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BS: Greatest American Books

Stu 17 Mar 10 - 10:56 AM
SINSULL 17 Mar 10 - 11:22 AM
SINSULL 17 Mar 10 - 11:23 AM
SINSULL 17 Mar 10 - 11:24 AM
SINSULL 17 Mar 10 - 11:25 AM
SINSULL 17 Mar 10 - 11:28 AM
SINSULL 17 Mar 10 - 11:29 AM
SINSULL 17 Mar 10 - 11:29 AM
Stu 17 Mar 10 - 11:30 AM
SINSULL 17 Mar 10 - 11:34 AM
SINSULL 17 Mar 10 - 11:37 AM
SINSULL 17 Mar 10 - 11:40 AM
Amos 17 Mar 10 - 11:40 AM
Fred McCormick 17 Mar 10 - 11:47 AM
Stu 17 Mar 10 - 11:53 AM
Amos 17 Mar 10 - 12:08 PM
Amos 17 Mar 10 - 12:14 PM
Wesley S 17 Mar 10 - 12:20 PM
Wesley S 17 Mar 10 - 12:22 PM
Jim Dixon 17 Mar 10 - 12:27 PM
katlaughing 17 Mar 10 - 12:57 PM
Wesley S 17 Mar 10 - 02:13 PM
SINSULL 17 Mar 10 - 02:15 PM
Amos 17 Mar 10 - 02:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Mar 10 - 02:50 PM
J-boy 17 Mar 10 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,mg 17 Mar 10 - 03:07 PM
Wesley S 17 Mar 10 - 03:49 PM
Stu 17 Mar 10 - 03:54 PM
katlaughing 17 Mar 10 - 04:15 PM
Eiseley 17 Mar 10 - 04:50 PM
3refs 17 Mar 10 - 05:21 PM
Lighter 17 Mar 10 - 05:35 PM
Bill D 17 Mar 10 - 05:41 PM
Will Fly 17 Mar 10 - 06:52 PM
kendall 17 Mar 10 - 07:02 PM
GUEST,SINS 17 Mar 10 - 08:01 PM
GUEST,Devon 17 Mar 10 - 08:05 PM
pattyClink 17 Mar 10 - 09:26 PM
MGM·Lion 18 Mar 10 - 12:50 AM
Bert 18 Mar 10 - 01:12 AM
mrdux 18 Mar 10 - 01:59 AM
kendall 18 Mar 10 - 04:24 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 18 Mar 10 - 04:38 AM
Rapparee 18 Mar 10 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,HiLo 18 Mar 10 - 09:25 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 18 Mar 10 - 09:26 AM
kendall 18 Mar 10 - 09:30 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 18 Mar 10 - 09:33 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 18 Mar 10 - 09:36 AM
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Subject: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Stu
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 10:56 AM

I'm sat here wondering what the greatest American books ever are. I'm talking about books that get to the heart of the American dream, the American nightmare, the sou of the people and the essence of the country.

I'm interested in anything from novels to factual, from histories to road trips, from beats to suits. I want opinions on the obvious and the obscure, on the bigger picture and the smaller picture. From the wild west to the wildest flights of fantasy, the light ad the dark, within and without, let's hear about it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:22 AM

To Kill A Mockingbird.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:23 AM

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn
Tom Sawyer


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:24 AM

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:25 AM

Andersonville


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:28 AM

Atlas Shrugged
The Fountainhead

Although there will be objections.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:29 AM

The Scarlet Letter


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:29 AM

Think and Grow Rich


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Stu
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:30 AM

Why objections to those to Sinsull?


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:34 AM

Ayn Rand's philosophy is despised by many. Read Atlas Shrugged and decide for yourself.

The Jungle - Sinclair Lewis
All of Hemingway:
The Sun Also Rises
The Old Man and The Sea


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:37 AM

The Sound and the Fury


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:40 AM

Moby Dick
Billy Budd


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Amos
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:40 AM

From the left, the collected poems of e.e. cummings, and William James.

Really, though, it is something like asking what the best colors in the spectrum are.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:47 AM

The Grapes of Wrath


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Stu
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 11:53 AM

"Really, though, it is something like asking what the best colors in the spectrum are."

