Category Archives: Reading

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

2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge | #2016TBRPile

2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge Guidelines

  1. The challenged will run from January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016. The sign up link will remain open until November 30, 2016 at 12:00pm.
  2. Anyone can enter! You don’t have to be a blogger, just as long as you review the book you’ve read. You can review on your book on your blog, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc.
  3. Any genre, length, or format of book counts as long as it is a book that’s been sitting on your self for some time. Short stories and novellas do count! The only stipulations that the book must have been released in 2015 or earlier. No 2016 ARCs or 2016 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed.
  4. On the last Monday of every other month (see schedule below), we will post a wrap-up for the previous two months. These posts will be done by one our bloggers and will contain new linky for you to add your own wrap-up posts or reviews.
  5. You don’t have to follow Bookish to join the challenge, but you do have to follow us to be entered in the giveaways.
  6. Use #2016TBRPile to keep in contact with fellow challenge participants, to encourage each other on, and make new friends!
How many books are you planning to read for this challenge?
1-10 A Firm Handshake
11-20 A Friendly Hug
21-30 First Kiss
31-40 Sweet Summer Fling
41-50 Could This Be Love?
50+ Married with Children

I have a lot of TBR book sitting on my shelves (two bookshelves full.) I will be updating this list through out 2016 as I finish reading books off the shelf. (No pick-ups from 2016 will count, even if it’s an older title.)

Thanks to Jessica at A Great Read for introducing me to this challenge.

2016 TBR Pile Reads

  1. Prilla and the Butterfly Lie
  2. Seeing Redd (The Looking Glass Wars, #2)
  3. The Iron Ring
  4. Lord Foulgrins Letters

What’s on My Nightstand

Whats on My NightstandAfter reading this blog  What’s on My Nightstand? | Karen Barnett {Plus a Giveaway!} by my friend Karen Barnett I decided to try my hand at a similar blog myself. I actually have two bookcases, overflowing with my to-read books. One of the rules in our house is that before it finds a permanent spot one of us (my husband or I) have to read it. Well since we seem to not be able to stop buying more books this leads to a big stack up of to-read material.

Here’s what’s currently on my nightstand:

My Kindle, I keep my kindle close at hand even when I’m not currently reading any Kindle titles.

I picked up Sorting the Beef from the Bull, from our local library. My goal is to finish it by the library board meeting this coming Tues. Our board approves a selection of science, religious and educational titles each month as part of a legacy gift that was given to the library, this book was one of those selections.

I’ve been working my way through, Lord Foulgrins Letter. The problem is that the book doesn’t make very good night time reading because it is very dark and serious in parts. The parts of the book with the characters are compelling but very short compared to the letters from Lord Foulgrin. The letter are basically about how Satan wants to destroy people’s lives, not exactly what I want to read before I go to sleep.

50 Literature Ideas you really need to know, is a book that I have been slowly digesting for a while. Its a great book for understanding the types of literature you read, but it’s like a textbook-lite so its not a speed reading sort of thing.

I have a goal to read all of the Newbery Award books and last year I began, Onion John. The problem is that I don’t really find it compelling or interesting so I pretty much abandoned it. I’m going to have to finish it eventually though to complete my Newbery goal.

And finally Forgiven and Set Free, is a Bible study my mom suggested to me. It’s about recovering from abortion, but is really good for understanding the grief that losing a child (abortion, miscarriage, still-birth) causes a women. I started reading it because I was interested in women’s ministry and understanding this complex issue is helpful in ministry.


Drop Everything and Read 2016

deardayD.E.A.R Day is coming up tomorrow April 12th. Drop Everything and Read is a celebration of author Beverly Cleary’s Birthday.  To celebrate you simply pick a time (at least 30 mins), pick a book, and just read. It’s the perfect holiday if you ask me.

