Sunday, March 13, 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird

Lawyers, I suppose, were children once. – Charles Lamb

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill a Mockingbird became both an instant best seller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award – winning film, also a classic.

Back in 2007, I was already planning on getting a copy of this book, but I always didn’t like the cover it has. Of course being an artist myself, I want my books to have a visually enticing cover; I want my books to have a good cover for display purposes on my shelf.

Every time I'd go to the bookstore, I’m always on the lookout for a new cover on this book. Alas, after almost 4 years of waiting they finally released a new cover for the 50th anniversary of the book.

I just finished reading Lord of the Flies last January. Once I finished this, Moby Dick is next. I have always been a fan of the classics, in music, films and literature.

I always liked reading books/fiction/novels, anything that I can get my hands on that seemed interesting for me, may it be textbooks on subjects, life of great people, conspiracy theories, science stuff, or the more classic literature like poems, short stories, novels, and fictions. Reading is a good exercise for the young and the old alike. And in a fast-paced world we’re living now it’s nice to slow down grab a book and fly away with your imagination once in a while.

7 Benefits of Reading Fiction
1. Providing an escape from the day-to-day
Fiction is a great way to take a quick immediate break, to be instantly transported into another world. Today you could be in America, in the deep south with Alice Walker’s ‘The Colour Purple’, tomorrow in the Australian bush with Tim Winton’s ‘Dirt Music’, next week in downtown London with Helen Fielding’s ‘Bridget Jones Diary’ and next month in Ireland with Jim O’Neill’s ‘At Swim, Two Boys’. There is no limit to the places fiction can take you.

2. Relaxation
There is something about stopping to focus on words arranged for our reading pleasure that is instantly relaxing. Maybe it’s staying still, something that doesn’t seem to happen often enough. Maybe it’s knowing that we are stepping into a secret world that we have to relax enough to enter. Then there is the words themselves. The beauty and rhythm of language has the ability to calm and relax us.

3. Stress relief
Taking your mind off your own problems, even for a few minutes, can have a therapeutic effect and be a timely circuit breaker. This is so effective that the National Health System in the United Kingdom has introduced a ‘Reading and You Scheme’. The scheme encourages mental health patients to read more as part of their therapy for reducing stress and overcoming anxiety, depression and social isolation.

4. Stimulates the right side of your brain
Reading opens your mind to new possibilities. It stretches your imagination in new and wonderful directions and takes your mind on a wonderful journey through others’ lives. What would you do if you were Jo Becker in ‘While I Was Gone’ by Sue Miller? Would you tell your husband and three daughters about a grisly crime that happened when you were a university student? Or would you try to pretend it never happened?

5. Entertaining
Fiction is capable of provoking many and varied emotional responses – it can make you laugh out loud, it can make tears spill onto the page, it can be edge-of-the seat terrifying, it can make you blush with embarrassment, it can challenge your core beliefs. There is a world of emotion in every story and you as the reader get to be part of it.

6. Enjoyable
Reading is a deeply satisfying pursuit. The expression ‘curling up with a book’ evokes a warm and cozy image and feels luxurious if you don’t get to do it often.

7. Rejuvenating
Reading is an easy and quick way to nourish your soul because it is for the most part a solitary pursuit. And being alone, or at least alone in your thoughts, on a regular basis is crucial to maintaining a sense of self. As I’m sure you know, it’s easier to give to others when you feel fulfilled and your needs are met. Even just a few minutes of reading can keep you going throughout the day. Of course, you know you’ve read something special when you find your thoughts continually re-visiting it.

Reading is like exercising – mental and physical benefits flow from a regular routine. So don’t feel guilty about taking time out to read. It’s good for you!
See, reading has a lot of benefits. Plus it’s free. If you’re tight on money you can always download free e-books on the web. As for me, nothing beats the feeling of having a book on your hand and the sour, chemical - y scent of the paper while reading. 

So, what have you read lately?

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