May 26, 2016 "America Reads" Exhibition to Open June 16

Titles Reflect Choices of Survey Participants

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217; Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221
Contact: View the exhibition online.

A new exhibition at the Library of Congress, "America Reads," will celebrate the public’s choice of 65 books by American authors that had a profound effect on American life.

"America Reads" will open Thursday, June 16, in the Southwest Gallery on the second floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The exhibition is free and open to the public through Dec. 31, 2016, Monday through Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The exhibition will feature 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."

"Books That Shaped America" was a popular exhibition 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 American 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 America and to tell the Library which of the 88 books on the list were most important to them. Thousands of readers responded. "America Reads" will display the results, featuring the titles most named.

Once again, the volumes featured in the "America Reads" exhibition 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 written in America and what they mean to people.

This exhibition is made possible through generous support from Newman’s Own Foundation and the Library of Congress Third Century Fund.

"America Reads"—The 40 New Titles Chosen by the Public

  • Ayn Rand, "The Fountainhead"
  • Kurt Vonnegut, "Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death"
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder, "Little House in the Big Woods"
  • Joseph Smith, "The Book of Mormon"
  • Willa Cather, "My Ántonia"
  • Alex Haley, "Roots: The Saga of an American Family"
  • Ayn Rand, "Anthem"
  • Alice Walker, "The Color Purple"
  • John Steinbeck, "Of Mice and Men"
  • John Steinbeck, "East of Eden"
  • Sylvia Plath, "The Bell Jar"
  • Tim O’Brien, "The Things They Carried"
  • Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, "All the President’s Men"
  • Arthur Miller, "Death of a Salesman"
  • Arthur Miller, "The Crucible"
  • Ernest Hemingway, "The Old Man and the Sea"
  • Ken Kesey, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest"
  • Hunter S. Thompson, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream"
  • Ernest Hemingway, "The Sun Also Rises"
  • John F. Kennedy, "Profiles in Courage"
  • Stephen King, "The Stand"
  • Larry McMurtry, "Lonesome Dove"
  • Judy Blume, "Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret"
  • Howard Zinn, "A People’s History of the United States"
  • James Fenimore Cooper, "The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757"
  • Robert A. Heinlein, "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress"
  • Wilson Rawls, "Where the Red Fern Grows"
  • Madeleine L’Engle, "A Wrinkle in Time"
  • Frank Herbert, "Dune"
  • Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity’s Rainbow"
  • Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle and Julia Child, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"
  • Kate Chopin, "The Awakening"
  • Shel Silverstein, "The Giving Tree"
  • Milton Friedman, "Capitalism and Freedom"
  • Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman, "Free to Choose: A Personal Statement"
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Nature"
  • Napoleon Hill, "Think and Grow Rich"
  • John Kennedy Toole, "A Confederacy of Dunces"
  • Robert Penn Warren, "All the King’s Men"
  • Robert M. Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values"

"America Reads"—The Public’s Top 25 Choices from the Original 2012 List

  • Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged"
  • Harper Lee, "To Kill a Mockingbird"
  • Mark Twain, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
  • Thomas Paine, "Common Sense"
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe, "Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly"
  • The Federalist: "A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution"
  • Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"
  • J. D. Salinger, "The Catcher in the Rye"
  • John Steinbeck, "The Grapes of Wrath"
  • Alcoholics Anonymous: "The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism"
  • Ray Bradbury, "Fahrenheit 451"
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"
  • Louisa May Alcott, "Little Women, or, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy"
  • Margaret Mitchell, "Gone With the Wind"
  • Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), "The Cat in the Hat"
  • Rachel Carson, "Silent Spring"
  • Henry David Thoreau, "Walden; or, Life in the Woods"
  • Jack Kerouac, "On the Road"
  • Betty Friedan, "The Feminine Mystique"
  • L. Frank Baum, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"
  • Herman Melville, "Moby-Dick; or, the Whale"
  • Dale Carnegie, "How to Win Friends and Influence People"
  • Joseph Heller, "Catch-22"
  • Walt Whitman, "Leaves of Grass"
  • Benjamin Spock, "Baby and Child Care"

The Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, holds more than 162 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its website at


PR 16-088
ISSN 0731-3527