The Audio Book Club on To Kill a Mockingbird
Our critics discuss Harper Lee's classic novel on its 50th anniversary.
Posted Monday, May 17, 2010, at 11:33 AM
To listen to the Slate Audio Book Club discussion of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, click the arrow on the player below.
Get your 14-day free trial of Audio Book Club sponsor Audible.com, which includes a credit for one free audiobook, here.
This month, the Audio Book Club discusses To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's classic, and only, novel on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. The story takes place in the fictional town of Maycomb, Ala., during the 1930s and is told from the perspective of young Scout Finch. She lives with her older brother, Jem, and their widowed father, Atticus—a lawyer who defends a black man charged with raping a young white woman.
In an approximately 50-minute discussion, Emily Bazelon, Meghan O'Rourke, and Troy Patterson discuss the novel's aesthetic merits and to what extent Harper Lee pulls off its overt didacticism. (Patterson notes that at times he feels "bludgeoned.") They also discuss Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker article from last summer, which argues that Atticus is a typical Jim Crow liberal, and hence not so ahead of his time as most readers like to imagine.
Slate's Audio Book Club now comes to you on the third Monday of every month. Our June pick is Reality Hunger: A Manifesto by David Shields. Look for our discussion on iTunes or on the Slatehome page on Monday, June 21. Also, like the Audio Book Club on Facebook.
You can also listen to any of our previous club meetings through our iTunes feed or by clicking on the links below. To download the MP3 file, right-click (Windows) or hold down the Control key while you click (Mac), and then use the "save" or "download" command to save the audio file to your hard drive.
The Big Short, by Michael Lewis
Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
White Noise, by Don DeLillo
Lit, by Mary Karr
The Original of Laura, by Vladimir Nabokov
"A Small Good Thing" and "The Bath," by Raymond Carver
The Anthologist, by Nicholson Baker
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
A Vindication of Love, by Cristina Nehring
Thy Neighbor's Wife, by Gay Talese
"The Swimmer," by John Cheever, and "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," by Flannery O'Connor
Atmospheric Disturbances, by Rivka Galchen
Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace
Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Night of the Gun,by David Carr
American Wife,by Curtis Sittenfeld
Brideshead Revisited,by Evelyn Waugh
Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill
Anna Karenina,by Leo Tolstoy
Beautiful Children,by Charles Bock
All the King's Men,by Robert Penn Warren
Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Tree of Smoke,by Denis Johnson
The Audacity of Hope,by Barack Obama
The Road,by Cormac McCarthy
The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
Independence Day,by Richard Ford
The Emperor's Children,by Claire Messud
The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
Beloved,by Toni Morrison
Everyman,by Philip Roth
Saturday,by Ian McEwan
The Year of Magical Thinking,by Joan Didion
Questions? Comments? Write to us at email@example.com . (E-mailers may be quoted by name unless they request otherwise.)
Emily Bazelon is a Slate senior editor and writes about law, family, and kids. Her forthcoming book, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Empathy and Character. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook or Twitter.
Meghan O'Rourke is Slate's culture critic and an advisory editor. She was previously an editor at The New Yorker. The Long Goodbye, a memoir about her mother's death, is now out in paperback.
Troy Patterson is Slate's television critic.