Tag: tokill a mockingbird

Kid on wall with book

7 Books That Blew Our Minds at 16

Let me tell you a secret about young people. You ready? They grow up. They get older and become adults. But, when they’re young, their brains are like bowls into which you add chocolate chips, cookie dough, and a little pinch of cayenne. Place on baking sheet in teaspoon-sized balls, and bake at 350 degrees until the balls brown around the edges. When they are done, they are chocolate chip cookies. And they are delicious to eat.


Young people’s thoughts can be wonderful desserts if only we use the right ingredients. The ingredients, as you may guess, are books. Mind-bending books that reimagine the way we see the world. Some are assigned to us in school, some recommended by friends, and some are mentioned by characters in French movies. Here are the seven books that blow the minds of sixteen-year-old across the land.


1. The Stranger by Albert Camus


The Stranger

Image Via Amazon


Camus’ existentialist breakout tale of apathy and mothers’ birthdays is kind of a rite of passage for sad teenagers. Can you really be smart, after all, if you have not pretended to understand Camus’ point? I remember sitting at my local diner, giving several of my friends an introduction to existential philosophy after reading The Stranger. I did not and probably still do not understand existentialism. Sorry, friends. I hope I did not lead you down a dark path.


2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini


Kite Runner

Image Via Amazon


The story of Amir and Hassan’s friendship is so devastating and beautiful, you may not remember the details, but the impression will stay with you for years. Images of alleyways and off-puttingly beautiful houses all assemble to create a haunting memory in any young reader’s mind. I read this one in Disney World one summer. It kind of changed the way I saw Disney World.


3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley


Brave New World

Image Via Amazon


As far as dystopian novels go, Huxley’s may be the most unsettling just because it’s so friendly. The future is squeaky, happy, and clean. The happy-inducing drug soma isn’t so different from our SSRIs. Even the terrible conformity Huxley imagines can be seen today in the way we ostracize any political beliefs other than our own. Or even if people don’t watch Game of Thrones.


4. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter


Bloody Chamber

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‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ have their seemingly tender hearts squeezed dry in Carter’s collection of classic stories. For Carter, Little Red Riding Hood’s werewolf is actually the grandmother, who is then stoned death for being a werewolf. And the Beast in ‘The Courtship of Mr. Lyon’ is much less not-so-subtly handsome than in Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ He’s more of a creepy, possessive predator who actually kind of deserves his curse.


5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


To Kill a Mockingbird

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What Lee does so well in this book is tackle racism, sexual violence, and flaws in the justice system in a way that’s totally accessible to young readers. Reading To Kill a Mockingbird as a young person is like walking through the door to the rest of humanity. Everybody wants Atticus Finch in their life (except for, maybe, Go Set a Watchman Atticus). Scout, Jem, Boo Radley, Tom Robinson. It’s a hard book not to love and even harder to forget.


6. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin


Wizard of Earthsea

Image Via Amazon


Le Guin’s Earthsea series may make her the most forward-thinking writer we have. Preceding J. K. Rowling, A Wizard of Earthsea follows young wizard Ged who goes to a school for wizards on the island of Roke. With dragons, beautiful cities, incredible magic, and amazing characters, this fantasy series provides all the spectacle of Game of Thrones with an extra dollop of critical theory. Earthsea’s magic is based in language, and Le Guin is likely playing with some Plato and good old-fashioned literary theory with her magical tales.


7. The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead



Image Via Amazon


Whitehead’s debut novel is an odd one. It follows Lila, an elevator inspector, who gets caught up between two feuding schools of elevator inspecting thought (seriously, that’s what the book is about). The one school of thought, the “Empiricists,” rely on instruments and science and protocol to inspect the elevators. But Lila, an “Intuitionist,” sort of just feels how the elevator is doing. By merely riding the elevator, the Intuitionists can sense the state of it. It’s a book about race, gender, and, of course, elevators. It’s bizarrely fascinating and, to young me, absolutely riveting.


These books may blow up a young mind, or else strengthen it into something akin to a metal alloy. Or maybe chocolate chip cookies.




Feature Photo by Ben White Via Unsplash

To Kill a Mockingbird

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Is Supposed to Make You Uncomfortable

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, has sparked debate throughout the country over time as it is repeatedly contested in school districts. The book is continuing to be an issue for some as it was banned from the eight grade curriculum in Biloxi, Mississippi, as it “makes people uncomfortable.” To that I’d say, “That’s the point.” 


