10 Books Every American Should Read?

The Huffington Post has  a short, interesting article/list dubbed “10 Books Every American Should Read,” which includes The Federalist Papers, Common Sense, The Grapes of Wrath, Invisible Man, and other works. Of the list, there are only two books I haven’t read- Gone with the Wind and Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee. You can see the full list here. I agree with much of it, but I wondered why The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and a few other novels didn’t make the cut. I suppose it’s hard to pick just 10, and maybe the list should have been expanded to 20, or even 50. No matter what kind of list is composed, it’s likely people would disagree with it.

If you made a list of the top 10 books every American should read, what would be on it? Does poetry have a place on the list? What about Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, or Frost’s early books that address New England farm life? I can also see a place for Ginsberg’s “Howl,” Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” and much of Langston Hughes’ work that did such a fine job capturing racial tension in America and also the speech and language of inner-city life. Maybe poetry should have its own list.


About Brian Fanelli

I'm a poet, teacher, music junkie and much more. My first chapbook of poems, Front Man, was published in 2010 by Big Table Publishing. My full-length book of poems, All That Remains, was published in 2013 by Unbound Content. My latest book, Waiting for the Dead to Speak, was published in the fall of 2016 by NYQ Books. My work has also been published by The Los Angeles Times, World Literature Today, Harpur Palate, Boston Literary Magazine, Kentucky Review, Verse Daily, Spillway, Portland Review, and several other publications. My poetry has also been featured on "The Writer's Almanac" with Garrison Keillor. Currently, I teach English full-time at Lackawanna College.
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2 Responses to 10 Books Every American Should Read?

  1. Art says:

    It’s not a bad list, but you’re right: the exclusions really stand out. Certainly The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Leaves of Grass belong on there. My personal list would also probably include Moby-Dick and The Call of the Wild.

  2. I just finished reading Moby Dick for the first time, and I agree it should be on a list like this, as well as The Call of the Wild. It’s hard to pick just 10, though.

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