Tag Archives: classic

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

9C65C533-072A-4C7E-A84B-34373632D823How did I make it through this much of my life without reading this book??? As I was wrapping up my 2018 of reading, I decided to throw in the classic To Kill a Mockingbird to finally tackle this well known favorite.

To Kill a Mockingbird follows the world of young Scout, her elder brother Jem, and their father Atticus as he defends a black man in the deep American south during the 1930s. This book is full of racial tensions, gendered expectations, and many good lessons. I can’t imagine reading this and grasping its depths entirely as a child, but I wish I had. I wish I had informed classroom discussions about this context and its relation to actual American history. I found it to be absolutely riveting as an adult and if you are one of the few who haven’t yet read it, borrow a friend’s copy. I’m sure they’d be happy to lend it to you and to have in-depth conversations about it as soon as you’re finished.

Publication Date: 11 July 1960 by J. B. Lippincott & Co. (original). Format: Paperback by Grand Central Publishing.

Author: Harper Lee bio

Mini Review: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

thebelljarHow have I gotten this far through life without anyone forcing me to read this book?? I started reading a friend’s copy and instantly felt compelled to highlight meaningful bits as I moved along. I had to acquire my own copy as I knew it would become a staple that lives on my bookshelf forever. My lovely friend (thanks Gabe!) bought me a copy while I visiting Brooklyn for the holidays. I love love loved this and felt like Plath describes a specific depression experience in young adulthood well. Since I also spent a bit of a time in New York in my early 20s and felt out of place while interning whilst all of my friends loved the glam of the city, I found those bits intriguing. I don’t particularly recommend reading this during the winter gloomy season as the holidays are approaching, as that time is already dark enough without needing something to plunge yourself deeper, but I’m not sure I would’ve liked it nearly as much if I had read it during a summery time.

Selected quotes:

“Either I got better, or I fell, down, down, like a burning, then burnt-out star.” (p. 209)

“I didn’t want my pictures taken because I was going to cry. I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my throat and I’d cry for a week. I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full.”(p. 100-101)

“I felt now that all the uncomfortable suspicions I had about myself were coming true, and I couldn’t hide the truth much longer. After nineteen years of running after good marks and prizes and grants of one sort and another, I was letting up, slowing down, and dropping clean out of the race.” (p. 29)

“If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.” (p. 59)

peter pan by j. m. barrie

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie audiobook cover

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie audiobook cover

After being completely obsessed with Jim Dale’s narration of the Harry Potter audiobooks, I sought a new read that he also narrated. Luckily, I quickly found a match on my to-read list in the form of Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie.

I’ve had a small fascination with Peter Pan for a while, likely connected to the fact that some writers have deemed my generation the “Peter Pan generation” because of our desire to be children for a lengthier period of time than our predecessors. However, instead of attempting to stay a child forever, I dove-tailed a teensy bit and decided to immerse myself into the world of children’s culture and media as my occupation. Subsequently, I’ve been trying to read some of the children’s literature classics that I haven’t read yet and dive back into those I really want to re-read.

While I was in high school, I had tried to read Peter Pan in physical book form and couldn’t get into it at all because I felt like it was too childishly written and I wasn’t in a mental space to appreciate that. To me, it felt like a story that needed to be told to me, which makes sense since the story was originally written as a play and thus felt like it needed to be performed in some way for me to appreciate it. Later that year, I saw Peter Pan performed in San Francisco the summer before I left for college… and let’s just say, I felt quite a few emotions.

That said, there are parts of the text that are definitely dated which makes it hard for me to recommend this book as a read for children who aren’t aware enough to understand the historical and social climate that existed when this text was first published. When most American individuals read novels like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, they are likely reading it as part of a middle or high school curriculum with English teachers who explain the historical and social context that existed when the novel was written. When most people encounter the story of Peter Pan in whatever format they consume, they are too young to understand some of the dated language (every time the phrase “red skins” was used I cringed). Thus for those younger audiences (2-12 year olds), I think they should encounter a newer version rather than the original text that has adjusted some of the language and removed some of the racial undertones that seep into the story. Unfortunately, I haven’t read such a version so I’m not able to recommend a specific publication. Because of this, I think the best time to listen to this book is when you’re a young adult, perhaps reflecting on your own experience with childhood, but are also aware enough to recognize some of the faults that exist within the original text.

If you choose to read Peter Pan, I definitely recommend reading the story in audiobook format, specifically the Jim Dale version if possible, over a physical copy.

On that note: if you have any recommendations for other literary works performed by Jim Dale, please send them my way!

Original Publication Date: 11 October 1911 by Scribner. Format: Digital Audiobook from Listening Library.

Author: J. M. Barrie wiki

Narrator: Jim Dale web