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The Power of a Good Book

Never having read it, and deciding that I ought to before seeing the movie (which waits at home) I brought my copy of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird with me yesterday, and began reading it as I sat down to lunch. I'd read perhaps twenty pages when two teenaged girls paused near my table. One walked right up to where I sat. "

You're reading To Kill a Mockingbird!?," she enthused. "That's such a good book!" Not knowing what else to say, I thanked her, allowed that I'd certainly heard the book was excellent, that it had been well recommended, and that indeed I was enjoying it so far. Her friend stayed back a bit and smiled quietly at us.

The conversation continued briefly in this vein; then the two headed over to examine the nearby carousel, and found a table of their own. Not five minutes later two more young women approached, and I heard one say to the other "To Kill a Mockingbird! We were just talking about that book!" Beat. They came closer.

"Excuse me. Are you reading To Kill a Mockingbird?"

"Yes I am."

"I love that book. We just read it this year in school. And we were just talking about it a little while ago. Why was that?"

"We'd met someone named Atticus," her friend reminded her.

After talking with me briefly and turning away these two spotted the first two girls a short distance away and called to them in greeting. The society of Harper Lee readers is close indeed, and perhaps I should have followed them to their table to visit. But I was fewer than thirty pages along, and I returned to my reading.

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