IllinoisTop200 Voters Have Chosen This as Illinois’ Top Book
IllinoisTop200.com is asking you to vote on all things Illinois as we celebrate our state's bicentennial year.
Illinois residents can celebrate the state’s 200th birthday by choosing the 200 most significant people, places and things in state history in online voting coordinated by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, The State Journal-Register and the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.
Every two weeks through the rest of year, the public can vote on a different Illinois-related category, including best athletes, greatest musicians, inspiring leaders, top businesses and much more. By the state’s 200th birthday on Dec. 3, voters will have chosen 10 top choices in 20 different categories to make up the Illinois Top 200.
Voting in the next category, top authors, is underway at IllinoisTop200.com. Nominees include Ernest Hemingway, Carl Sandburg, Richard Wright and Gwendolyn Brooks. As a bonus for book fans, everyone who votes will be entered in a drawing for a free copy of “Lincoln’s Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency.”
So far, we've had votes on movies, businesses, museums, inventions and innovations, buildings, and historical sites. Voting just wrapped up on Top Ten Illinois Books.
Here's how IllinoisTop200 ranked them:
1) “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” – Millions of readers have been transported to the land of Oz, where they met Munchkins, cowardly lions, flying monkeys and witches both good and wicked.
“Wonderful Wizard of Oz” author L. Frank Baum settled in Chicago in 1891 after years of traveling the country in search of financial security. He turned to writing children’s books and had some modest success before “Oz” appeared in 1900 and became a national sensation. Chicago now has an “Oz Park” near one of the places Baum lived.
The author also has central Illinois connections. His wife’s brother lived in Bloomington and had a daughter who died in 1898 at just 5 months old. Baum’s wife, Maud, doted on the baby and was heartbroken at her death. Baum tried to ease Maud’s grief by naming the “Wizard of Oz” protagonist after the beloved niece – Dorothy.
2) “The Jungle” – Perhaps no other novel has had such a dramatic impact on U.S. law. Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel on the appalling conditions facing immigrants in Chicago’s meatpacking industry created an outcry about food safety.
3) “The Devil in the White City” – Erik Larson’s blockbuster 2003 book presented the colorful story behind the 1893 Chicago world’s fair and also used a combination of fact and speculation to describe serial killer H. H. Holmes.
4) “Spoon River Anthology” – Edgar Lee Masters used the voices of the dead to tell the tale of a small Illinois town in this 1915 classic.
5) “Native Son” – Richard Wright broke new ground with his 1940 story of Bigger Thomas, a young African-American man living a life of crime amid racism and utter poverty in Chicago.
Rounding out the top ten are:
- “Dandelion Wine"
- “Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago”
- “The House on Mango Street”
- “From Here to Eternity”
- “The Good War”
You can get in on the voting of Illinois' top things by clicking here.