Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Books That Shaped America

Most readers love lists of books. I know I do.

Well, now here is another one. Yesterday, our very own Library of Congress opened an exhibit of Books That Shaped America in conjunction with its multi-year Celebration of the Book. Here on display are 88 books dating from 1751 (Benjamin Franklin's Experiments and Observations on Electricity) up to 2002 (The Words of Cesar Chavez).

Many of the usual suspects are here: Walden, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Common Sense, The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Gatsby.

But how about A Survey of the Roads of the United States of America (1789),  The History of Standard Oil (1904), and Joy of Cooking (1931).

Here is the link to the complete list: Books That Shaped America.

“This list is a starting point,” according to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “It is not a register of the ‘best’ American books – although many of them fit that description. Rather, the list is intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives, whether they appear on this initial list or not.”

There is a link on the website where you can nominate the book or books that you think ought to be on this list. Of the 88, I have read maybe 20. I will certainly be jumping over there to nominate All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren.

What books would you add?

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