A Good Read: Books that Shaped America

by Judlyne Lilly

When was the last time you read the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Call of the Wild or W.E.B. Du Bois The Souls of Black Folk?

It’s one of 88 books on exhibit at Books that Shaped America compiled by the Library of Congress. The Librarian of Congress, James Billington, says the books aren’t necessarily the best books – they’re the ones that influenced the nation.

For instance, Thomas Paine didn’t initially own up to writing Common Sense because it presented a controversial argument – freedom from British Rule.

The Souls of Black Folk, published in 1903, explored the cruelties of racism and the now famous “double-consciousness” of African American life.

Benjamin Franklin’s Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.

And Of course there’s the poignant stuff – Thornton Wilder’s Play Our Town.

The fun stuff, Where The Wild Things Are and it’s predecessor of sorts – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.


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