Not really, no.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Amos
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 12:08 PM

What? You disagree with my opinion, Jack?? Oh, fie!!! LOL

Perhaps I should expand on it--there are a very large number of different facets to the American experience. There are books that touch on all of them, but some are less famous than others. "On the Road" must qualify as well as "Howl", alongside of the industrial exposes of Frank Norris, for example. Many of these aspects are captured in songs but not so well in books--"Buffalo Skinners", "Old Man River", "High-Chin Bob" and others come to mind.

Would the fictional westerns of Louis L'Amour, or the Golden Age of Sci Fi from Heinlein or Asimov, qualify? I would think they certainly capture a portion of the American heart. Ray Bradbury certainly does.
The American experience is a choir of tenthousand voices, some squawkier than others, to be sure, but voices nonethe less.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Amos
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 12:14 PM

OR Upton Sinclair:

""Realize it! Realize it! Realize that out upon the plains of Manchuria tonight two hostile armies are facing each other — that now, while we are seated here, a million human beings may be hurled at each other's throats, striving with the fury of maniacs to tear each other to pieces! And this in the twentieth century, nineteen hundred years since the Prince of Peace preached as divine, and here two armies of men are rending and tearing each other like wild beasts of the forest! Philosophers have reasoned, prophets have denounced, poets have wept and pleaded — and still this hideous Monster roams at large! We have schools and colleges, newspapers and books; we have searched the heavens and the earth, we have weighed and probed and reasoned — and all to equip men to destroy each other! We call it War, and pass it by — but do not put me off with platitudes and conventions — come with me, come with me — realize it! See the bodies of men pierced by bullets, blown into pieces by bursting shells! Hear the crunching of the bayonet, plunged into human flesh; hear the groans and the shrieks of agony, see the faces of men crazed by pain of a man. This blood is still steaming — it was driven by a human heart! Almighty God! and this goes on — it is systematic, organized, premeditated! And we know it, and read of it, and take it for granted; our papers tell of it, and the presses are not stopped — our churches know of it, and do not close their doors — the people behold it, and do not rise up in horror and revolution!""


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Wesley S
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 12:20 PM

On The Road

Lonesome Dove

Gone With The Wind

Bound for Glory

In Cold Blood

And perhaps with the greatest American books we don't even need to mention the authors name? We already know it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Wesley S
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 12:22 PM

Catcher in the Rye


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 12:27 PM

Catch-22


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 12:57 PM

I grow tired of lists of the same old "classics," even though I love most of them, so, here are a few others that might not be included very often:

The Voice of Bugle Ann - McKinley Cantor

The Cossack and the Cowboy Cowboy and the Cossack (Thanks, Wesley. You're right!)

Louis L'Amour's Walking Drum

Anything of Badger Clark's

Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart

My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead, & Green Grass of Wyoming - Mary O'Hara


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Wesley S
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 02:13 PM

Not to be picky Kat but I believe that one was called "The Cowboy and the Cossack".

Of course - maybe we're talking about different books. A sequel maybe?


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: SINSULL
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 02:15 PM

Anna Quindlin's One True Thing and Black and Blue.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Amos
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 02:48 PM

Black Beauty

The Borrowers

Stuart Little


I had better stop. But I would point out that the OP asked for views, not just lists.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 02:50 PM

Archie and Mehitabel, by Don Marquis.

Across the Prairies, by Kendall


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: J-boy
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 02:55 PM

The Killer Angels


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 03:07 PM

Up from Slavery. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Wesley S
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 03:49 PM

Waldens Pond


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Stu
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 03:54 PM

"Would the fictional westerns of Louis L'Amour, or the Golden Age of Sci Fi from Heinlein or Asimov, qualify?"

Good point Amos, and I concede my question was rather er, fuzzy. Probably not so much the sci-fi, as I've read cartloads over the years so unless it was really special I'm not so sure. I'll look up the westerns though.

Books like On The Road are what I'm talking about, or Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, The New York Trilogy etc. Road trips are a definite favourite though.

As for Upton Sinclair - I like that!


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 04:15 PM

Mists of Avalon

Tramp Abroad

The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

Crow and Weasel by Barry Lopez (Actually almost anything by him, but esp. this one.)

Horses I Have Known written & illustrated by Will James (a real cowboy)

Sky People - a very good non-fiction book about the Arapaho written by a tribal elder last name "Shakespeare."

Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie (and several others by him)


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Eiseley
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 04:50 PM

I love:
Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather (Southwest
Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner (West_
All the Strange Hours, by Loren Eiseley (beautiful autobiography)
Abraham Lincoln biography, by Carl Sandburg (eloquent biography)
Penrod, by Booth Tarkington (growing up in Indiana)
Blue Willow, by Doris Gates (Depression era)
The Art of Eating, by MFK Fisher (Witty and mouth-watering)
Loving Allis Chalmers, by Ralph Thurston (Idaho sage)
January's Sparrow, by Patricia Polacco (Powerful book about freedom)
Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli (diversity)

I think each of these describes something utterly beautiful about the American experience and mind. But there are SO many more.

Eiseley


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: 3refs
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 05:21 PM

I think it's kind of funny that the first two books mentioned are about to be banned by the Toronto school board!
Others that have been listed I liked too!

The Carpetbaggers.
The God Father
The Exorcist
A Stone for Danny Fisher(or King Creole with Elvis)


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 05:35 PM

Moby Dick
Billy Budd
Battle-Pieces (Melville)
USA trilogy
The Naked and the Dead
Leaves of Grass
The Mysterious Stranger
Roughing It

Already mentioned: The Grapes of Wrath. Catch-22.

I'll think of a few more. Unless somebody beats me to it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 05:41 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki_Zen_and_the_Art_of_Motorcycle_Maintenance by Robert Pirsig


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Will Fly
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 06:52 PM

The Education Of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L**A*N

The Groucho Letters

The R.Crumb Handbook


Just a slightly different viewpoint.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: kendall
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 07:02 PM

Many of my favorites have been named. I would add:
Country of the pointed firs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: GUEST,SINS
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 08:01 PM

A Prayer for Owen Meanie and a number of others by John Irving.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: GUEST,Devon
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 08:05 PM

Mechanics (or any of its prequels and sequels) by Jaime Hernandez


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: pattyClink
Date: 17 Mar 10 - 09:26 PM

Two Years Before the Mast

Jubilee


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Mar 10 - 12:50 AM

Mystified by inclusion above of Black Beauty, which has remained unchallenged: ~~ one of classics of Victorian British children's literature, set entirely in England, the work of Norfolk born and London educated Anna Sewell; whatever is it doing in this thread?

Surprised also by only one mention of what must surely be one of the world's greatest, most humane, novels, the incomparable Huckleberry Finn.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Bert
Date: 18 Mar 10 - 01:12 AM

Wot no Zane Grey?


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: mrdux
Date: 18 Mar 10 - 01:59 AM

in addition to lots of the above

Naked Lunch (Burroughs)
Nova Express (Burroughs)
Herzog (Saul Bellow)
Letters from the Earth (Twain)
A River Runs Through It and Other Stories (Norman Maclean)
Vietnam (Stanley Karnow)
A Religious Orgy in Tennessee (H. L. Mencken on the Scopes trial, some serious Americana)
any list of Great American Books has to include a collection of stories and poetry by Edgar Allan Poe
and, sure, i'll mention Huckleberry Finn again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: kendall
Date: 18 Mar 10 - 04:24 AM

Up from slavery.
Seven days in May


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 18 Mar 10 - 04:38 AM

Dispatches - Michael Herr

Vietam war correspondant's memiors - It's a bit too smugly hip stylistically for me, but influential.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Rapparee
Date: 18 Mar 10 - 09:15 AM

Anything by Mark Twain, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Patrick McManus.

Black Boy.
The March of Folly.

Anything in my personal library.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 18 Mar 10 - 09:25 AM

As I Lay Dying..Faulkner, A Confederacy of Dunces..Toole, I am not sure if the following would qualify as "Americab"..but it is one of the best autobigraphies ever.."Speak Memory" by Nabokov.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 18 Mar 10 - 09:26 AM

Truman Capote In Cold Blood

Henry Miller Tropic of Capricorn


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: kendall
Date: 18 Mar 10 - 09:30 AM

Peculiar Institution

Strange Fruit

both about slavery.


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 18 Mar 10 - 09:33 AM

The Color Purple


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Subject: RE: BS: Greatest American Books
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 18 Mar 10 - 09:36 AM

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood might sneak in - not your classic scifi.


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