An Intelligent Thing; Or, A Serious Post For Once

7:00 AM



I lied. This post will probably be sarcastic and filled with gifs, like always. But close enough.


So, if you've been listening at all lately, you've heard about the upcoming sequel to Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. There've been conspiracies and doubts and news, but overall, the internet seems to be generally thrilled about this. To Kill A Mockingbird is a wildly popular book, many people's favorite, and so on. 

I didn't like To Kill A Mockingbird. This is the reaction I usually get when I admit that: 


But that's the truth - I really didn't. I was so bored that I couldn't even bring myself to finish it. But guess what? That's cool. Not liking a book is totally okay and normal. Did you like To Kill A Mockingbird?  That's cool too, and I congratulate you for liking it! If you're going to shame someone for liking/not liking a book, for having a personal opinion, maybe you need to take a step back. 

But anyway, I'm getting off topic, as usual. This post isn't necessarily about To Kill A Mockingbird, or the sequel for that matter, but it's what got me thinking about it, so we'll go from there! 

After reading most of the book and concluding that I was bored, not thrilled with any of the characters, and couldn't see anything in it, I got worried. "Oh my gosh, this is everyone's favorite book, so many people love it, what am I missing? Is there some Big Intelligent Thing at the end or something? Is there a subtle message that I missed?

This is probably more of a concern for me than it should be, and I always wonder about it. I consider myself a fairly intelligent person who likes to see messages and themes and morals in books, and I think I'm fairly good at picking them out. So what was I missing in To Kill A Mockingbird? I encountered this same problem with A Tale of Two Cities and especially The Book Thief, the latter especially being one that so many people absolutely love. To this day I struggle with talking about how I didn't like Harry Potter at all and couldn't see the morals and messages in it, because so many people can and I don't want to miss something. Lately, the fuss over the Mockingbird sequel got me thinking about the issue again, and had me asking questions. 

Questions like, Why do I feel like I need to apologize for being 'stupid' and not liking the Intelligent Thing? 

I realize I do this, and I still deal with it. I'm not sure why. Is it because we've been shamed or looked at weird or seen too many posts about being stupid if you don't like Harry Potter? (And yes, I have seen this, and heard it, multiple times. Not ALL Harry Potter fans are like this, and I'm not bashing Harry Potter or its fans, but it's out there, as is the case with a lot of fandoms/Intelligent Things.) 

So I'm just going to throw this out there: You're allowed to not like Intelligent Things, or fail to see the message/intelligence in the Intelligent Thing. This is totally cool. 


But really, just think about it. I'm absolutely not denying the fact that books are meaningful or important or intelligent. Most books have a message, a theme, and there are definitely books with strong themes whether you like them or not. But that doesn't mean you have to like them. When it comes down to it, it's a book, a work of fiction, something you choose to pick up, and no one needs to shame you or make you feel stupid for not enjoying something like that. Because last I checked, opinions were totally cool. And really, who cares if you didn't like To Kill A Mockingbird or The Book Thief? Lots of people do and we can celebrate that. Lots of people don't like your favorite stories, either. That doesn't mean you get to beat them over the head with it or make them feel bad about thinking something. 

Unless they liked the Percy Jackson movies better than the books. In that case, let the head-beating commence. 


The point of this unnecessarily long post is basically don't feel bad for liking things. Don't feel bad for not liking things. Don't make people feel bad for liking/not liking things, either. You take that opinion and be proud of it, unless it has to do with the Percy Jackson movies. 

That is all. 


On a different note....Here's what's happening this week. 
  • Tuesday - I'm going to talk about when you should stop writing. Yeah, that's right. 
  • Thursday - I'll be reviewing We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. 
  • Saturday - A special post that I won't tell you about now! Yay! 

What about you? What are your thoughts on To Kill A Mockingbird? Did I manage to be offensive in this post? (I hope not.) Are there any books/movies/etc you've experienced and didn't like that everyone else likes? Comment away. (Note: I'll be out of town this weekend, so it might take me a few days to get back to comments. I'm reading them all, I promise.) 


27 comments

  1. Personally, To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book, but I totally understand that no book is for everyone, and there are people out there that don't like TKAM. I can't say I understand HOW ANYONE COULD NOT LIKE MY FAVORITE BOOK, but I won't bash them for it. I haven't read a ton of popular books like Harry Potter, Divergent, The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson, and there have been people that say "Oh, you're not reading it just because it's popular", which is totally a form of bookworm bashing. That's completely not true, though, because for all of those books I'm either not interested or there is a parental ban. I also have read some popular book such as The Lunar Chronicles. It all depends on the book. Bookworm bashing is not okay. Pushing books is okay, though, because it usually involves positive yelling at other people. Bashing is a completely different thing.

