So I am what you could call a “book club slacker” these days.I haven’t read the assigned book for months.

Some day I will get back my groove, but mostly I’ve been hanging on by my fingernails these days.

A couple months ago Max had to read To Kill a Mockingbird for English.

So I decided to nobly sacrifice the book club book we were supposed to read (since I probably wouldn’t have read it anyway) and read that one with Max for two reasons:

1)  I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time.  I think I read the cliff notes or watched the movie in high school when I was supposed to read it way back when (I am horrible, I know).  But I know it’s supposed to be a classic, and I like classics.

2)  Max has needed a little jump-start in school lately.  We have been on his case like bees on honey, poor kid, so I pictured us curled up on the couch together having deep discussions about the characters, and laughing about the funny stuff together.  I imagined him coming out of his final test about the book and lifting me on his shoulders because I helped him understand it so well (ha ha).  But really, I figured it would be such a fun thing to do together, and even Dave decided to join in.  So we each got our own books and were off.

The only problem with those grand visions is that he was on chapter fifteen when I was on page three.  And then I was on chapter three when he came home and told me he finished the book.

Yeah, I was such a great example on getting the job done, and he was SO grateful for such a dedicated mother.

Oh, and Dave was in China for this and ended up reading the wrong book all together (he read The Catcher in the Rye, and wasn’t too keen on suggesting anyone else read that one).

Anyway, I’m pleased to report that Max did indeed do wonderfully on the tests and follow-up without our help, and I finally finished the book on one of my long airplane trips.

You can always tell how much I love a book by how many pages I mark:

As you can see, there were SO many gems in that thing.

The character development was phenomenal.  How I loved the descriptions.  Check out this one of Aunt Alexandra:

Probably my favorite character was Atticus.  How I long to parent exactly how he does.  This is an example of how he parented Jem (Scout’s older brother who I adored as well) right after he ruined the flowers in the garden of a really spiteful old neighbor who was ruthlessly horrible to him:

And this was his response after some other thing Jem did when Scout thought he’d get in trouble:

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there and say that I loved that book.

I am so grateful for good books.  And am thinking now that I’m back on the reading bandwagon (I hope) I’d love some good summer book suggestions.

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  1. My favorite all time book. I read it every other year or so. I can't wait until my girl is old enough to read it with me.

    PS. Our cat is named Atticus. And when he is in trouble, it is ATTICUS FINCH!

  2. i love love that book shawn. atticus is my fave, and i think i want a son named atticus for it. he is just the embodiment of integrity. i'm so glad you finally read it. let's have a sister's book club at bear lake!!

  3. I just finished reading a few AWESOME AWESOME books. 1 – The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (about a Christian family in Holland who hides Jews during the Holocaust) and 2 – Yearning for the Living God by F. Enzio Busche. (Elder Busche is talks about his conversion and the resulting experiences and lessons. It is one of my most very very favorite biographies.)

  4. I've never seen a book marked like that! That is downright brilliant. I wonder if that's a "thing" people often do and I've just been in the dark all this time, haha.

  5. I completely agree. I taught it when I was teaching Sophomore English, and my kids thought I was crazy when I would tell them how much I loved it…until they finished it, and then they understood.

  6. My favorite quote:

    "Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It's knowing you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."

    Thanks, Atticus

    I also hesitate when telling others to read Catcher, but it's so good for identifying an authentic voice. I had to read it at BYU, so I figure it's safe:)

  7. that's been my favorite book forever! I went and saw the play with my mom last year at Hale Center Theater – unbelievable!

  8. I traveled to Germany as an exchange student when I was in high school. I brought gifts to everyone in my host family and it was suggested that my host grandmother might appreciate an American novel because she was learning English. That was the book I brought her. I so enjoyed our conversations about it – me a teenager from the South, her a German woman who lived through WWII. I have such a soft spot in my heart for that story!

  9. That is also my favorite book! Scout was my favorite character. I wanted to name my daughter Scout, but wasn't daring enough.

