‘Books That Shaped America’ from the Library of Congress

By Deirdre Donahue and Lindsay Deutsch, USA TODAY

To kick off its new exhibition, “Books That Shaped America,” the Library of Congress asked curators and experts to compile a list of books that have influenced us as a nation. The selections come from different centuries and different experiences. They range from Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, to The Autobiography of Malcolm X, to the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous . The exhibit will be on view from June 25 through Sept. 29 at the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building.

Here is their list of 88 books, in the order in which they were published:

1. Benjamin Franklin, Experiments and Observations on Electricity (1751)

2. Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard Improved (1758) and The Way to Wealth

3. Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)

4. Noah Webster, A Grammatical Institute of the English Language (1783)

5. The Federalist (1787)

6. A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible (1788)

7. Christopher Colles, A Survey of the Roads of the United States of America (1789)

8. Benjamin Franklin, The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin, LL.D. (1793)

9. Amelia Simmons, American Cookery (1796)

10. New England Primer (1803)

11. Meriwether Lewis, History of the Expedition Under the Command of the Captains Lewis and Clark (1814)

12. Washington Irving, TheLegend of Sleepy Hollow (1820)

13. William Holmes McGuffey, McGuffey’s Newly Revised Eclectic Primer (1836)

14. Samuel Goodrich, Peter Parley’s Universal History (1837)

15. Frederick Douglass, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)

16. Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850)

17. Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (1851)

18. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)

19. Henry David Thoreau, Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854)

20. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855)

21. Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, or, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy (1868)

22. Horatio Alger Jr., Mark, the Match Boy (1869)

23. Catharine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, The American Woman’s Home (1869)

24. Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)

25. Emily Dickinson, Poems (1890)

26. Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives (1890)

27. Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (1895)

28. L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)

29. Sarah H. Bradford, Harriet, the Moses of Her People (1901)

30. Ida Tarbell, The History of Standard Oil (1904)

31. Jack London, The Call of the Wild (1903)

32. W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

33. Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (1906)

34. Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1907)

35. William James, Pragmatism (1907)

36. Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage (1912)

37. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes (1914)

38. Margaret Sanger, Family Limitation (1914)

39. William Carlos Williams, Spring and All (1923)

40. Robert Frost, New Hampshire (1923)

41. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)

42. Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues (1925)

43. William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)

44. Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest (1929)

45. Irma Rombauer, Joy of Cooking (1931)

46. Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind (1936)

47. Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936)

48. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

49. Federal Writers’ Project, Idaho: A Guide in Word and Pictures (1937)

50. Thornton Wilder, Our Town: A Play (1938)

51. Alcoholics Anonymous (1939)

52. John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

53. Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)

54. Richard Wright, Native Son (1940)

55. Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943)

56. Benjamin A. Botkin, A Treasury of American Folklore (1944)

57. Gwendolyn Brooks, A Street in Bronzeville (1945)

58. Benjamin Spock, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946)

59. Eugene O’Neill, The Iceman Cometh (1946)

60. Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon (1947)

61. Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (1947)

62. Alfred C. Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948)

63. J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

64. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

65. E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web (1952)

66. Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

67. Allen Ginsberg, Howl (1956)

68. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

69. Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat (1957)

70. Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)

71. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)

72. Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)

73. Robert E. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

74. Jack Ezra Keats, The Snowy Day (1962)

75. Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are (1963)

76. James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (1963)

77. Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (1963)

78. Malcolm X and Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)

79. Ralph Nader, Unsafe at Any Speed (1965)

80. Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962)

81. Truman Capote, In Cold Blood (1966)

82. James D. Watson, The Double Helix (1968)

83. Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (1970)

84. Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves (1971)

85. Carl Sagan, Cosmos (1980)

86. Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)

87. Randy Shilts, And the Band Played On (1987)

88. César Chávez, The Words of César Chávez (2002)

Every Day Is Christmas

AA Grapevine, December 1952, Vol. 9 No. 7

THE seventeenth Christmas for Alcoholics Anonymous is here. Considering all that has happened since AA’s first Christmas in 1935, no words can portray the meaning of Christmas 1952. The only thing of which we’re really sure is that we have given of ourselves, and have received gifts that no imagination can fully describe. Guided, we are sure, by an all generous and wise Providence, AA’s message of hope has been carried into nearly every corner of the earth. The Christmas drama of giving and receiving has been re-enacted everywhere and still goes on.

Many of us in AA are of the Christian faith, though not all. We have Jews who look to Jehovah; agnostics who hopefully look to the AA group as their Higher Power; and there are Indians upon our Western plains who regard the Great Spirit as their guide. Now that we have opened tiny beachheads on the shores of Asia, we have no doubt that some of our brothers and sisters there reverence Buddha and others Allah. It is a comforting fact of our life together that none of these differences has ever disturbed us. Indeed, it can be said that they have, in some subtle and mysterious way, bound us even more firmly together. The insurance of that bond is our common kinship in suffering, and our universal release from it by the kind of giving that demands no reward.

