It is almost true to say that I was embarrassed into reading this book. I got sent one of those lists of "a hundred greatest novels" or something, and when I mentioned I hadn't read this to several people, I was mocked(!) for ignoring one of the greatest pieces of literature ever.
And indeed it is. It's an easy read, but filled with discussion points and great thoughts and ideas - a quick Google search on the title will bring you up dozens of pages discussing it, because it is so often (in Britain at least) picked for English students.
It centres on attitudes to racism, through a rape trial in a small town in the Deep South. What makes it superb, is that the racism, and the attitudes of the townsfolk - racist, liberal or black are described through the naive but hopeful eyes of Scout, an eight year old girl.
Scout's innocence helps emphasise the absurdity and awfulness of racism, and makes the outcome of the trail even more distinct.
Read this novel before you're embarrassed too. Oh, anyone know if it's ever taught in the Deep South today?