  10. Nie Nies book Heaven is Here is sooo very good. Also any book by Kate Morton….she is my fav new author. (new to me)

  11. It's my Mom's all time favorite and I just got around to finally reading it myself last month. I agree, it's a classic for a reason. My Mom said Harper Lee didn't write any others because To Kill a Mockingbird just couldn't be topped. I loved it. Plus I sat with a gal at the conference that has a daughter named Scout 🙂 and a girl in our ward with a son named Atticus. I love it.

  12. Read that book every Summer. Reminds me not to judge and is Atticus the best dad ever or what??? Love it!

  13. Ohh I both Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird are such great books! I have visions of my soon to be little one reading with me some day in the future too!

  14. I can't wait to read this book with my daughter, Harper, when she grows up. So many great lessons!

  15. I LOVE the Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. One of my all time favorites. Reading The Leader who Had no Title by Robin Sharma right now and it's changing my whole world. Stuff we already know, but written beautifully as a fable and a great teaching tool. I'm pretty sure you'd love it. (:

  16. Great post today! Thank you for sharing your family with us. My son and I watched that movie not so long ago. I like atticus too.b

  17. I can tell I need to reread that one this summer!

    I'm reading Teach ye Diligently by Boyd K. Packer right now. An older one but great for how to teach moral and gospel subjects in church and at home to our children. So far, it's been very helpful and interesting.

  18. One of my favorites although I haven't read it in years – I did talk my son into reading it for a book report a couple years ago & he couldn't put it down or stop talking about it for a long time afterward – love a good book!

  19. Excellent, excellent book!! The movie version with Gregory Peck is just as good, too, by the way. I need to read that book again…If you haven't read it yet, Uncle Tom's Cabin is another good one. I couldn't stop crying at the end. I need to read that one again, too!

  20. Recommending books can be such a risky endeavor, but looking at your side bar list of books you love and seeing that many of them are my favorites, here's a suggested reading list…
    "Wild Swans" – a beautiful history of three generations of women in China beginning with the years before the rise of Mao.
    "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" – a biography of the named woman and her family, and a history of medical innovation and its legal implications.
    "Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage & Survival" – a short easy read, and the title says it all.

    "The Beyonders" – a fun adventure, include your kids on this one.
    "The Kite Runner" – achingly profound.
    "My Sister's Keeper" – this is a great audio book, one sister has a rare cancer, the other is the perfect match donor who wants medical emancipation
    "Little Dorrit" – one of Charles Dickens' less-read novels with equally great insights, my copy is severely dog-eared

  21. I'm a high school English teacher and I have taught To Kill a Mockingbird many times and I love the book. Everytime I teach it, I'm afraid that I don't do it justice, but I just tell my students that if they will just give the book a chance, they will love it, and guess what? Many of them do. It is one of my all time favorite books. For me TKAM is kind of like the scriptures….every time I read it, I get something new out of it. Such a lovely book! Thank you so much for sharing this.

  22. A really really fun book to read as a family and/or to listen to in the car is "Chickens in the Headlights" and the sequel "Bullies in the Headlights". It is based on the life of the author who grew up with 7 brothers and their adventures and it is laugh out loud hysterical! We have read it and listened to it and they are asking to listen to it again on our trip this summer.

  23. that is one of my top 3 favorite books of all time! I can't believe you had never read it!
    did he like it???

  24. One of our favorites! We are a big family of readers as well. Some of our favorites:

    Girl of the Limberlost
    Gifted Hands
    One of the Lucky Ones (lucy Chin. true story of her life as a blind girl/woman in China and how she taught herself braille and brought dignity and hope to the blind in China). ***I wrote about the book before I remembered about YOUR Lucy and her health issues. Please read!
    A Lantern in Her Hand

    Do you know about Goodreads? Great site for suggestions of reading from "friends" of the same reading taste. It has been a wonderful resource to find good books. I never waste time reading books that sounded good but actually were duds.

    let us know what you decide!

