Over the years, I’ve belonged to several book groups, usually part of a newcomers’ group. When we moved two years ago, the book group was the first one I joined. Why? Because I knew it would introduce me to books I didn’t normally read. I tend to read in genres I like. So a book group would challenge me.
This group is different from other book clubs I’ve belonged to. The local library provides books to reader groups. That’s turned out to be good and not-so-good. Not-so-good in that the participants don’t get to choose the books. Good in that we don’t have to buy the books. Which is doubly good because then I don’t feel guilty when I don’t finish a book.
I know many people always finish the book they started. Not me. I have too many books (free or otherwise) on my Kindle to waste time on a book I don’t like. And there have been several since I joined this book group.
Last month, I mentioned we’re reading Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. Since there’s a lot of controversy over this book, I decided it was high time I read To Kill a Mockingbird. I finished it last week and really enjoyed it. I had to get past the frequent use of the N-word. I know it was written in a different time—time when that word was commonly used. Still, I cringed.
Another thing that bothered me—and probably only bothers a writer—was the point of view. Scout, from ages six to nine, tells the story. Most of the time the story reflects the thoughts of a child. That was good because viewing the events through the eyes of an innocent made the story much more powerful. Yet some of the vocabulary is that of an adult. I know, a nit-picky thing, but it yanked me out of the story.
Now I'm eager to read Go Set a Watchman. If only to see her writing style. Did it change with Mockingbird?
Have you read a classic--a prize-winning book--with elements that bothered you?