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To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Summary: It is the 1930’s in Maycomb, Alabama. Racism runs rampant, and so does Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. The protagonist, six year old “Scout” Finch has many adventures alongside her eight year old brother Jem, her lawyer father Atticus Finch, and many other interesting characters of the town. Little does she know that the town will encounter many difficult issues over the next two years of her life. A humble and honest man of color is accused of assaulting a white woman, and the case is headed to a supposedly “fair” trial. The town’s ugly underbelly is exposed, and Scout learns hard lessons about character and human nature. Will justice prevail? Will hate and prejudice see reason and forgiveness? Will the integrity of Atticus Finch be enough to save Scout and Jem?

Why we’re reading: Our world is rife with injustice, and in desperate need of people of unshakeable integrity. There are invaluable lessons to be learned from this book that can change hearts, minds, and – most importantly actions – if we will seek out the wisdom to be found. We read this book to better understand ourselves and the world around us.

Romeo & Juliet – William Shakespeare

Summary: Two upper class families of Verona are engaged in a feud that has killed many years, and many men. Yet, out of bitter battle comes love at first sight. Romeo sees Juliet across a crowded room and is transfixed. Juliet sees Romeo and is enraptured. But, will Romeo & Juliet’s young love be enough to overcome the stubborn pride and desperate hate that swirls around them? What does true love look like? Where do dreams end and practicality begin?

Why we’re reading: Hate is easily found in our city, our state, and our nation. There is only one way to deal with hate: love. But, love is vastly misunderstood and abused in our culture today. The heart is neglected while emotions and temporary feelings are infused with Monster energy drinks. We read this play to better understand what true love looks like, how to listen to our God-given hearts, and to gain a sense of compassion for the world around us.

To Kill A Mocking Bird & Fahrenheit 451

To Kill A Mocking Bird & Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Summary: Guy Montag is a fireman. But, in the future firemen do not put out fires, they start them. Guy has been told all his life that books and ideas are bad and that they should be burned, so for many years he does as he is told. Until one day a “peculiar” young woman, and then an “insane” old woman, challenge his thinking. Are books and ideas as bad as he has been told? Maybe life will be better with more distractions and less time for thinking? Will he find the answers he seeks, or will his curiosity lead to his death?

Why we’re reading: In an increasingly polarizing cultural fabric, it is more important than ever before to learn to listen to ideas and opposing viewpoints. For many, listening is a last resort when it should be a default first option. We read this book to better understand our response to opposing ideas, and to learn to appreciate ideas – even if we do not agree with them. We also read this book to understand that faster does not necessarily mean better, and easier is not always a good thing.