So, by whatever name we may call it, the spirit of Christmas is in us all. How best to give and how to receive with ever more gratitude is our common aim. We’d like to practice the spirit of Christmas the year around. Therefore, we shall especially ask ourselves at this season: “What more can we find in order that we shall have more to give?” Since personal example is one of the great energies by which AA spreads, let’s have a quick look at the life of a man who became able to practice the spirit of Christmas every day in the year.

He was born in Italy centuries ago. The age in which he lived was almost as confused and baffling as our own. His first attempt at living was just like ours. He ran away from life as fast as he could, and by nearly the same means. Few, it was said, could romance more gaily than he, shake the dice with Dame Fortune with more abandon, nor clatter his wine flagon on the table more loudly. He probably had a pretty good time doing it, too, at least for a while. Bit by bit, though, he got fed up. During a long siege of illness he hit bottom, even as we alcoholics do.

One day he said to himself, “Suppose that in all things I try henceforth to do exactly as my Master would have done.” This was the vision that gripped him, and he set foot on the new highroad. Some of his friends were amused, and others were deeply concerned. Some said it wasn’t practical; others thought he had gone out of his mind. But by living one day at a time, teaching and sharing as he went, with no thought of reward for himself, he started a movement that deeply affected the whole world of his day; it reached into every level of society. He gave all he had, and that inspired others to do likewise. He brought true comfort where there had been none.

And how did he do this? The prayer he so often spoke tells us. Here it is:

“Lord make me a channel of Thy Peace That where there is hatred. . . I may bring love That where there is wrong. . . I may bring the spirit of forgiveness That where there is discord. . . I may bring harmony That where there is error. . . I may bring truth That where there is doubt. . . I may bring faith That where there is despair. . . I may bring hope That where there are shadows. . . I may bring light That where there is sadness. . . I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to Comfort. . .than to be comforted To understand. . .than to be understood To love. . .than to be loved For. . .it is by self-forgetting. . .that one finds It is by forgiving. . .that one is forgiven It is by dying. . .that one awakens to Eternal Life.”

The lesson that Francis leaves us is clear and no example could be brighter. “Freely ye have received; Freely give” and. . .a Merry Christmas!

Bill W.

The Passing of a Giant — Mark Houston

Mark David Houston, died suddenly on February 19, 2010. He was 63.

Mark was born in Iowa on October 14, 1946. One of four boys, Mark spent his childhood years working on his family’s farm in Corydon, Iowa. Mark’s accomplishments include: U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran, BA – University of South Dakota, Director of Admissions – La Hacienda Treatment Center, Hunt, Texas, CEO – Burning Tree, Kaufman, Texas In July of 2006, Mark founded the Mark Houston Recovery Center (MHR) outside of Austin, Texas in order to provide a safe and secure environment in which he could lead adult men out of the debilitating grip of drug and alcohol addiction, and into lives of permanent sobriety and abundance.

In October of 2009, Mark opened a similar facility for women outside of Austin. Mark’s vision spread throughout recovery circles worldwide. He was called upon to speak and do workshops on the 12 Steps throughout the United States and Europe. In 2004, Mark co-authored a book called “A Twelve Step Journey to Self-Transformation” which is a recant of his personal experiences in working the 12 Steps with a man named Floyd. Mark continued to work directly with alcoholics and addicts, as well as their families, on an individual basis both in his community and at MHR until his death. Mark will be well remembered for devoting his life to ending the suffering of alcoholics, addicts, and their families.

Mark was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Charles Houston and Iola Marlus Johnson Houston. He is survived by his son, Chad Winters; aunt, Lavonne Skiye; brother Earl Torger Houston and wife Jane; brother Richard Lowell Houston and wife Pamela; brother, Nels John Houston; and cousin, Grant Jordan and wife Martha. In lieu of flowers, kindly donate to your local intergroup chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous.

There will be a memorial service for Mark Houston on Sunday, February 28, 2010, from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Austin Music Hall, 208 Nueces St., Austin, TX 78701.

Post Script: The Southern Ontario Cocaine Anonymous Convention was fortunate to have Mark Houston speak at their 2009 Convention. Here are two outstanding messages of hope and recovery delivered by Mark Houston.

Mark H. (Texas) 10, 11 & 12 Launching Pad to the 4th Dimension

Mark H. (Texas) Keynote Speaker

Alcoholics and Faces

In a recent Globe and Mail article, (August 20, 2009, Globe Life – Facts and Arguments) it said…

“Of the many things that long-term alcohol addiction can steal – careers, lives, health, memory – one of its most heartbreaking tolls is on relationships,” Melissa Healey reports in The Los Angeles Times. “Alcoholics, researchers have long known, have a tendency to misread emotional cues, sometimes taking offense when none was intended or failing to pick up on a loved one’s sadness, joy, anger or disappointment. The misunderstandings can result in more drinking, and more deterioration of relationships and lives. How does alcohol do all that? A new study finds that the brains of long-term alcoholics, even those who have long abstained, often differ from non-alcoholics’ in ways that make them poorer judges of facial expressions. In particular, alcoholics register less intensity in the amygdala and hippocampus (collectively known as the limbic system) when observing faces.”

This article seems to explain much in respect to why so many alcoholics and addicts seem so overly sensitive in early recovery. What are your thoughts and experiences about this?