to think I was obliged to read them, and if I couldn't get into them, it made me feel guilty and dumb. For a few years, I didn't read as much as I wish I did because I couldn't get into old, somewhat complicated novels. (I tried eight times to read Pride and Prejudice when I was eleven and. It. Just. Bored. Me. I managed to appreciate it a bit more when I was older).

Weirdly, I never had a problem getting into To Kill a Mockingbird. Maybe it was because I came to love Scout so quickly and so easily. I adored her voice and I saw myself in her character. I liked talking about the book with my mother too, and I remember she told me she'd loved it so much because Scout was the truest form of innocence in fiction.

I'm glad I went into the book without knowing anything about it. It was one of the first times I analyzed a text and had it impact me without someone else telling me to look out for X, Y, Z and discuss this point and that metaphor, etc, etc. I didn't need guidance, I just needed the words.

RIP Harper Lee.

P.S: Slightly bookish related--I saw the Nebula nominees. I'm glad The Grace of Kings and Uprooted got nominated. Wishing those two the best :)

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"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.