100 Best American Authors
American authors that write about the American experience.
1 To Kill a Mockingbird
by
4.23 of 5 stars 4.23 avg rating — 2,088,833 ratings
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2 The Great Gatsby
by
3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 1,810,761 ratings
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3 The Adventures of Huckleber...
by
3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 825,622 ratings
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4 The Catcher in the Rye
by
3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 1,505,086 ratings
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5 The Grapes of Wrath
by
3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 386,727 ratings
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6 Fahrenheit 451
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 786,069 ratings
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7 Of Mice and Men
by
3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 1,073,746 ratings
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8 The Tell-Tale Heart and Oth...
by
4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 169,930 ratings
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9 East of Eden
by
4.31 of 5 stars 4.31 avg rating — 243,617 ratings
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10 The Scarlet Letter
by
3.32 of 5 stars 3.32 avg rating — 386,777 ratings
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11 In Cold Blood
by
4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 308,937 ratings
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12 The Old Man and the Sea
by
3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 319,212 ratings
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13 Little Women (Little Women,...
by
4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 970,956 ratings
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14 Gone with the Wind
by
4.25 of 5 stars 4.25 avg rating — 647,612 ratings
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15 Catch-22 (Catch-22, #1)
by
3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 397,561 ratings
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16 The Poetry of Robert Frost
by
4.22 of 5 stars 4.22 avg rating — 28,306 ratings
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17 Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
by
3.4 of 5 stars 3.40 avg rating — 310,083 ratings
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18 Slaughterhouse-Five
by
4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 632,007 ratings
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19 Death of a Salesman
by
3.45 of 5 stars 3.45 avg rating — 106,787 ratings
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20 The Color Purple
by
4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 297,692 ratings
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21 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ...
by
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 181,320 ratings
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22 The Stand
by
4.31 of 5 stars 4.31 avg rating — 317,292 ratings
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23 The Complete Poems
by
4.2 of 5 stars 4.20 avg rating — 45,984 ratings
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24 Leaves of Grass
by
4.12 of 5 stars 4.12 avg rating — 48,047 ratings
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25 Charlotte's Web
by
4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 665,637 ratings
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26 A Farewell to Arms
by
3.76 of 5 stars 3.76 avg rating — 146,865 ratings
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27 The Outsiders
by
4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 450,440 ratings
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28 Absalom, Absalom!
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 24,396 ratings
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29 The Crucible
by
3.49 of 5 stars 3.49 avg rating — 171,244 ratings
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30 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's ...
by
4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 376,715 ratings
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31 Ethan Frome
by
3.3 of 5 stars 3.30 avg rating — 55,082 ratings
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32 On the Road
by
3.66 of 5 stars 3.66 avg rating — 206,934 ratings
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33 A Confederacy of Dunces
by
3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 134,107 ratings
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34 O Pioneers! (Great Plains T...
by
3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 22,788 ratings
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35 I Know Why the Caged Bird S...
by
4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 168,667 ratings
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36 Plays 1937-1955 (Library of...
by
4.5 of 5 stars 4.50 avg rating — 486 ratings
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37 A Prayer for Owen Meany
by
4.21 of 5 stars 4.21 avg rating — 186,175 ratings
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38 Atlas Shrugged
by
3.66 of 5 stars 3.66 avg rating — 213,004 ratings
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39 Light in August
by
3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 32,679 ratings
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40 Columbine
by
4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 30,905 ratings
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41 The Call of the Wild, White...
by
3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 12,288 ratings
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42 The Big Sleep
by
4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 57,892 ratings
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43 Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstro...
by
3.55 of 5 stars 3.55 avg rating — 29,853 ratings
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44 The Things They Carried
by
4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 111,945 ratings
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45 The Sun Also Rises
by
3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 215,674 ratings
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46 Collected Works: Wise Blood...
by
4.56 of 5 stars 4.56 avg rating — 2,093 ratings
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47 The Complete Short Stories
by
4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 23,348 ratings
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48 Lonesome Dove
by
4.44 of 5 stars 4.44 avg rating — 86,801 ratings
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49 Beloved
by
3.71 of 5 stars 3.71 avg rating — 177,145 ratings
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50 The Bell Jar
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 302,609 ratings
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51 The Help
by
4.44 of 5 stars 4.44 avg rating — 1,095,841 ratings
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52 The Glass Menagerie
by
3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 66,740 ratings
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53 Walden & Civil Disobedience