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    1. Well yay for you! :D See, it's totally neat that you like it, even though we have different opinions, haha. The whole "you only read/haven't read it because it's popular" thing IS bashing, and does really need to stop, yeah. I've never been a fan of that, because who cares if it's popular? You're allowed to choose what books you read and like. It shouldn't matter to anyone else. xD Especially if it's a parental thing - that's something people get shamed for a lot in my experience, and just...no. *sighs*
      Pushing books and positive yelling, yep xD I do that all the time and there's no problem with that, since it's all in fun. You're absolutely right.

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  2. As someone who loves all the books you mentioned not liking, I found this post to be awesome! It wasn't rude or anything, and it brings up a great things I think we readers sometimes forget. We tend to make things so personal, and people disliking books we love is probably not a personal attack on us.
    :)

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    1. Aw, thanks! I did try to be as respectful as I could, especially with the point I was trying to make, so I'm glad I got that across. And yep, it's super important to remember that it shouldn't be quite as personal, and it's cool to take a step back sometimes and remember that in the end it's just all in fun.

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  3. I haven't read To Kill A Mockingbird, but with all this ruckus over it going on, I'm pretty sure I want to pick it up and read it.... just to see if I like it. This post was great, and it really is encouraging, considering I'm not a part of a whole LOT of fandoms and stuff..... But yeah, we all have opinions and that should be something we're proud of, not ashamed... we're all different, so we should be happy about that, not constantly feeling bad about it. :)

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    1. Go for it! I've read plenty of books for that reason, and liked some and disliked others. I hope you do enjoy it. :D
      Exactly! I think opinions should be a good thing that we can discuss civilly, so it's sad that it's not usually that way. *sighs*

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  4. There were so many LOLs in this post. Seriously. You have a talent for internet humor.
    On a more serious note I can guess that this post was inspired by that conversation on GTW. Good for you for making this opinion public. RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH.

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    1. Oh my gosh thanks so much! I do try. *bows* xD
      Yeah, it kind of was...it was that and TKAM that got me thinking about it, so I had the conversation in mind writing this up. I'm all for free speech.

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  5. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favourite books, because you can get so much out of it and I love the style of writing. I am very excited for a sequel, mum and I pre-ordered it xD

    However, I also understand not liking something most people seem to get something out of. I couldn't bring myself to enjoy Of Mice and Men, and I didn't think the Hunger Games or The Maze Runner were anything special.

    We shouldn't bash each other for not enjoying the same thing. Diversity is an huge part of life. This post was very well done- not offending in the least, and I was smiling the whole way through :)

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    1. And see, the writing style wasn't for me, which contributed to it a lot - but we all have different opinions on what's good, and that's totally cool. I'm glad you liked it! I hope you enjoy the sequel, too. :)

      Ah, that's a shame, but totally cool too. I'm a huge Hunger Games fan and I did enjoy Maze Runner, but it's not for everyone.

      YESSSS. Thank you!



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  6. Confession: I didn't like Mockingbird the first time I read it either. After a while, it sort of matured (like wine??) and I started to appreciate a lot of the emotional tension in there. I'm cautiously optimistic regarding the sequel -- but apparently it's a draft and Harper Lee hasn't revised it as thoroughly as one might expect, so. *shrugs*

    But I definitely agree with your point that we should be allowed to like anything or dislike anything, so long as disagreements are kept courteous.

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    1. I do want to read it again and actually finish it, yeah, so I can see if I can get anything out of it. I'm a little doubtful about the sequel myself, but hey, it's not me putting it out. We'll see. xD

      I'm huge on courteous, civil discussions, so it's kind of sad that can't happen as much as I'd maybe like it to. It really shouldn't be that hard, but oh well.

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  7. THANK YOU FOR THE PERCY JACKSON REFERENCE. IT WINS THE POST, I TELL YOU.

    Also, you sound like me when everyone is mad that I didn't like Hunger Games and did love Twilight. People should be able to like what they like and not like what they don't like and we can leave it at that. I mostly see this problem with Whovians and HP fans as well, but I think there are a few things that have to be taken into account beyond that.

    I mean, first of all, age group. The Harry Potter books were written for people who are like, twelve. And maybe you might enjoy that passion for years to come, but there is a point when maybe you grow up. And that can happen with other books.

    Secondly, it might be a genre thing. Or a writing thing. I couldn't finish A Tale of Two Cities either, and firstly because it was kinda boring and secondly—not really my genre. I read different things, but I tend to like fast-paced sci-fi/fantasy/mythology/high-tech adventure... And if that is not happening, then I'm more likely to lose interest. I don't know what your genre is or if it even has anything to do with that, but we do have to recognize that genre does matter, rather.

    And so... Yes, people should have opinions. I liked TKAM well enough, although I really am more concerned about the new book coming out (it just seems shady, you know? Like, sure, whatever, book, but if I were exploited like that I don't think I'd like it either). Anyway, I am also glad you decided to take a stand on it. You go girl. Embrace your dislike. :D

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    1. THANK YOU. I couldn't let the post pass without a Percy Jackson reference. I've waited too long to make one. :P

      I liked Hunger Games a lot, honestly, but I also liked Twilight more than I liked Harry Potter, and that churns up SO much outrage. Ugh. It's the worst that it's like that. Like, who cares? Their opinion doesn't affect you, unless I'm shoving it in your face that OMG HARRY POTTER IS STUPID YOU'RE AN IDIOT FOR LIKING IT. Which personally I don't think happens as much as people get shamed for NOT liking it, but eh. Whatever.