  25. I love To Kill a Mockingbird! Definitely at the top of my list…I love to read SO much; two summers ago I made a goal to read 100 books that summer and I made it to about 75 🙂 Some of my favorites are (keep in mind I'm a 20 year old girl so we might not have the same tastes):
    A Little Princess (all time fav)
    The Count of Monte Cristo
    My Sister's Keeper
    Ender's Game
    The DaVinci Code-and other Dan Brown books as well
    The Secret Journal of Brett Colton (this is an LDS fiction novel and I love it!)
    The Help
    13 Reasons Why
    The Hunger Games and Harry Potter series (of course!!)

    These are all books that I read over and over (like more than 3 times) so I love them and would highly recommend them all! Please let us know when you come up with a book list, I'm always looking for more books to read!

  26. Hi Shawni,
    I dearly love "To Kill a Mockingbird" so I'm glad to hear that you read it and loved it, too. I've read it several times and my mom just picked it for our book club, so I read it again just a few months ago.

    I always love getting good book suggestions from people, so I thought I would suggest two of my all-time favorite books. "Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, and "Life Is So Good" by George Dawson. These are both true stories that are about incredible people who will inspire you. You will feel so pumped after reading them!

    Happy (early) Mother's Day! I hope you have a wonderful day.

    Your paralyzed friend,

  27. Both my husband and I read this book in high school and loved it. To this day it still holds strong as one of my favorite novels. I adore the character development and the strong admirable qualities that Atticus exhibits; we loved it so much that our son's name is Atticus!

    Another great book that will slowly reel you in with wonderful character and story development until it plays in your mind as clearly as a movie is Poisonwood Bible. It takes a little longer to really get hooked into it, but once you do it is a lovely ride!

  28. That book is one of my all time favorites…I wanted to rename my daughter Scout after reading that book for the first time when she was a baby (my husband wouldn't go for it…what a party-pooper). Anyway, another favorite is The Hiding Place; also a great example parenting (I love how she describes her mother's goodness). And another one I love is The Count of Monte Cristo – oh how I couldn't put that book down! Good luck…someday I may find time to read again (like when my children are grown and gone).

  29. Ah, my favorite book of all time. I adore every single character. I read it years and years ago in school and loved it then, but I got a new copy this past Christmas and dove right into it. Atticus became even more real to me since I'm now a parent.

  30. Everyone should read this book: "Little Britches, Father and I were Ranchers", by Ralph Moody.
    I loved the parenting in this book and I think you will find a lot of "gems" to mark. Mr. Moody wrote a series of books about his life and said of his books; "My goal in writing is to leave a record of the rural way of life in this country during the early part of the 20th century, and to point up the values of the era which I feel that we, as a people, are letting slip away from us." I loved this series, but even if you only read the first book – it is worth your time. (I love the old books with art by Tran Mawicke)

    My daughters (age 16 and 13) and I recently read "The Running Dream" by Wendelin Van Draanen. It came out just a year ago. We loved it! Clean and inspiring from the YA section!

    I love many others, but these are my top 2 picks for today!

    I really love your blog. Thanks for taking time out of your crazy schedule to post your thoughts and beautiful pictures.
    Mom of 5 (4 girls;1 boy) in Northern Nevada

  31. In my top five for sure. I am with Jessica on 'Yearning for the Living God' – Elder Busche will blow your mind, seriously.

    Also loved:

    A Girl Named Zippy
    The Secret Life of Bees
    A Thousand Splendid Suns

    Happy Reading!

  32. I absolutely love that book! It's one of my favorites which I try to read again every few years. One book that reminds me a little of TKAM is Peace Like A River by Leif Enger because of the beautiful and descriptive writing.

  33. After reading this in high school, some of my friends decided we wanted to marry Atticus Finch and set our dating standards pretty high…Since I couldn't marry a fictional character I "settled" for a man who has many of traits he has and am thankful my standard was Atticus…this is the power of a quality work of literature and I'm so thankful it's required reading in almost every high school curriculum!!

  34. That's so funny I just finished that book! I loved too, and I love that I catch my self saying … It's not time to worry yet.

  35. I am determined to absolve myself of my Cliffs Notes follies in HS and get more classics read! I read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and cant wait for London (almost 12) to read it. It's got tons of variety in characters but still is clean enough to recommend to my own kids. Next, Great Gatsby- the movie is coming out soon again and I've sworn I will read it before I see it!

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