Many can agree that the most influential works of literature are the ones that make us ask the important questions. Refusing to discuss difficult topics solves nothing. Imagine growing up hearing, “You are forbidden from having sex, ever.” I’m not sure if that’s ever worked on anybody, definitely not myself. The sex talk makes everybody uncomfortable, right? But that’s precisely why we should be talking about it. We have to move towards openly discussing taboo things. 


To Kill a Mockingbird asks questions we we need to be acknowledging, not banning. Lee explores themes like racial injustice and sexual and physical violence through the narration of Scout as she watches her father, Atticus Finch, represent a black man who is falsely accused of raping a white woman in court. Now, of course these topics make people uncomfortable. If you are comfortable with racism, rape, or violence, we have big problems. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore these issues.


A major issue many have with the book is its use of racist language. At the time of the book, this word was used to repeatedly put down an entire race. Profanity in any form can make teaching a classroom of eighth graders extremely difficult, yes, but wouldn’t you rather explain to them the history behind the injustice instead of keeping them in the dark? Kids have access to a ton of content at any time of any day. People use the internet.


The lessons in To Kill a Mockingbird are extremely important to children as they become young adults. Lee’s book is one of the best ways to get young people to read about social injustice and to get them talking about things in a safe environment. It’s important for them to know that we trust them with such sensitive material and that they should be using their voices for good.


Many took to Twitter to share their opinions. We’d love to hear yours. 




Feature Image Via Hollywood Reporter

Aaron Sorkin, Mockingbird cover

A Very Different Atticus Finch Awaits Us in New ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Adaptation

In 2016, producer Scott Rudin acquired the stage rights to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and brought on veteran writer Aaron Sorkin to pen the script. Sorkin is a pretty busy guy, having just made his directorial debut with Molly’s Game. This story unsurprisingly got sidelined. But The New York Times announced its December 2018 Broadway premiere in a cartoonishly large ad.



Vulture asked Sorkin about his take on Mockingbird at the Toronto Film Festival last week, and he revealed some surprising tidbits. First, Sorkin isn’t strictly adhering to Lee’s book. He said, “As far as Atticus and his virtue goes, this is a different take on Mockingbird than Harper Lee’s or Horton Foote’s.”


Sorkin’s not necessarily adapting Lee’s book, but her story. His perspective will particularly affect Atticus Finch. Regarding this, Sorkin said:


He becomes Atticus Finch by the end of the play, and while he’s going along, he has a kind of running argument with Calpurnia, the housekeeper, which is a much bigger role in the play I just wrote. He is in denial about his neighbors and his friends and the world around him, that it is as racist as it is, that a Maycomb County jury could possibly put Tom Robinson in jail when it’s so obvious what happened here. He becomes an apologist for these people.


If this rings any civil rights bells, it’s because Sorkin isn’t shying away from contemporary race issues. Trump’s comments on Charlottesville particularly stand out to Sorkin. “All of a sudden, Donald Trump stood up at a news conference and said there are good people on both sides. And I went, ‘Wow, bingo. We hit it right in the middle.’”

Sorkin’s politics have always appeared onscreen, and, once upon a time, he was pretty optimistic. The West Wing was like any progressive’s dream state. Jed Bartlet, though. The Newsroom was also optimistic, though the writing seemed to have been motivated by a level of cynicism regarding the state of information. Hopefully Sorkin’s To Kill a Mockingbird will give us hope. One thing I hope for is a classic Sorkin walk-and-talk between Scout and Atticus.



Feature Images Via TVOvermind and Amazon

to kill a mockingbird current cover (US)

‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ Covers From Around the World

You love ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. We love ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. THE WHOLE WORLD loves ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’! We hope you’ll enjoy checking out TKAM cover art from around the world as much as we did.


1. USA


USA tkam cover

Image courtesy of Wikipedia


2. China


tkam china cover


3. USSR 


USSR tkam cover

Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/2vAAOaf


4. France


france tkam cover

Image courtesy of AbeBooks


5. Poland 


poland tkam cover

Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/2vYGP1A


6. Israel


Israel  tkam cover

Image courtesy of Sporcle



7. Greece


greece tkam cover

Image courtesy of Sporcle


8. Thailand


thailand tkam cover

Image courtesy of Sporcle


9.  Netherlands


netherlands tkam cover

Image courtesy of Sporcle


10.  Japan


japan tkam cover

Image courtesy of Sporcle


11. Italy


italy tkam cover

Image courtesy of Sporcle


12.  Norway


norway tkam cover

Image courtesy of Sporcle


13. Iran 


Iran tkam cover

Image courtesy of Sporcle


14. South Korea


korea tkam cover

Image courtesy of Sporcle



15. Germany


Germany tkam cover

Image courtesy of Sporcle


Featured image courtesy of The Odyssey Online.