by
3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 20,842 ratings
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54 Long Day's Journey Into Night
by
4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 20,824 ratings
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55 The Hunger Games (The Hunge...
by
4.4 of 5 stars 4.40 avg rating — 2,975,258 ratings
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56 The Last of the Mohicans (T...
by
3.67 of 5 stars 3.67 avg rating — 54,804 ratings
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56 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 387,820 ratings
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58 The Age of Innocence
by
3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 77,046 ratings
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59 Franny and Zooey
by
3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 127,636 ratings
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60 All the King's Men
by
4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 35,816 ratings
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60 As I Lay Dying
by
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 76,549 ratings
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62 Winesburg, Ohio
by
3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 16,669 ratings
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63 The Killer Angels
by
4.27 of 5 stars 4.27 avg rating — 45,291 ratings
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64 The Waste Land
by
4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 22,600 ratings
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65 Breakfast at Tiffany's
by
3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 103,386 ratings
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65 Cannery Row
by
3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 57,485 ratings
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67 The Road
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 400,562 ratings
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68 The Portrait of a Lady
by
3.74 of 5 stars 3.74 avg rating — 44,467 ratings
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69 My Ántonia
by
3.73 of 5 stars 3.73 avg rating — 75,099 ratings
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70 The Maltese Falcon
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 48,230 ratings
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71 Cold Mountain
by
3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 139,510 ratings
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72 The Sound and the Fury
by
3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 98,290 ratings
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73 The Lovely Bones
by
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 1,194,562 ratings
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74 The Da Vinci Code (Robert L...
by
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 1,222,848 ratings
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75 Travels with Charley: In Se...
by
4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 35,146 ratings
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76 Bartleby, the Scrivener
by
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 19,257 ratings
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77 Sister Carrie
by
3.67 of 5 stars 3.67 avg rating — 21,187 ratings
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78 Main Street / Babbitt (Libr...
by
4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 156 ratings
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79 The Good Earth (House of Ea...
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 144,424 ratings
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80 God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
by
3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 32,458 ratings
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81 The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 54,267 ratings
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82 A River Runs Through It and...
by
4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 14,950 ratings
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83 Roots: The Saga of an Ameri...
by
4.39 of 5 stars 4.39 avg rating — 90,721 ratings
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84 American Pastoral (The Amer...
by
3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 28,653 ratings
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85 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
by
4.08 of 5 stars 4.08 avg rating — 164,668 ratings
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86 Gravity's Rainbow
by
4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 20,369 ratings
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87 The Midnight Ride of Paul R...
by
4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 1,297 ratings
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88 Invisible Man
by
3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 86,190 ratings
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89 Revolutionary Road
by
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 48,781 ratings
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90 Infinite Jest
by
4.34 of 5 stars 4.34 avg rating — 34,387 ratings
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91 Fried Green Tomatoes at the...
by
4.22 of 5 stars 4.22 avg rating — 150,864 ratings
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92 American Psycho
by
3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 120,738 ratings
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93 Into the Wild
by
3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 431,186 ratings
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94 Chicago Poems
by
4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 1,439 ratings
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95 The Collected Poems
by
4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 10,168 ratings
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96 White Noise
by
3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 48,894 ratings
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97 Dandelion Wine (Green Town,...
by
4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 27,817 ratings
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98 Their Eyes Were Watching God
by
3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 135,969 ratings
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99 Midnight in the Garden of G...
by
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 122,075 ratings
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100 The Caine Mutiny
by
4.18 of 5 stars 4.18 avg rating — 11,286 ratings
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flag this list (?)
524 books · 383 voters · list created July 4th, 2009 by Bluedaizy (votes) .
40 likes · like
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Bluedaizy
Bluedaizy
1926 books
64 friends
Boof
Boof
1648 books
407 friends
Ricki
Ricki
2715 books
1363 friends
Diane
Diane
5867 books
81 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
2476 books
478 friends
Rebecca
Rebecca
203 books
282 friends
Holly
Holly
2207 books
10 friends
Clara
Clara
341 books
21 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-29 of 29) (29 new)

