When I tell people that I've never read Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird their first reaction is to question my public school education. Having now read it, I can see why it's a staple of high school English lit.
Part Faulkner, part Dickens, Mockingbird tells from a child's eyes the Depression-era trial in Alabama of a black man for a rape he did not commit. The innocence of the 8 year old's retelling of the tale and the staid almost cinematic black & whiteness of the townspeople make the undercurrent of racism that much uglier when it bubbles to the surface.
It's an excellent novel that I still can't literally say I've read because I listened to Sissy Spacek's virtually perfect reading in audiobook format. And since I'm apparently the last person to read this tale, I'll leave it to you to recall why it's a sin To Kill a Mockingbird.