I Kill the Mockingbird

...A book connects you to the universe like a cell phone connects you to the Internet...But it only work if your battery's not dead. Mr. Nowak

But in the book," I say, "the mockingbird is supposed to be a symbol of innocence. That's why it's a sin to kill one."
"Who says it's a symbol of innocence?" asks Mort.
"Teachers," I tell him. "Book reviewers, critics --"
"Wikipedia," Elena calls from behind the window display.

Do either one of you know how to turn this thing on?"
I join him and punch a couple buttons on the [printer's] front panel, but nothing happens.
"We are pitiful," he says.
Elena walks past us, reaches a hand behind the copier, and pushes a switch. The machine begins to hum and glow. "Speak for yourself.

Do you want to be in our mob?" Elena asks him.
"When did we get a mob?" he says.
"We don't have one yet. I'm working on it."
Michael turns to me.
"It's got something to do with books."
"In that case," says Michael, "I'm in.

I'm not one of those people who think that cancer is some kind of jousting match. People live or die based on good medicine, good luck, and the grace of God. The people that die from it did not fail. The people who live will die another day.

Is that a ukulele?" I ask.
We stop and listen closely. "Actually," says Elena, "it's a bunch of ukuleles.

It's not enough to know what all the words mean," he continued. "A good reader starts to see what an entire book is trying to say. And then a good reader will have something to say in return.

It's true," says Michael. "Dicken's novels came out in monthly installments. People couldn't wait for the next chapter to arrive. Mobs would gather at train stations and shipyards so they could be first in line to get the next part of the book."

"Mobs?" I say....

..."People don't feel that way about books anymore," Elena says sadly.

"Some people do," I say.

Life is a gift. Going to church is like sending a thank-you card.

Look both ways before you cross the street," she tells me.
I start to protest, but then it strikes me that if I am very lucky I will be able to offer annoying safety tips to my own children one day.

Look both ways before you cross the street," she tells me.
I start to protest, but then it strikes me that if I am very lucky I will one day be able to offer annoying safety tips to my own children one day.

Mark Twain made black people look like buffoons," [says Michael].
Mort doesn't look up. He doesn't know what we're talking about, but that doesn't stop him from joining the conversation. "Michael," says Mort, "Mark Twain made everybody look like buffoons. He was an equal opportunity buffoon maker.

Mom points at the gravesites all around us. "We all die, Lucy. Me. You. Everybody. But you know what we do first?"
I shake my head.
"We pretend that it's not going to happen. We make believe that we're never going to die. do you know what that's called?"
"Lying?" I say.
"Living, Lucy. It's called living...

Peeps cure cancer!

Shelving books incorrectly is as good as stealing them. It's almost worse.

We are all broken, but sometimes the jagged pieces fit together nicely.

We support all actions that lead to the joy, the fun, the reward, the challenge, and the adventure of reading.

We will speak for the books."
"Like the Lorax?"
"The Lorax speaks for the trees," I remind her.
"Books are made out of paper. Paper is made out of trees."
"What about e-books?"
"We can speak for them too."
"Audiobooks speak for themselves." She grins. "Get it?

When you want something," says Michael, "it's like admitting that your life has a hole in it."
"And to fill that hole, you need something that you don't have and you might not get."
Michael gives a little laugh. "I never thought of it like that."
I recall a lesson from our world religions class. "Didn't the Buddha say that want ing is what makes people suffer?"
"The Buddha didn't play baseball," says Michael.
"If he did, maybe he'd think that wanting isn't such a bad thing."
Michael nods. "In some ways, I think that wanting is an act of courage.

Where did you hide your Mockingbirds?" he asks.
"Ornithology," she replies.
"You hid TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD with the bird books?" I ask.
Elena shrugs. "I was being ironic.

Whoa," says Michael.
"What is it?" I ask.
Michael shakes his head in disbelief. He points at the screen. "Wil Wheaton saw an I Kill the Mockingbird flyer and tweeted about it."
"Wil Wheaton?" I say.
"Wil Wheaton!" Michael says again. "Wil Wheaton!"
"Who is Wil Wheaton?"
"Wil Wheaton!"
"Michael," says Elena, "no matter how many times you say his name we still don't know who you're talking about."
"He's a gamer!" Michael takes the mouse from Elena and clicks on Wil Wheaton's profile. "He's a total geek hero! He's an author and an actor. He used to be on STAR TREK."
I point to the description that Wil Wheaton has written about himself. "It says here that he's just a guy."
"Just a guy who used to be on STAR TREK!" says Michael.