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message 1: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jul 01, 2010 10:10AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The Scarlet Letter is not absent from the list; I voted for it. It is, in fact, #8.

You could, of course, vote on it yourself; the form to add books to the list is at the right-hand side of the page.


message 2: by Matt (new)

Matt How are Koontz and Bradbury on this list twice yet Pynchon nowhere to be found?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I guess no one voting felt like voting for him.

You could add him.


message 4: by Dave (new)

Dave Cullen Hey, I'm really touched to be on this list. Thanks to the people who voted for me.


message 5: by Jamie (new)

Jamie anything by john krakauer should be on this list


message 6: by Ben (new)

Ben Communist Manifesto? Very important book, but last I checked, Karl Marx ain't American!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed, for not being by an American:

The Communist Manifesto


Hieveryoneilovebookstoo This list should really just be called 100 best American books as authors appear more than once and that seems to be the way the ranking works.

Also Ian Banks (author of the wasp factory #82) is not American he is Scottish so he shouldn't be on here, however good/relevant to this list his book may be.


Hieveryoneilovebookstoo Hieveryoneilovebookstoo wrote: "This list should really just be called 100 best American books as authors appear more than once and that seems to be the way the ranking works.

Also Ian Banks (author of the wasp factory #82) is n..."


Also James Joyce #134 is Irish.

I swear I'm not just looking for mistakes


Hieveryoneilovebookstoo Hieveryoneilovebookstoo wrote: "Hieveryoneilovebookstoo wrote: "This list should really just be called 100 best American books as authors appear more than once and that seems to be the way the ranking works.

Also Ian Banks (auth..."


Leo Tolstoy #197.....?


Hieveryoneilovebookstoo Hieveryoneilovebookstoo wrote: "Hieveryoneilovebookstoo wrote: "Hieveryoneilovebookstoo wrote: "This list should really just be called 100 best American books as authors appear more than once and that seems to be the way the rank..."
Paolo Coelho #210.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed, for not being by an American:

The Wasp Factory, by Iain M. Banks
Ulysses, by James Joyce
The Man in the Iron Mask, by Alexandre Dumas
The Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
Tess of the D'Urbevilles, by Thomas Hardy
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
Company, by Max Barry
The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho


message 13: by Miller (new)

Miller How is "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane not on the list?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You could add it; it's easy to add books to a list. At the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes."


message 15: by Boris (new)

Boris Negrarosa Did I miss something? Joyce Carol Oates NOT on the list?


message 16: by Marcelo (new)

Marcelo I'm really surprised that Stephen King's books are considered over Henry Miller's, who does not even appear in this list. I mean, I got nothing against King's books, but Miller has been much more influential to literature (not only American) than King, I would say. I would even favor Charles Bukowski and William Burroughs over King. I could mention several books by all of them, but it's so obvious that I don't even bother.
What about, Norman Mailer, Tom and Thomas Wolfe, etc.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You could add Miller's books. It's easy to add books to lists. At the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes."


message 18: by Mark (new)

Mark Doenges Matt wrote: "How are Koontz and Bradbury on this list twice yet Pynchon nowhere to be found?"

Pynchon at 87 and 128. Gravity's Rainbow and The Crying of Lot 49.


message 19: by Ahry (new)

Ahry I was really sad not to see any Hunter Thompson on this list. Fear and Loathing is definitally one of the 100 most influential american novels.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Whereabouts are his books on the list?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I'd love to remove it, but the author is an American.


Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) Susanna wrote: "I'd love to remove it, but the author is an American."

Yes, that's why I only flagged it on this list as well ... for the time being.


Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) ~☆ Alice☆~ wrote: "Ken Follett is still there twice but it renumbered as people voted."

Removed.


Lady  ~☆ Alice Rowhedge Themis-Athena wrote: " ~☆ Alice☆~ wrote: "Ken Follett is still there twice but it renumbered as people voted."

Removed."


Thanks, it kept bothering me as I nearly clicked on them more than once.


message 26: by Chela (new)

Chela Matt wrote: "How are Koontz and Bradbury on this list twice yet Pynchon nowhere to be found?"

Pynchon is on the list, Gravity's Rainbow, #91.


message 27: by Chris (new)

Chris At least two books are missing from this that were both wildly important pieces of American literature. Upton Sinclair's The Jungle caused enough of an uproar when it was published, that Theadore Roosevelt sent inspectors to Chicago's meat packing plants to investigate. Their findings eventually led to the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 which established the FDA. Also, Uncle Tom's Cabin isn't on here for some reason. The only book that sold more copies than Uncle Tom's Cabin during the 19th century was the freaking Bible. Uncle Tom's Cabin is credited as being a major reason for the growth of the Abolitionist movement in the years leading up to the Civil War. That's the one that ended slavery and led to the death of 600,000-1,000,000 Americans. But I guess twilight and the notebook were better choices. Sad


message 28: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Oct 25, 2013 10:28AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads They may indeed be on the list, just not on the first page; and you could add them. It's easy to add votes to lists; at the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes."

ETA: This is a crowd-sourced list. I suspect more folks at GR have read Twilight than The Jungle and Uncle Tom's Cabin combined. Popularity tends to rule on lists.


message 29: by Denny (new)

Denny Myers I have to comment on this. Lost Horizon was a great book. James Hilton a great author. BEFORE YOU SAY IT, he was not a native born American. He was, however, a naturalized American citizen. He died in California and was buried in Virginia. And Lost Horizon .... a great book. He should be on the list.


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