Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chris Smith's Blog - He's singing like a Mockingbird

Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I Read the Book -- Now I'm Singing Like a Mockingbird
Nobody told me about To Kill A Mockingbird. I assumed it was good, but I didn’t realize it would be one of the best books I’d read in quite some time.

Also, the book wasn’t required reading where I grew up. I knew about the movie, but I’d only bits and pieces, enough to get the gist. Therefore, Mockingbird – no matter what it’s incarnation – just wasn’t on my radar screen.

I finally read the classic novel because the Southern Food and Beverage Museum teamed up with the New Orleans Public Library to apply for a grant with The Big Read, a program that encourages literacy and reading. It’s sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Arts Midwest.

As the person designated to plan the museum’s events, I had that obligatory sense of responsibility to at least read the book, or at least skim it quickly. While shopping at a local Barnes & Noble, I picked up a copy. I splurged and bought the hardback version because I thought I needed a sturdy copy – one that I could mark up, use for reference, take to meetings.

I started to read the book on a Friday night and had completed it by Sunday noon. It would have taken less time but I had weekend errands to run. Even after only five pages, I knew it was going to be one of those books, the one that fit under the category of “I couldn’t put it down.”

In retrospect, I don’t know why I waited so long to read this great novel. In the past few weeks, I’ve recommended Harper Lee's tale to everyone I know. Nobody told me, but I am making it my duty to tell the world.

Welcome to my To Kill A Mockingbird blog.