Born today September 9th 1828 Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy
(Usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy) was a Russian aristocrat and one of the world’s most preeminent writers. Tolstoy become famous through his epic novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina.
“We can know only that we know nothing.
And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.” (War and Peace)
Tolstoy’s fictional work includes: dozens of short stories and several novellas such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Family Happiness, and Hadji Murad. He also wrote plays and numerous philosophical essays.
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” (Anna Karenina)
Towards the end of his life, Leo Tolstoy became increasingly interested in a version of pacifist Christianity with support for a strand of anarchist Communism. His exposition of pacifism and non-violence had a profound influence on others – most notably Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
This prompted his non-fiction work; A Confessionand The Kingdom of God is Within You.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Wishbone was such a great show because it brought classic literature to life. At a very young age it made amazing works of fiction like Oliver Twist, Moby Dick, and Gulliver’s Travels, something fun and exciting. Some of the books featured on this show are very challenging literary feats, and I love that they did not stick to easy reads. Inspiring young kids and adults to read challenging works of fiction in such a creative way was brilliant. Plus who doesn’t love a Jack Russell Terrier who dresses up and does tricks, the cuteness was like media glue!
I know that watching these shows helped shape me into the reader I am today. In my trip down memory lane I ended up finding these delightful little books, and I want them all!
(click any photo or title for more info.)
Did you love Wishbone?
What was your favorite episode/story?
I loved the show Wishbone growing up, and a fellow blogger inspired me to post about it, thank you for the spark L. Boogie! Check out their blog here.
Fun Fact: Wishbone’s real life name was “Soccer” and he won the role of Wishbone because out of 100 dog auditions, he was the most expressive.
Click here if you want to re-live your 90’s childhood
There is a plethora of great American literature, I could not create a list of less than 20. However, I focused less on the popularity of a novel/author and more on a variety and depth of “American ” (U.S.) content/concepts and ideas/ideals etc. Literature that focuses on the history, growth, and culture of our nation.
So, I was able to narrow it down…
Here is my list of the top quintessential American literary works:
PART I of II
Common Sense By Thomas Pain
Paine arrived in America from England in 1774. A friend of Benjamin Franklin, he was a writer of poetry and tracts condemning the slave trade. In 1775, as hostilities between Britain and the colonies intensified, Paine wrote Common Sense to encourage the colonies to break the British exploitative hold and fight for independence. The little booklet of 50 pages was published January 10, 1776 and sold a half-million copies, approximately equal to 75 million copies today.
Rated 4.6 on amazon.com Their Eyes Were Watching God
By Zora Neale Hurston
Out of print for almost thirty years due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist. Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
By Mark Twain
One of the most challenged or banned books due to racist language, Twain’s novel can be read as an indictment of unenlightened nineteenth-century thinking or as a heartbreaking coming-of-age novel, but what’s undisputed is the novel’s position as one of the most influential books in American literature.
Book Bean: Iced Huckleberry Hibiscus Brew some hibiscus tea add honey to taste and chill. Lightly crush a handful of fresh huckleberries (raspberries or marion/black berries are great too). Add berries and ice to a tall glass and pour in chilled tea.
The Scarlet Letter By Nathaniel Hawthorne
An 1850 work of fiction in a historical setting, and is considered to be Hawthorne’s “masterwork”. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts, during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
By Harriet Beecher Stowe
An anti-slavery novel published in 1852, the novel “helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War”, according to Will Kaufman.Wikipedia. Denouncing the institution of slavery in dramatic terms, the incendiary novel quickly draws the reader into the world of slaves and their masters.
The Great Gatsby
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
An exemplary novel of the Jazz Age acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. It is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.
Book Bean: Fitz SpritzerGreen tea chilled, fresh lime juice, sugar, and club soda. Pour mixture over ice and enjoy your own Green Rickey 😉 Make it fun, add an olive, lime wedges, and/or mint for garnish.
Leaves of Grass
By Walt Whitman
A visionary volume of twelve poems. Showing the influence of a uniquely American form of mysticism known as Transcendentalism, which eschewed the general society and culture of the time, the writing is distinguished by an explosively innovative free verse style and previously unmentionable subject matter.
