Still Love It: To Kill a Mockingbird

“To Kill a Mockingbird,” which celebrates its 50th anniversary this week, was taught in my high school, but my father recommended I read it prior to that; after I read through all the popular kid book series, my parents started me on classics. I resisted “To Kill a Mockingbird” because of the title. Why would I want to read a book about killing birds? (Another book I initially ignored for its title: “The Catcher in the Rye.” The only catchers I knew were on a baseball field of grass, not rye. I have since learned to never judge a book by its cover–or title.) I was a little older than the character of Scout when I took the copy I’d been given of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” off the bookshelf in my bedroom and decided to give it a shot, despite its unappealing title–and I loved it. Atticus Finch’s defense of Boo Radley–and the innocent mockingbird–still moves me. Here’s the movie scene (thanks, Dad) in which Finch explains the title.