Other Ideas for Celebrating:

  • Read a book by Beverly Cleary, like Ramona Quimby, Age 8, the inspiration for D.E.A.R day. Challenge yourself to start and finish it in one day.
  • Go to the library and read there. Our library has lots of comfortable reading areas. Find a book on the shelf and sit down and read. If you like the book check it out.
  • Read a book that ties into a favorite TV. For kids read an Arthur book, like Arthur’s New Puppy or Curious George. For adults try something like this Downtown Abby inspired novel or George RR Martins A Game of Thorns.
  • Watch an interview with one of your favorite authors. Check out this great list from Reading Rockets. Then read a book by that author.
  • Do a book craft with your kids.
  • Lastly, you could to wear it. Wear a fun t-shirt, do your nail literary style (I have lots of great ideas on this pin board,) wear a vintage library button, something to say “I’m Love Reading!” I will be wearing Jamberry “Word to the Wise” nail wraps.

Bonus: Watch the Oregon Public Broadcasting special on Beverly Cleary.



Another Big Year for Pocket

I’ve raved about the Pocket app before. It is absolutely the best way to save articles to read later. In the digital age this becomes more and more important as so much of our information is found in blogs and online articles. Again for 2015 I was in the top 5% of users by reading 600,141 words the equivalent of about reading 13 Books. Check out my year in Pocket.

Because I also have Pocket connected to Degreed it tracks the number of articles I read and gives me points for reading. So far I have read a total of 1,527 articles. Degreed is a great tool for keeping track of your continuing education, because education doesn’t stop when you graduate. (In fact in my business of websites and content it’s a must to keep learning and discovering better ways of doing things.) They call themselves “The Lifelong Learning Platform.” “Individuals and organizations use Degreed to find, track and recognize ALL learning.” I love anything that encourages reading as life long learning. Check out Degreed here and Pocket here and join me in the digital age of reading and learning.

Pocket: Or the Other 849,361 Words I Read in 2014

pocket 2014

I first brought up Pocket last year in my post. It’s a very useful app for saving articles and reading them later. In fact I enjoy the Pocket layout better than the original blog in many cases. I love that I can use it anywhere, and that it downloads the articles on my android so I can read them even when I don’t have wi-fi. This year Pocket sent me a notice saying I was in the top 5% of users and a link to this awesome year in review.


You read 849,361 words in Pocket in 2014. That’s practically 18 books, which earns you a spot in this year’s Top 5% of readers!” That would be another 410 articles added to last years 407.

Brought to you by the letter ‘S’

Even though I read through each blog twice before I post sometimes mistakes slip through. This is a posting I wrote for a previous blog about one of my most common errors. Hope you enjoy. Remember to share a joke with someone today because April is National Humor Month.

by Arwen McGilvra on Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 10:26am

“In a relationship sometimes you wake up one day and realize that you don’t know the person any more, that you’ve drifted apart. You’re not sure how it happened, but suddenly you feel different. And when you’re honest with yourself you know it really wasn’t all that sudden. But you don’t know how it started.

And so it is with my complicated relationship with the letter ‘S’. I don’t know when it began, but the letter ‘S’ and I have grown apart. I didn’t even know it. In fact I would have gone on thinking everything was alright if my husband hadn’t pointed it out to me. And when I had to look at it straight in the mouth I saw the terrible truth; in almost every blog I’d written for months I’d left off the ‘s’ at the end of words.

Oh ‘S’ how could this have happened? Where did we go wrong? It’s not like I hate you or anything. I just sometimes find you inconvenient. When I’m typing I guess I’m just thinking faster than I can type, and you just get left behind. Don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s me.

Really ‘S’ could we work this out? Oh, don’t look at me like that. I didn’t do it to purposely hurt you. It’s not like I’m going to cut you out of my life. In fact sometimes I use one ‘s’ too many. Doesn’t that help make up for some of the times I’ve left you out.

Now, don’t glare at me. I know I’ve used you wrongly. Isn’t there any room in your heart for forgiveness?

Okay, I can’t talk to you when you’re like this. If you want to work things out you know where to find me. I really thought you could be more mature about this. That’ right walk away. I don’t need you anyway. I can do it without you. Will ee whoe writing uffer more.”