What happens to you after you finish a really good book? Sometimes I finish a book and immediately pick up another and dive right in. But many times, the ghost of the just-completed book haunts me for days and days. There are endless reasons for these hauntings: I don’t want the story to end; I don’t want to leave that world; There’s a lot to process; I have become addicted to the beauty of the language or have fallen in love with the writer; The book was a perfect fit… Well, for me right now, it’s all of the above, and more.
I am being haunted by To Kill a Mockingbird. It lingers long after the story ends, and I think these lingerings are a wonderful part of my overall experience with the book. Here are some of my hauntings, or after-effects, after finishing the book earlier in the week:
- I immediately needed to see the film again.
- After seeing the film, I have renewed my love affair with Gregory Peck, adding many of his other films to our Netflix queue.
- In searching for all things Gregory Peck, I discovered that in 1995 he started a special Reading Series through the Los Angeles Public Library. This is an annual event which “features some of the most acclaimed actors of our time, who read aloud from their favorite plays, poems, short stories, novels, essays and letters.” What a terrific night out!
- I’ve become fascinated with Harper Lee and want to know more about her, so I picked up a copy of Mockingbird, by Charles J. Shields, and am quickly reading through it, learning some very interesting things.
- I’ve been toying with the idea of reading Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood.
- I’ve suddenly had a powerful craving for a front porch and a front porch rocker (we live in a tiny little condo with beautiful grounds, but no front porches).
- Words like “y’all” and “thank yew” keep coming out of my mouth (Maggie, can you help me with this?)
- I’ve got this crazy idea of taking off on a spontaneous trip to the South so I can see/hear my first Mockingbird and see the landscapes that seeped into me while I read this book.
I can’t get certain quotes from the book out of my mind:
I wanted to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. (Atticus Finch)
She seemed glad to see me when I appeared in the kitchen, and by watching her I began to think there was some skill involved in being a girl. (Jean Louise “Scout” Finch)
Folks don’t like to have somebody around knowin’ more than they do. It aggravates ’em. You’re not gonna change any of them by talkin’ right, they’ve got to want to learn themselves, and when they don’t want to learn there’s nothing you can do but keep your mouth shut or talk their language. (Calpurnia)
And last, but not least, I want to read more and more books by these very talented Southern writers because their voice and their sense of place are really fascinating!