To Kill A Mockingbird Read-Along, Part 3

To Kill a Mockingbird read-a-longAdam of Roof Beam Reader is organising a read-along for To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I got this book last Christmas but I haven’t read it yet. And since I’m not from an English-speaking country, we never had to read it in school. So here’s my chance to read and discuss it with others.

=== SPOILERS ===

For this third and final check-in, we read chapter 22 to the end of the book.

I read this a few days ago, and it didn’t really “stick”. I remember parts 1 and 2 quite well, but what happened after the court case?

Ah, Jem is sorely disappointed in humanity, but later, it turns out there are townspeople who support Atticus and things don’t look quite so bad any more. Except… poor Tom Robinson! Stupid Tom Robinson! It was far from certain that Atticus would get him free in an appeal case, but there was the chance he would. What was the chance Tom could run off like that and come away unscathed?

The story with Jem and Scout coming back from the school in the dark was hard to follow, but then, Scout was telling it and she, covered up in her ham costume as she was, didn’t really know what was going on herself. I loved that we finally got to see Boo Radley, and it was touching how Scout treated him.

This was a coming of age book in which both Jem and Scout learned a lot about the people around them and about the world in general. I enjoyed it a lot.

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To Kill A Mockingbird Read-Along, Part 2

To Kill a Mockingbird read-a-longAdam of Roof Beam Reader is organising a read-along for To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I got this book last Christmas but I haven’t read it yet. And since I’m not from an English-speaking country, we never had to read it in school. So here’s my chance to read and discuss it with others.

=== SPOILERS ===

For this second check-in, we read chapters 12-21.

This was a very quick and interesting part to read. I already loved the first part, but this second part was less peaceful – a lot more happened. First awful aunt Alexandra comes to stay and help out. She’s strict and wants Scout, who is eight years old, to behave more like a girl. Luckily, Atticus, Jem and Scout’s father, soon realises what is going on and insists that the aunt gives them some more freedom.

Tom Robinson is a black man who is accused of raping a white girl, and Atticus is the lawyer who has been chosen to defend him. When Tom is moved to the local jail, some people want to take “justice” in their own hands. One night, Atticus guards the jail when a mob of locals arrives. Jem and Scout wanted to know what their father was doing outside so late, and they followed him to the jail. Scout recognises one of the men and in her friendly and innocent way starts a conversation with him. He becomes ashamed of his involvement with the mob, and they all leave without doing anyone any harm.

The court case was interesting to follow, too, with Scout and her brother sit in the audience (on the balcony with the black people). I was wondering whether it would harm Tom Robinson’s case if the jury saw them there (being the children of the defence lawyer). It was great to see the court case through Scout’s eyes and the verdict was as expected.

Verdict: I’m very much enjoying this book and wonder now why I didn’t read it earlier! 🙂

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To Kill A Mockingbird Read-Along

To Kill a Mockingbird read-a-longAdam of Roof Beam Reader is organising a read-along for To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I got this book last Christmas but I haven’t read it yet. And since I’m not from an English-speaking country, we never had to read it in school. So here’s my chance to read and discuss it with others.

For this first check-in, we read Part 1 (roughly 150 pages).

This is a coming of age book, in which we meet little Scout even before she’s old enough to go to school. Her brother Jem is four years older and when it’s finally Scout’s time to start school, she’s disappointed: she’s not allowed to read, because they don’t read in first grade. Luckily, outside school there is excitement enough.

Scout, Jem, and their father Atticus live next door to the Radleys, a mysterious family who don’t show themselves outside very often. The children are intrigued and find several ways to get into contact with the family (always scared to death at the same time). Jem is asked to read to an old lady, which he absolutely hates to do, but his father insists and praises him when he does so. The old lady was scolding their father for being a nigger-lover after which Jem destroyed her flowers and the reading was a punishment.

Atticus is a lawyer who is asked to defend a black man, Tom Robinson. The community in Maycomb in Alabama disapprove of this and Scout and Jem get called names at school because of it.

So far, I’m enjoying this book a lot. It takes place in the 1930s in Southern USA. The story, told by Scout, is so believable. I love how there’s a good boy, Jem, and a bad girl, Scout (she often gets into trouble), the mysterious Radleys, of whom we haven’t heard the last, I’m sure. Also interesting is the black/white division, that is very strong in the book (most blacks have lowly jobs and don’t even know how to read).

The book started off with some big words. I had no problem understanding, but remembered how my 14 year old son and his (non-native) friends had to read this book in English class. They must have struggled for a bit! When the story is full under way, the book is easy enough to read.

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Bolaño 2666 Read-A-Long

Bolaño’s 2666 is a big book! Will you join in a read-a-long and read this book with me and Gnoe at Graasland, Joanna at Ephemeral Digest, and Tanabata at In Spring It Is The Dawn?

You know you want to! It’s a great challenge, as the book is about 900 pages long. This is your chance to share the experience. That’s better than reading it on your own later, isn’t it?

Here is some information on the book (taken from the back of my copy):

Revolving around the border town of Santa Teresa, a vortex for lost souls and the scene of some of the most horrifying crimes in twentieth-century fiction, it defines one of Latin America’s greatest writers and his visionary commitment to narrating the world as he saw it, in terrifying, awe-inspiring, irreducible beauty and despair.

We’ll be reading this book over 12 weeks starting on the 1st of March 2011.

I know that depending on your copy, your page numbers may be different from mine (I’ve got a Picador paperback from 2009). However, each section is divided in a number of weeks (see schedule below). If you divide the number of pages for a section by the number of weeks it’s planned for, you can work out roughly which pages to read each week.

The date behind each entry in the schedule below is the date that we should have finished that part and can start to discuss it.

This is my proposed schedule:

Behind the page numbers is the date that we’ll discuss that particular part. Each week, I will update this list with a link to the discussion post of that week.

Section I The Part About the Critics (2 weeks)

1. Pages 3-79 (77 pages) March 5th

2. Pages 80-159 (79 pages) March 12th

Section II The Part About Amalfitano (1 week)

3. Pages 163-228 (65 pages) March 19th

Section III The Part About Fate (2 weeks)

4.  Pages 231-291 (60 pages) March 26th

5. Pages 292-349 (57 pages) April 2nd

Section IV The Part About the Crimes (4 weeks)

6. Pages 353-424 (71 pages) April 9th

7. Pages 425-496 (71 pages) April 16th

8. Pages 497-568 (71 pages) April 23rd

9. Pages 567-633 (66 pages) April 30st

Section V The Part About Archimboldi (3 weeks)

10. Pages 637-723 (86 pages) May 7th

11. Pages 724-810 (86 pages) May 14th

12. Pages 811-895 (84 pages) May 21st

That’s 12 weeks of fun. At least, let’s hope so. I think the book should give us a lot to discuss.

At the end of each week, I’ll post a summary of what we’ve read, and a few questions. You can discuss the book on my blog in the comments, and/or make your own post about what you’ve been reading (and leave a link on my post for that week).

Don’t feel obliged to post or comment every week! Join in at any time and read the relevant discussion posts when you get to that part of the book.

Joining in?

If you want to join in, just leave your name and blog address in the comments (I may set up a Mr Linky for this, but can enter you myself, if I do).

And for those really keen to read more by Bolano, bolanoreads is doing a more general Bolano challenge that you could combine with the read-a-long.

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