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June 29, 2010

Oprah on To Kill a Mockingbird's 50th anniversary

oprah winfery to kill a mockingbirdIf you're lucky enough to win our double-barreled giveaway this week, you'll discover the impact "To Kill a Mockingbird" has had on well-known authors and other celebrities.

"Scout, Atticus & Boo" is based on Mary McDonagh Murphy's documentary, which marks the 50th anniversary of Harper Lee's classic. Here you can read interviews with writers including Wally Lamb, James Patterson, Richard Russo and Scott Turow. Oprah Winfrey also weighs in, revealing that "To Kill a Mockingbird" may have been a spark for her book club.

Here's an excerpt: "I remember reading this book and then going to class and not being able to shut up about it. I read it in eighth or ninth grade, and I was trying to push the book off on other kids. So it makes sense to me that now I have a book club, because I have been doing that since probably this book."

Her favorite character: Scout.

To enter to win a 50th anniversary edition of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Scout, Atticus & Boo," drop a comment about your favorite character or scene in this Read Street post.

Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 8:00 AM | | Comments (5)


8th grade literature class with Mrs. Wise set the stage for me becoming an English literature major and a public librarian. In 1970 this very wise teacher introduced our class to contemporary classics, with To Kill a Mockingbird being one of the most memorable. In a small Appalachian town like where I live, race is still a point of contention and introducing this book a vehicle for educating students without being didactic.

Oprah fools the mainstream population and leverages her power, TV network to improve Black and White relationship. At the same time, ignoring other groups like Asian, Hispanics, Native Indian, Alaskian, Arab, Pacific Islander, and other groups. America is not about just Black and White any longer. Many groups have sizeable population. The stupid media, PR, and prejudice still exist in this country still thinking Black and White. I hate the fact anyone mention Black and White in this country. ... America needs to recognize groups that make great contribution to this country such as commerce, technology, science, education, research, biology, culture, art, food, etc. Not rap music and all those gangers culture in modern society.

In fact, we have more crimes, prison population in this contry

I am completely in awe of the power of the entire book, but one scene that has always stood out is the final one, where Atticus and Scout are talking (in a metaphor) about what has happened with Jem, Scout, Bob Ewell, and Boo Radley as she falls asleep:
"Atticus, he was real nice."
"Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them."
'He turned out the light and went into Jem's room. He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning...'
Just a beautiful scene that displays Atticus' goodness and strength.

I have had the privilege to teach this book to both 9th and 10 graders for the past ten years. Not only is it my favorite book of all time, it is my favorite to teach. I love that every year there are children who still relate to Scout's sense of wonder, Jem's sense of injustice and Atticus's courage. As Harper Lee described it..."just a simple love story..." Ahhh, yes, it is.

love love to kill a mocking bird!

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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