Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Grist for the Mill » 88 books the Shaped America

   
Author Topic: 88 books the Shaped America
LDWriter2
Member
Member # 9148

 - posted      Profile for LDWriter2   Email LDWriter2         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
At Christian Science Monitor

http://tinyurl.com/88books

Posts: 4891 | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rcmann
Member
Member # 9757

 - posted      Profile for rcmann   Email rcmann         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Odd. I don't see the Torah, the Bible (there's a children's version), or the Koran on that list. Or any other religious text.
Posts: 884 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Shaygirl
Member
Member # 9761

 - posted      Profile for Shaygirl   Email Shaygirl         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Especially since the founders of America often quoted the Bible during the process of making the Constitution...

Plus society then was pretty religious...

Perhaps they felt that listing such books would be redundant since they clearly belong there?

Posts: 83 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Couple of odd choices, but reasonably acceptable. I suppose they were looking for books written by Americans or published first in the USA, too.

Only one overt SF book on the list---Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.

Posts: 8272 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rcmann
Member
Member # 9757

 - posted      Profile for rcmann   Email rcmann         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What struck me was that our system of jurisprudence was originally derived from English common law. English common law was most definitely shaped by the bible. Which in turn was ultimately derived from Moses. Seems a bit odd to ignore that. Even if one is agnostic or atheist, the historical record is clear.
Posts: 884 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LDWriter2
Member
Member # 9148

 - posted      Profile for LDWriter2   Email LDWriter2         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have no idea of why any books were rejected and even though I didn't read the whole list the ones I did were fiction.

But the written or published first rule in American would exempt at least the major religious texts.

Posts: 4891 | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rcmann
Member
Member # 9757

 - posted      Profile for rcmann   Email rcmann         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You are quite right. I neglected to follow the links all the way to the full press release on the gov't web site. The list is books by American authors. Sorry. My bad.
Posts: 884 | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyre Dynasty
Member
Member # 1947

 - posted      Profile for Pyre Dynasty   Email Pyre Dynasty         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Idaho: A Guide of Words and Pictures? Seriously? I guess they wanted to give a nod to the Federal Writer's project. But Idaho? Have they been to Idaho?

Invisible Man is sci-fi also I believe. Fahrenheit 451 is on the list as well. I don't know about Atlas Shrugged but it might be sci-fi. (Anthem was.) Still 3(4) out of 88 I think is quite an underepresentation.

That has me thinking about what books should be on there, you know if they hadn't stopped at 88 and rounded up to a full hundred. Ender's Game totally belongs there.

Posts: 1871 | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The Invisible Man mentioned isn't the one by H. G. Wells, but the one by Ralph Ellison.

I was thinking of ones first published as SF---and I missed Fahrenheit 451 on my previous pass through the list...I count ten books that are tangentally SF or fantasy on the list.

Posts: 8272 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
EVOC
Member
Member # 9381

 - posted      Profile for EVOC   Email EVOC         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
With few exceptions, that list is pretty bogus. Like most lists it is one persons random opinion. These lists are rarely backed up by anything.

I say we make a list of 88 random books. We'll tape names to the wall and just throw darts. We could call it: 88 Books that Attract Darts [Big Grin]

Posts: 724 | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattLeo
Member
Member # 9331

 - posted      Profile for MattLeo   Email MattLeo         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, this kind of exercise is always somewhat bogus, but as such lists go this one is rather good. Here's an interesting exercise. Think of ten American books that have shaped American life or the American character through *popular awareness*. See if those books are on the list.

Let me explain the "popular awareness" proviso. Possibly the single most influential American book I can think of is marketing and public relations pioneer Edward Bernays' 1927 *Propaganda*. Bernays is the man who coined the term "bacon and eggs." But while this book was extremely influential in marketing and advertising and popularized the commercial application of psychology, almost nobody's ever heard of it. So I wouldn't include it on the list.

Here's my list:

(1) Upton Sinclair's *The Jungle*. This book single-handedly created government meat inspections. On the LoC list.

(2) "Uncle Tom's Cabin". On the list.

(3) Ben Franklin's autobiography. This book was very influential in shaping the 19th C American character. On the list.

(4) Riders of the Purple Sage. The cowboy novel shaped our view of ourselves as no other genre. You can't point to any one book, as it was hundreds if not thousands 19th C penny-dreadfuls, but the one Western everyone can name is *Riders of the Purple Sage*, so we'll use it as a stand-in. On the list.

(5) W.E.B. Dubois *The Souls of Black Folks*. Written 20th Century, this book was influential in shift in the public consensus over that century from "scientific racism" to racial equality. On the list.

(6) Stranger in a Strange Land. This book is arguably less influential than many important sci-fi works. I'd argue the single most influential book is Doc Smith's *Galactic Patrol*, but most people will never have heard of that. If people can name one sci-fi novel, it'll be *Stranger in a Strange Land*, and there is no other sci-fi work I can think of that has entered the public consciousness so widely.


(7) *The Scarlet Letter*. On the list.

(8) Dale Carengie's *How to Win Friends and Influence People*. A boon to salesmen everywhere, this book inspired the American self-help subculture. On the list.

(9) Last of the Mohicans. Famously mocked by Mark Twain for his execrable style and implausible writing, Cooper nonetheless was influential on America's self-image. NOT on the list.

(10) *The Fannie Farmer Cookbook*. Not on the list. *American Cookery* from 1796 is on the list, but while that is a historically interesting book, Fannie Farmer's cookbook has remained continuously in print for 112 years through over a dozen editions.

So there you have it. Ten influential American books off the top of my head, eight of them on the list. I'd say that's not bad.

[ June 29, 2012, 05:50 PM: Message edited by: MattLeo ]

Posts: 1346 | Registered: Dec 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Out of some frustration for wading through several pages, here's a link to the list:

http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/books-that-shaped-america/

And here's a link to the original press release:

http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2012/12-123.html

*****

I found it a little surprising that they went with Horatio Alger's Mark, the Match Boy, rather than his Ragged Dick, or Street Life in New York Among the Bootblacks. Unless they didn't want any jokes.

Posts: 8272 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2