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88 Books That Shaped America, According To Library Of Congress


First Posted: 06/25/2012 8:26 am Updated: 06/26/2012 9:33 am

On Friday, the Library of Congress released its list of the "books that shaped America." There are 88 books on the list, and there will be an exhibit in Washington that opens Monday.

According to the AP, Librarian of Congress James Billington said that these books are not meant to be the "best" books. Rather, the library hopes to ignite conversation around the books that influenced the nation.

The Library Of Congress has asked the general public to nominate more titles for the list. You can give your input at the Library of Congress website.

At first glance, we thought this list was pretty comprehensive. But then we realized: where are Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Flannery O'Connor, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon and Henry James? If "Goodnight Moon" makes this list, then how does "The Age of Innocence" get overlooked? There also seems to be a lot of Native American and Asian American perspective missing.

What do you think? What should be added to this list (or subtracted)? Let us know in the comments!

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  • "Experiments and Observations on Electricity" by Benjamin Franklin (1751)

  • "Franklin's Way to Wealth, or, Poor Richard Improved" by Benjamin Franklin (1758)

  • "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine (1776)

  • "A Grammatical Institute of the English Language" by Noah Webster (1783)

  • "The Federalist" (1787)

  • "A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible" (1788)

  • "A Survey of the Roads of the United States of America" by Christopher Colles (1789)

  • "The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin, LL.D." by Benjamin Franklin (1793)

  • "American Cookery" by Amelia Simmons (1796)

  • "New England Primer" (1803)

  • "History of the Expedition Under the Command of the Captains Lewis and Clark" by Meriwether Lewis (1814)

  • "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving (1820)

  • "McGuffey's Newly Revised Eclectic Primer" by William Holmes McGuffey (1836)

  • "Peter Parley's Universal History" by Samuel Goodrich (1837)

  • "The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" by Frederick Douglass (1845)

  • "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)

  • "Moby-Dick; or, The Whale" by Herman Melville (1851)

  • "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852)

  • "Walden; or, Life in the Woods" by Henry David Thoreau (1854)

  • "Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman (1855)

  • "Little Women, or, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy" by Louisa May Alcott (1868)

  • "Mark, the Match Boy" by Horatio Alger Jr (1869)

  • "The American Woman's Home" by Catharine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe (1869)

  • "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain (1884)

  • "Poems" by Emily Dickinson (1890)

  • "How the Other Half Lives" by Jacob Riis (1890)

  • "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane (1895)

  • "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum (1900)

  • "Harriet, the Moses of Her People" by Sarah H. Bradford (1901)

  • "The History of Standard Oil" by Ida Tarbell (1904)

  • "The Call of the Wild" by Jack London (1903)

  • "The Souls of Black Folk" by W.E.B. Du Bois (1903)

  • "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair (1906)

  • "The Education of Henry Adams" by Henry Adams (1907)

  • "Pragmatism" by William James (1907)

  • "Riders of the Purple Sage" by Zane Grey (1912)

  • "Tarzan of the Apes" by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1914)

  • "Family Limitation" by Margaret Sanger (1914)

  • "Spring and All" by William Carlos Williams (1923)

  • "New Hampshire" by Robert Frost (1923)

  • "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

  • "The Weary Blues" by Langston Hughes (1925)

  • "The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner (1929)

  • "Red Harvest" by Dashiell Hammett (1929)

  • "Joy of Cooking" by Irma Rombauer (1931)

  • "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell (1936)

  • "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie (1936)

  • "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)

  • "Idaho: A Guide in Word and Pictures" by Federal Writers' Project (1937)

  • "Our Town: A Play" by Thornton Wilder (1938)

  • "Alcoholics Anonymous" (1939)

The list begins with Benjamin Franklin's "Experiments and Observations on Electricity" from 1751. It includes Thomas Paine's "Common Sense," novels "The Scarlet Letter," "Moby-Dick," "Little Women" and "The Great Gatsby" and other famous titles like "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" and "The Cat in the Hat."

The library wants the public to nominate other titles. An exhibit on the "Books that Shaped America" opens Monday.


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Filed by Zoë Triska  |