Book 1: To Kill A Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee, published in 1960. It was instantly successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old.

– From Wikipedia

To Kill A MockingbirdReading the first paragraph in Wikipedia’s entry for To Kill A Mockingbird I am already humbled and alarmed by my ignorance. I hadn’t even realised that Harper Lee was a woman.

Contributors to my list of 26 books to read in 2012 were keen to ensure that women weren’t under-represented, so it’s nice to start with a female author (and with a surprise one at that). I wonder whether this new awareness will affect my experience of the book. I wonder whether it’s really important to have a balance of male and female authors in the list, and how – if at all – the sex of the authors chosen has coloured their output. Aside from choosing one book each from 26 different countries, I’m not aware that we’ve encouraged diversity within the selection in any other way. Should we have?

And (without spoiling the experience for me) if you’ve read Mockingbird, what did you think?