"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Monday, September 5, 2011

25 books for America?

In the bookstore the other day, I saw another of those books about books, listing 25 essentials for Americans. Basically they're good for irritating people: "Well, I would have chosen... instead."

I thumbed through it and knew most of them, but couldn't help and wonder why a few others were left out.

And for me, a fan of non-fiction, there was only one.  But anyway, chronologically, here's the ones on the list that I recognized, and you probably guessed most of them anyway:

  1. The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  2. The Last of the Mohicans
  3. The Scarlet Letter
  4. Walden
  5. Moby Dick
  6. Leaves of Grass
  7. Little Women
  8. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  9. My Antonio--I'd have picked Death Comes for the Archbishop
  10. The Great Gatsby
  11. The Sun Also Rises--but what about the Old Man and The Sea?
  12. The Grapes of Wrath
  13. On The Road
  14. The Cat in the Hat
  15. To Kill a Mockingbird


Others recommended which I disagree with were North of Boston, The Weary Blues, USA, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Go Down, Moses, The Adventures of Angie Marsh, The Crying of Lot 49, Song of Solomon, Love Medicine.

 But I wonder, what about Catch 22?  Uncle Tom's Cabin? Gone with the Wind? A River Runs Through It? In Cold Blood? The Naked and the Dead? Look Homeward Angel? The Sound and The Fury or Absalom, Absalom? Fahrenheit 451? The Fountainhead? Blue Highways (non-fiction, thank you)?

Hey, I was an english major, but repented.

Of course, my favorite novel, Heart of Darkness, isn't on it because it's English.

Your suggestions?

1 comment:

  1. Let me see, Uncle Tom's Cabin has to be on the list and "Leaves of Grass", I know why you want "Death Comes for the Archbishop" and I totally agree. Moby Dick has to be on there, and Blue Highways, one of the few books I've read multiple times, same with Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Life on the Mississippi. Walden bored the tears out of me as did the Sun Also Rises but I loved the Old Man and the Sea. Cat in the Hat? nah, Grapes of Wrath needs to be on there. I didn't quite get On the Road, sorry, shows how shallow and callow I am I know.

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