Reading To Kill a Mockingbird
with my father
By Jennifer Haigh
I WAS 12 WHEN I FIRST READ Harper Lee’s
novel, but it’s my second reading, as a senior in
high school, that sticks in my memory.
My father, a teacher and passionate
reader, was in the midst of choosing books for
his English class. He had settled on a few
favorites that seemed accessible to bright
eighth-graders: The Red Badge of Courage,
Billy Budd, The Red Pony, The Old Man and
the Sea. I’d read them all, and others like them,
for my own English classes: tales of soldiers
and sailors, horses and fishing.
July Book buyers’ picks
and a little help from Williams-Sonoma.
—Melissa McMeekin, assistant buyer, books
“At 17 I no longer followed him …
He no longer knew
how to talk to me, but
To Kill a Mockingbird
gave us something
to talk about.
In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of
Cheerful Giving, by Leigh Anne
Tuohy, Sean Tuohy, and Sally Jenkins.
If you’ve seen the movie The Blind
Side, you know what kind of people
the Tuohys are. This book tells more
of their story and explains their philosophy
on life. They call it “The Popcorn Theory,”
and it’s pretty simple: You can’t help everyone.
But you can try to help the hot ones who pop
right up in front of your face. It means that
you notice other people, ask them questions,
really listen to their answers, and help where
you can. It’s a simple philosophy that they put
into practice that freezing November after-
noon when the Tuohys turned their car
around to pick up a boy they saw walking
without a jacket. In that heartbeat, all their
lives were changed.;
—Jonna Erickson, assistant buyer, books
Dad was an insightful man, lucid and
thoughtful. Yet he’d never noticed what my
own teachers had likewise, seemingly, failed
to grasp: not one of these novels has a
significant female character. They seemed to
describe, and glorify, a world where there
were no girls.
At my urging he added To Kill a Mockingbird—a novel about many things, but at that
time it seemed mainly a story of a father and a
daughter. My dad, though loving, could be
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—Jonna Erickson, assistant buyer, books
Foreign Influence: A Thriller, by Brad Thor.
Oh how I love those lazy days of summer. For
a little excitement I turn to thrillers, and this
novel will have you on the edge of your lounge
chair. Navy Seal-turned-covert-operative Scot
Harvath is called back into action when a
bombing in Rome kills a group of American
college students. The evidence leads Harvath
to a colleague from his past. Now he must
rekindle that friendship, to destroy the man.
—Josh Lilly, inventory control specialist, books
The Costco Connection
The deluxe trade paperback edition of
To Kill a Mockingbird and the audio book,
read by Sissy Spacek, are available in
most Costco warehouses.
stern and difficult to please. He loved hard
physical labor, and as a little girl I’d adored following him around as he did his chores.
At 17 I no longer followed him, and he
seemed more aware of my growing up than I
was myself. He no longer knew how to talk to
me, but To Kill a Mockingbird gave us something to talk about.
It seems trite, now, to say I imagined us
as Scout and Atticus. Every girl reader, whether her own father is easy or difficult, likely
does the same. Objectively, I wasn’t much like
Scout. I wasn’t brave or forthright, but I did
watch people and ask questions, even if I
wasn’t audacious enough to ask them out loud.
My father used to joke about my stub-
bornness. You can’t tell her anything, he used
to say, but really he had me all wrong. I very
much wanted to be told how the world
worked. I envied Scout’s heartfelt talks with
Atticus. And suddenly, for a brief time—the
weeks we spent reading and discussing the
book, and devising assignments for his young
students—Dad and I had them too.
JULY 2010 ;e Costco Connection 53
Jennifer Haigh is the bestselling author of The
Condition, Baker Towers and Mrs. Kimble.