To Kill a Mockingbird

“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is undoubtedly the best book I’ve ever read, and my favourite novel. In the weeks before returning to Macquarie University for the last year of my English degree, I pulled the book off the shelf and started to read it again. I think I’ve read this book at least once, every year since I was assigned it in school in 2008. Every time I read it, I find something different, something I may not have understood when I was younger, an issue I have more perspective on now, or something I just plain missed. Therein lies one of the greatest joys of re-reading this novel, its ability to consistently interest an excite me.

There’s a home-like feeling that I associate with To Kill a Mockingbird, not only through the story and its morals, but through the experiences that I associate with the book. When I opened my worn copy to begin reading it for the eighth time, I had a vivid recollection of the first time I read it seven years ago. I remember the way I devoured the novel, and then reread it once I was finish, unable to believe I had enjoyed it as much as I did. When I got to page 182, I noticed the small tea stain in the left hand corner of the page. It was from my first long-term trip abroad to Argentina for three months. I’d started reading Mockingbird again to stave off some homesickness. I was reading too quickly and knocked over my tea as I turned the page, spilling it all over Scouts description of Judge Taylor and his unusual smoking habits.

Last Sunday, while living the life of leisure next to my parent’s pool, I splashed some water on my bookmark, a clothing tag made of organic paper with a bright orange, natural dye string. This string leaked everywhere, leaving a new, very bright orange mark on my book. Another memory made; another stain to remember it by.

I think this is a feeling everyone shares, in their own way. That feeling of connection, a pull that draws you to a particular thing, be it a movie, a song, book or artwork. These things that make you feel something nothing else can. Almost as if this piece of art, crafted by other human, shares a little connection with your soul. It sounds silly, now that I see it in writing, but it’s a feeling I’ve had many times before; when you fall into something so easily, and wonder how it’s possible for someone else’s words to resonate so strongly within you.

To Kill a Mockingbird gives me this indescribable feeling, like talking to an old friend after a long time apart and just falling into place instantly. This novel evokes something special inside me, a connection that could only be shared with an inanimate creation. So, my recommendation to you, readers, is this: find your book, search for this connection. Read until your eyes are straining and sore. Read everything until you find your To Kill a Mockingbird. Because, to me, having this book sitting on my shelf, able to be read whenever I need it, is one of the most comforting things in the world.

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