By Toni Morrison
Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, the novel is inspired by the story of an African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in Kentucky late January 1856 by fleeing to Ohio, a free state. Set after the American Civil War (1861-1865) this spellbinding novel transforms history into a powerful story as intimate as a lullaby.
The Grapes of Wrath
By John Steinbeck A Pulitzer Prize–winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California.
Book Bean: California Frappe Cut off peel and white pith from 2-3 orange wedges. Bring 1/2 cup of dry red wine, 2 Tsp. of sugar, a grate of orange zest, and 1/2 Tsp. of cinnamon to a simmer, add the orange wedges and simmer for approx. 10 min. mixture should reduce to a syrup, let chill. Pull 2 shots of espresso (or use 4 oz of brewed coffee chilled.) In a blender add ice, coffee, syrup (for an easier option use marmalade 😉 ), and milk (to taste) blend and enjoy!
Stay tuned forPART II this evening!
While you wait vote for you favorite American Author
Share with us about your vote, what do you love about this author, and what makes them “A Great” in American literature?
Now that school is out, it has me thinking about my school days. I keep thinking about the books I chose to read and had to read in school, and decide to write about my favorite experiences. Now in high school I had a fierce addiction to Dean Koontz and Steven King, so it took a lot for me to want to read anything else. However, throughout elementary and high school there were several books that either impacted me as a reader, or just stayed with me.
Here are the books I read in school that I most treasure:
The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe By C.S. Lewis
I didn’t read this in school but it was read to us before I was able to read chapter books. I can remember waiting all day in anticipation for story time to hear this book. I fell in love with C.S. Lewis and he is my favorite author to this day.
The BFG By Ronald Dahl I remember us reading this together as a class and being completely in love with it. There were other stories by Ronald Dahl that I loved as well including “James and The Giant Peach” and “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.”
Number The Stars Lois Lowry
This was the first chapter book I read on my own from school, and I was completely mesmerized by it. This is the book that sparked my fascination with the Holocaust and WWII. I still love reading WWII memoirs, historical fiction, and the like.
Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher By Bruce Coville
This book I picked up from a school book fair. School book fairs were the highlight of the year for me. I usually only got to pick one book, and I remember every day looking through the books weighing and analyzing them to decide which would be my treasure. I loved this book, and it started my love of Fantasy Fiction.
The Indian in The Cupboard By Lynne Reid Banks Another book we read together as a class. I don’t remember why I enjoyed this book so much, I just know that I did. I can remember constantly reading ahead of the class, because I hated stopping.
Part of me would like to read it again just to see what I think of it now.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle By Avi
I’ve written about this book before, because I loved it so much. It was also a School Book Fair treasure, and by far the best one I ever got. I was in love with this story through and through, and I remember
carrying the book with me everywhere I went.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com
Animal Farm By George Orwell
One of the Jr. High required reading books that I most enjoyed, there were others that were okay like Fahrenheit 451, but this is the one that stuck with me. I remember thoroughly enjoying it’s weird quirkiness, but also it’s depth and meaning. “1984” is another Orwell classic on my recent TBR list.
Of Mice and Men By John Steinbeck
The ever famous small yet poignant classic. This book packed so much great literature into such a small package. I loved it, and I love Steinbeck. It was because of this book that I sought out other Steinbeck treasures. I have not read as many as I’d like but everything I’ve read is gold, and I look forward to the ones still awaiting my time.
To Kill a Mockingbird By Harper Lee
Another treasured classic I can thank my high school required reading list for. This book was moving and stayed with me. I later watched the movie which I equally loved (doesn’t happen often.) Watching this also started me watching black and white classics. Although I have to thank Carry Grant in “Arsenic and Old Lace” for really fueling my love for classic movies.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest By Ken Kesey
It’s hard to say what I liked so much about this book… Maybe it was how simplistically complicated Randle was. I was also very intrigued by the picture of mental health that this book paints; how we think about and treat people. It was such an interesting and gripping story. Although I am not a fan of sad endings, the sadness is what made me really think about the story on a deeper level.
In honor of the graduating season, I thought I’d share this Seussical gem.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”