      Yeah, genre has a lot to do with it. I don't enjoy stories like TKAM, so I should've known right off that it wasn't for me. *shrugs* And I don't tend to like things like Harry Potter, either. There are lots of people who don't like my favorite books for those reasons. Frankly I'm too lazy to chase them down and beat them over the head with the book. so. *shrugs*

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  8. I was forced to read TKAM in school, which is an easy way to make sure I hate a book (can you imagine having to listen to other people reading it aloud, most of whom didn't even like reading?). I'm very sad you never liked HP, though, and I feel like you missed out but yeah, it was definitely to do with the time you read it. I don't think they're the best-written books out there, but I identified so strongly with Hermione etc. that they're important to me for sentimental reasons. But you managed not to be rude so good job :)

    Yeah, echoing the above comment, the new book seems shady. And I hear the author isn't a very nice person either.

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    1. Yeah, I waited a long time to read HP, and that contributed to it. I love that it's a source of so much fandom and encouragement and happiness for other people, though! That's just what books should do. :D I just happened to read it at a time when I (a. didn't grow up with it and (b. was old enough to really deeply critique things and have higher standards, so oh well. I'm so glad you can identify with it! You deserve cake for being awesome and respectful about your opinions as well.

      Oh, really? I've seen some of the shadiness and questions people have, but haven't gone into it very much. Huh.

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  9. You made very many good points!
    That is all.
    Thank you.

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  10. I liked To Kill a Mockingbird, but didn't /love/ it. I completely missed any deeper meanings when I read it, and still don't think it was super powerful. It was an enjoyable book, but not one that deeply affected me.

    I agree with all of the points you made! There is no reason to make someone feel bad for liking or not liking something.

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    1. Yeah, that was kind of how I felt...I disliked it more, but I just...didn't care either way? xD And I think that's okay.

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  11. I feel the same way! Not about Mockingbird because I haven't read it but I hate writing reviews where I'm the black sheep. I always feel like I'm unreliable and that if someone ends up reading it, they'll be like "this book is amazing, what's this chick talking about?"

    I don;'t think I've ever been shamed for not liking something but I know that if I was, the conversation wouldn't go down so well. I'm not embarrassed about my reading tastes in the slightest so if there are people who feel the need to make me feel that way, I'm going to hit them with a different kind of bird.

    Awesome post!

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    1. SO MUCH YES. I really don't want to discourage other people from reading it because they might like it and get a lot out of it like other people, but at the same time I want to be honest...*sighs*

      Well good for you! It's definitely not something we should be embarrassed about, and we shouldn't put up with any shaming. You get points for that. :P Thanks for reading!

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  12. Thank you SO much for writing this, Aimee. I was another bored reader of To Kill a Mockingbird and A Tale of Two Cities, though most people don't bash me about those two.

    Mostly where I get in trouble is when I say that the Lord of the Rings movies were better than the book, I didn't think the Hobbit was particularly well written, and that I really disliked Ranger's Apprentice.
    It's especially hard as a HUGE fan of the LotR movies to always be looked down on by my fellow fans because I simply could not get into the book. It's not like I didn't try, or was one of those fangirls whose only in it for the cute guys, or because I watched the movies first (I read the book long before I watched the movie). And yet it's embarrassing when everyone casts me in that mold and immediately thinks that I'm not as intelligent as them or am completely devoid of literary taste.

    This was an awesome post...keep it up!

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    1. Well, I'm certainly glad I'm not alone! I had a really hard time accepting that I just...didn't like them, especially when people give me shocked looks about it, haha.

      Personally I enjoyed LotR as a book, but I LOVED the movies too and I can definitely see why you could enjoy one and not the other both ways, so you'll find no bashing from me here :) And I LOATHED Ranger's Apprentice. You're not alone there. I really really really hate the bashing that goes on with things like that...if you're enjoying the story, who cares, really? I think we ought to just celebrate what we do have in common and leave it at that. (And I speak as someone who actually liked the somewhat cheesy Inkheart movie and hated all three books, so.)
      Thanks so much for reading!

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  13. Hey! I'm visiting from the GTW link-up. I've actually never even read *To Kill a Mockingbird*. Yeah... I know. :-0

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  14. Really, really nice post and much needed! I didn't like To Kill a Mockingbird much either, btw. I've never read Harry Potter.

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  15. I've honestly never read To Kill a Mockingbird, but I feel the same about Harry Potter. I like it okay, but I don't get what all the hype is about. Some of it, I honestly find, well, silly.
    I also agree about the Percy Jackson movies, lol. Everyone should be able to agree on those. :p


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com

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hey. hey. talk to me. i'm a fan of comments and flailing with you. go for it.