The Library of Congress, as part of the National Book Festival (Sept. 22-23 on the National Mall), has released a list of Books That Shaped America. This is a much more interesting list than standard "best" lists because it's based on national influence rather than literary quality or enduring popularity. There are books on the list that I've never even heard of and others that I've never seen on lists before.
From their site --
“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.”Click on the link above to take their survey on which of the 88 books on the list you think have shaped America and to suggest additions to the list.
We hope you will view the list, nominate other titles, and most importantly, choose to read and discuss some of the books on this list, reflecting America’s unique and extraordinary literary heritage, which the Library of Congress makes available to the world.
How many of the books have you read? (20 for me)
What would you add to their list? (immediately I would add O, Pioneers or My Antonia by Willa Cather)
Are there any of these books that you feel you NEED to read? (I should start with something from Benjamin Franklin. I've actually never read any of his own writings.)
What do my non-American readers think about the books on this list?
Thinking about books in a new way,