Magazine article USA TODAY

Real Summer Reading to Sink Your Teeth Into

Magazine article USA TODAY

Real Summer Reading to Sink Your Teeth Into

Article excerpt

"America Reads" celebrates the public's choice of 65 books by U.S. authors that have had a profound effect on our way of life. The exhibition is free and open to the public at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., Monday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., through Dec. 31.

The exhibition features some of the rarest and most-interesting editions in the Library's collections. Many volumes are from the Rare Book and Special Collections Division and are seldom on public view. Also included in the exhibition is a video featuring six Pulitzer Prize winners, including Jennifer Egan and Rita Dove, who discuss the books that they think shaped America.

Of the 65 books in "America Reads," 40 were chosen directly by the public. An additional 25 titles were chosen by the public from a list created for the 2012 Library of Congress exhibition "Books That Shaped America," which was a popular exhibit that featured 88 books chosen by Library curators as being representative of the breadth and influence of books by American writers, from the country's founding to the present. The titles were not intended to be a list of the "best" American books. Rather, the Library curators selected 88 books by U.S. authors that they believed had a profound effect on American life.

While the 2012 exhibition was on display, the Library of Congress urged members of the public to name other books that shaped the nation and

to tell the Library which of the 88 books on the list were most important to them. Thousands of readers responded. "America Reads" displays the results, featuring the titles most named.

Once again, the volumes featured in "America Reads" do not necessarily represent the best in American letters, nor do they speak to the diversity of our nation and the books it produces. In other words, the selections are not definitive or all-encompassing but, as with the 2012 exhibition, "America Reads" is intended to jump-start new conversations about the most influential books and what they mean to people.

The 40 new titles chosen by the public are: The Fountainhead and Anthem (Ayn Rand); Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death (Kurt Vonnegut); Little House in the Big Woods (Laura Ingalls Wilder); The Book of Mormon (Joseph Smith); My Antonia (Willa Cather); Roots: The Saga of an American Family (Alex Haley); The Color Purple (Alice Walker); Of Mice and Men and East of Eden (John Steinbeck); The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath); The Things They Carried (Tim O'Brien); All the Presidents Men (Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein); Death of a Salesman and The Crucible (Arthur Miller); The Old Man and the Sea and The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway); One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Ken Kesey); Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream (Hunter S. …

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