Welcome to the inaugural post for this new adventure of mine, Just Let Me Finish This Page. Many of you who are visiting from my other blog, Mockingbird Hill Cottage, are familiar with my love of reading. You’ve read posts about bookstores and libraries, about favorite books and authors. You’ve read lots of book reviews. You’ve read about the Kindle vs. a three-dimensional book. I’ve ranted about the books that seem to be disappearing from chain bookstores, about the demise of the independent bookstore.
I can’t help it. I’m passionate about reading. I read a lot. I always have a book or two or three going.
Which brings me around to this new place on the web. Why not a blog devoted to books? I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.
And here it is.
This will be a voyage of discovery. I have ideas about what I want to talk about here. Right now, the structure is in place and I’m just going to see what happens. I’ll post a few times a week. I sure hope you’ll join me here.
If you want to subscribe via email, there is a link on the sidebar that will enable you to do that. If you’d rather bookmark the site, have at it.
Can you tell I’m excited? I really am!
Let’s start off with a simple question:
What is your favorite novel and why?
Tell me all about it in the comments. No nonfiction this time, please. We’ll cover that later.
I’ll go first.
Of course. You already knew that.
Or maybe you didn’t.
I have lots of favorite novels. But my number one favorite is To Kill a Mockingbird. I consider it to be the perfect novel, a rare, rare gem that tells a compelling story beautifully, that gently teaches a lesson, that shows us the world that was (and is) and the world that can (and should) be.
The cast of characters includes lawyer Atticus Finch, his children, Scout and Jem, next-door neighbor Dill, housekeeper Calpurnia, Tom Ewell, Mayella Ewell, and the mysterious Boo Radley. It takes place in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama. Lee based Maycomb on her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Atticus was based on her father, Amasa Coleman (A.C.) Lee. Dill was based on Lee’s childhood friend, Truman Capote.
To Kill a Mockingbird explores life in a small town as seen through Scout’s eyes. It speaks of racism and fear and ignorance. It speaks of honor and integrity. Its truths still resonate today.
It is simply heartbreakingly beautiful, exquisitely perfect.
To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize. It has been translated into more than 40 languages. It has sold over 30 million copies. Library Journal voted it the Best Novel of the Century. It is on most every high school reading list, as it should be. It was adapted into an Oscar-winning film. It has never been out of print.
Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, wrote one novel. This is it. She never published another. Did she find that nothing could live up to TKAM? Did she say all she needed to say? Did she know in her heart that this was the perfect novel? If TKAM is her only accomplishment, her only message, she has more than done her share. Generations of readers have read these pages. Generations more will continue to read them. Countless numbers of readers have been profoundly affected by those words and the story they tell.
Miss Lee is notoriously private. She has declined to speak publicly about the novel since not long after it was published. She has lived the life she has wanted to live, splitting time between New York City and Monroeville. Though at the age of 88, I think she lives in Alabama now.
I wrote her a letter once and sent it to her in care of her publisher. I hope she read it, but I’ll never know. I wanted her to know how much her book meant to me.
There was a time when she autographed copies of her masterpiece. I have one:
To say that I treasure it would be an understatement. I bid for it at an auction years ago. It remains one of my most prized possessions.
If I didn’t have a moral framework instilled in me by my parents, if I’d never seen the Bible or any other holy book, I would know all I need to know about living life with integrity and tolerance and kindness and honor by reading the pages of To Kill a Mockingbird.
That is why I love it so.
Please share your favorites in the comments section. I look forward to reading them.