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No. of Recommendations: 6
Re voting on favorite list, that will kill the thread for sure. Readers are an Eclectic (sp?) bunch and don't like having their favs dissed.

How about we each write about our Number 1 pick?

I'll start:

My favorite is "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. I consider it the greatest novel ever written by an American.

The book has come under attack at times, mostly due to its references to the "N" word. It has been made unavailable to read in a very few schools, which I consider a terrible mistake.

One has to read the book in context. At the time, the word in question was not unusual. In fact, for decades later the word was not unusual, and society did not frown upon it.

I consider this novel great for many reasons. First, there is the author's decision to place it on one of the great rivers of the world. A perfect setting for a (I forget the word for a novel where people go on a trip?) novel. Through this greatest of American rivers, he gives us the best and worst of America at his time.

Second, I think his choice of a white boy and black man as travel companions was, according to the mores of the time, very daring. I challenge anyone to find another popular novel written during this period that featured a black man or woman as a major character (okay, other than "Uncle Toms Cabin").

Third, the book is just plain fun. It is a rip-roaring read, it funny, it is full of action and colorful characters.

But, most of all, I love the book for the way it made me love the characters. Huck Finn loved Jim, and so do I. Jim loved Huck Finn, and so do I. They love each other despite tremendous societal constraints, and they will do anything for each other. I watch Huck grow up and become a man, and am glad of it.

The author suffered many, many disappointments and heartbreaks in life, and may have died a disillusioned and, possibly (though I don't believe it), bitter man. But there was a time in his life when he created a work that will endure for all time, a work filled with hope.

And I think that is what makes him the Great American Author. More than anyone else, he gave us a vision of what America should be, what we can aspire to, what we can achieve.
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