Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Great Books: Lasting Legacies

The Great Books Great Libraries celebration reaches the halfway point this month with a new featured list. June's focus is Lasting Legacies, highlighting great books by first-time authors. As with all of the featured genres this year, a paper booklist is available at the Readers' Advisory table at each library, and an expanded list is available online.

Books entertain, enlighten, and educate us each individually. Sometimes, though, a book can change the world. The books chosen for the Lasting Legacies list have all, in some way, had an impact that went far beyond the individual readers. Some introduced groundbreaking stylistic choices that shaped the way fiction is written, such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Others, including Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, stretched the boundaries and made society question what it we are willing to accept. Still others shaped the way we consider politics (Machiavelli’s The Prince), gender roles (de Beauvier’s The Second Sex) or ourselves (Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams).

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Considered by many to be the heart of the Beat Movement, this autobiographical novel follows Sal Paradise as he travels from New York to the West Coast, Mexico, and back again.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
A dystopian novel widely seen to warn against the socialist movement and promoting Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, or rational selfishness.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Holden Caufield, the original cynical teenager, recounts his exploits at prep school and around Manhattan in the classic story that redefined the portrayal of teenagers in popular fiction.

So, grab one of these books with a lasting legacy and see if it changes your world.

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