I need a little break from work today, so I’d like to start a book discussion. Kayla Olson recently blogged about loving the last scene in her novel. She asked her readers if they had such a scene in their writing. I replied that I did, but those scenes might not be favorites with my readers.
Her question started me thinking about memorable scenes in the novels I’ve read. Some, of course, are pivotal scenes, ones destined to become famous, but not all. Some resonate with me on a level not shared by everyone. As we’ve discussed before, reading is subjective. We each filter what we read through our thoughts, feelings, and memories, and it’s with that criteria we choose our favorites.
It need not be the whole scene that grabs us. Sometimes it’s just a paragraph or two, often descriptive. One such passage for me appears in the first chapter of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. In one paragraph, she creates the book’s world for me.
Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first new it. In rainy weather, the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.
Please share a memorable passage from a book you love or, if you’re feeling contrary, maybe you’d like to share an illustration why you didn’t care for a particular book. I doubt we’ll all agree on either, but the discussion should be interesting. We might even discover new books to add to our To Read shelves.
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