Books That Shaped America

booksthatshapedamericaThe Library of Congress, the world’s largest repository of knowledge and information, began a multiyear “Celebration of the Book” with an exhibition on “Books That Shaped America.”

“This list is a starting point,” said 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.”

Here is the list. I had no idea going into this how many books I might have read, but I am always interested in book lists, especially if they come from a place like the Library of Congress. It’s neat to see how many books in a given collection you’ve read. However, this list is not a goal list for me, like my Newbery book list is. This is simply a fun exercise.

I am surprised that the Constitution and Declaration of Independence is not on this list (possibly because they are not technically “books”?)

I’ve read 7. Read marked in blue. On the To-read shelf marked in green. Have no intention of ever reading.

How many have you read? Leave me a comment to let me know.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn -Mark Twain 1884
Alcoholics Anonymous – anonymous 1939
American Cookery – Amelia Simmons 1796
The American Woman’s Home – Catharine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe 1869
And the Band Played On – Randy Shilts 1987
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand 1957
The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Malcolm X and Alex Haley 1965
Beloved – Toni Morrison 1987
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee – Dee Brown 1970
The Call of the Wild -Jack London 1903
The Cat in the Hat – Dr. Seuss 1957
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller 1961
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger 1951
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White 1952
Common Sense – Thomas Paine 1776
The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care – Benjamin Spock 1946
Cosmos – Carl Sagan 1980
A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible – anonymous 1788
The Double Helix – James D. Watson 1968
The Education of Henry Adams – Henry Adams 1907
Experiments and Observations on Electricity – Benjamin Franklin 1751
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury 1953
Family Limitation – Margaret Sanger 1914
The Federalist – anonymous 1787
The Feminine Mystique – Betty Friedan 1963
The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin 1963
For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway 1940
Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell 1936
Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown 1947
A Grammatical Institute of the English Language – Noah Webster 1783
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck 1939
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald 1925
Harriet, the Moses of Her People – Sarah H. Bradford 1901
The History of Standard Oil – Ida Tarbell 1904
History of the Expedition Under the Command of the Captains Lewis and Clark – Meriwether Lewis 1814
How the Other Half Lives – Jacob Riis 1890
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie 1936
Howl – Allen Ginsberg 1956
The Iceman Cometh – Eugene O’Neill 1946
Idaho: A Guide in Word and Pictures – Federal Writers’ Project 1937
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote 1966
Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison 1952
Joy of Cooking – Irma Rombauer 1931
The Jungle – Upton Sinclair 1906
Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman 1855
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving 1820
Little Women, or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy – Louisa May Alcott 1868
Mark, the Match Boy – Horatio Alger Jr. 1869
McGuffey’s Newly Revised Eclectic Primer – William Holmes McGuffey 1836
Moby-Dick; or The Whale – Herman Melville 1851
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass – Frederick Douglass 1845
Native Son – Richard Wright 1940
New England Primer – anonymous 1803
New Hampshire – Robert Frost 1923
On the Road – Jack Kerouac 1957
Our Bodies, Ourselves – Boston Women’s Health Book Collective 1971
Our Town: A Play – Thornton Wilder 1938
Peter Parley’s Universal History – Samuel Goodrich 1837
Poems – Emily Dickinson 1890
Poor Richard Improved and The Way to Wealth – Benjamin Franklin 1758
Pragmatism – William James 1907
The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin – LL.D. Benjamin Franklin 1793
The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane 1895
Red Harvest – Dashiell Hammett 1929
Riders of the Purple Sage – Zane Grey 1912
The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne 1850
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male – Alfred C. Kinsey 1948
Silent Spring – Rachel Carson 1962
The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats 1962
The Souls of Black Folk – W.E.B. Du Bois 1903
The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner 1929
Spring and All William – Carlos Williams 1923
Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein 1961
A Street in Bronzeville – Gwendolyn Brooks 1945
A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams 1947
A Survey of the Roads of the United States of America – Christopher Colles 1789
Tarzan of the Apes – Edgar Rice Burroughs 1914
Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston 1937
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee 1960
A Treasury of American Folklore – Benjamin A. Botkin 1944
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith 1943
Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe 1852
Unsafe at Any Speed – Ralph Nader 1965
Walden; or Life in the Woods – Henry David Thoreau 1854
The Weary Blues – Langston Hughes 1925
Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak 1963
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum 1900
The Words of Cesar Chavez – Cesar Chavez 2002

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