The first copy of To Kill A Mockingbird I bought for myself is a Random House Vintage Future Classics edition. I bought it from a bookshop in Hampstead, London where I was volunteering for four months in my gap year between high school and college. For one of the ice breakers at my organization, we were asked to put something in a box that was meaningful to us. Everyone knew that the book belonged to me.
So goes my general explanation when people ask me about To Kill A Mockingbird and its connection to my family: “Well, my dad wanted to name me Calpurnia and my sister Scout but my mom shot him down. It’s kind of a family thing.”
So USUALLY DOES NOT GO my general explanation: “Well, I was really bored in high school and complaining about not having things to read and my dad handed me this book and I loved it. I didn’t love it as much as I loved Catch-22, which he also handed me during a similar complaint, but I did love it. I didn’t start collecting until college though.”
So RARELY IF EVER goes my explanation, especially in explaining the collection, but here I am, explaining it to the world for the first time: “I was lonely in London, even though I was surrounded by amazing people, and I missed my family a lot so I bought it. And then I was lonely in college, even though I was surrounded by amazing people, and I missed my family a lot. When I found out that collecting books was a thing people did, I went out and bought two copies of To Kill A Mockingbird, like I could bring my family closer to me through collecting copies of a book that I associate with my family. Sometimes you get lonely and retail therapy helps. Sometimes retail therapy gets out of hand and then you win an award for it. And with the prize money you build a collection so big that you’re rarely lonely again, if only because having such a collection is a great icebreaker.”
and so on.
2008. (Please forgive the quality — I’m still sorting out my camera.)