Throwback Thursday (June 21): A Time to Kill

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books!

It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

You don’t have to be a book blogger to participate! You can put up a Throwback Thursday post on your non-bookish blog; or if you don’t have a blog at all, just use the comments to tell us about a book you remember fondly.

Here’s how it works:
1. Pick any book released more than 5 years ago. Adult, YA, Children’s; doesn’t matter. Any great book will do.
2. Write up a short summary of the book (include the title, author, and cover art) and an explanation of why you love it. Make sure to link back to The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books in your post.
3. Link up your post at The Housework Can Wait or Never Too Fond of Books.
4. Visit as many blogs as you can, reminisce about books you loved, and discover some “new” books for your TBR list!

Feel free to grab the Throwback Thursday button code from the sidebar to use in your posts.

Thanks for participating, and we look forward to seeing which books you choose to remember!

My Throwback this week is…

A Time to Kill by John Grisham.

As you may have figured out by now, my reading habits did not follow the normal pattern. I started with early readers and progressed to beginner chapter books, but then I skipped over the entire YA category and went straight to adult fiction. I read pretty much exclusively adult fiction from the time I was 10 until I was about to graduate college. And it was only then, when I was technically “too old” for YA, that I discovered it.

Therefore, most of the books I remember from my younger years are adult books. And one of the authors I absolutely adored while I was in high school was John Grisham.

As you’re probably aware, Grisham writes primarily legal thrillers, a genre I’ve always been strangely drawn to. I love the logic, the detail, and the methodology.

A Time to Kill is one of the least action-driven, but most poignant of Grisham’s novels (it was also Grisham’s debut novel). It follows Jake Brigance, a young lawyer in small town Mississippi. Jake takes on the case of Carl Lee Hailey, an African-American man who murdered the two KKK members that raped, beat, and attempted to murder his 10-year-old daughter.

The town splits as the black community advocates for the release of Carl Lee, and the KKK and white supremacists argue for his execution. And as a young white man, Jake finds himself with few allies, and pitted against the most powerful lawyer in the state, battling overwhelming odds as he fights for Carl Lee both in and out of the courtroom.

This book is incredibly moving. The brutal attack on 10-year-old Tonya at the beginning of the book will chill you to the bone. And the rest of the book doesn’t shy away from difficult questions. How is a father supposed to react when his daughter’s attackers look like they will go free? When is revenge justified? How do our own perceptions of race sway our opinions of right and wrong? Nothing in this book is simple or easy, and Jake and Carl Lee both run the gamut of emotions and morality.

I’d recommend this book even if you don’t think legal thrillers are your thing. The characters it introduces and the questions it raises are worth the read.

(This book was also adapted into a film, which, in my opinion, is the best of the Grisham film adaptations.)

This is a blog hop! Link up your Throwback Thursday post below!

Starting out

I’ve loved to read ever since I could read.

In elementary school, I devoured series like The Boxcar Children and The Baby-sitters Club.

In middle school, I ventured into the world of science fiction with Michael Crichton.

In high school, I dabbled in a variety of genres, from classic literature like Les Misérables, Jane Eyre and Lord of the Rings, to the legal thrillers of John Grisham, to the sweet and semi-sappy romances of Maeve Binchy.

The only limitation I put on myself was that I didn’t want to read anything that was actually written for kids my age. I viewed Young Adult Fiction with distain. I thought the only people who read it were kids who didn’t know any better. I was Above It All.

Then in college, a friend gave me a book for my birthday. It was a gag gift, since it was a series I had made fun of for years (and it wasn’t even the first book in the series). He knew if I owned it, I’d have to read it.

The book was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

I read it.

I loved it.

Fast-forward to over a decade later. I now read what I want. Sometimes it’s books about teenagers, written for teenagers. Sometimes it’s books written for adults about housewives, detectives, spies, reporters, librarians. If it sounds interesting, I’ll read it.

I finally realized that it’s not “mature” to look down my nose at a book simply because of its intended audience. Likewise, I was not winning any brownie points in life by only reading books written for adults (and let’s face it, there’s just as much — if not more — garbage out there targeted at adults as there is for kids).

This year – 2012 – I decided to start writing down my thoughts about the books I read. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I always end each book I read with my head swimming with thoughts, and often no one to share them with. So I’ll share them with you (whoever you are).

You may not agree with me. That’s fine. I don’t agree with anyone on books (or most other things) 100% of the time either.

So here we go.