100 Best American Authors
American authors that write about the American experience.
1 To Kill a Mockingbird
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4.23 of 5 stars 4.23 avg rating — 2,039,215 ratings
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2 The Great Gatsby
by
3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 1,743,421 ratings
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3 The Adventures of Huckleber...
by
3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 810,863 ratings
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4 The Catcher in the Rye
by
3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 1,481,619 ratings
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5 The Grapes of Wrath
by
3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 378,890 ratings
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6 Of Mice and Men
by
3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 1,047,246 ratings
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7 Fahrenheit 451
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 760,135 ratings
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8 The Tell-Tale Heart and Oth...
by
4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 162,560 ratings
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9 The Scarlet Letter
by
3.32 of 5 stars 3.32 avg rating — 376,713 ratings
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10 The Old Man and the Sea
by
3.62 of 5 stars 3.62 avg rating — 305,103 ratings
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11 East of Eden
by
4.31 of 5 stars 4.31 avg rating — 237,212 ratings
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12 In Cold Blood
by
4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 300,925 ratings
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13 Little Women (Little Women,...
by
3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 948,069 ratings
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14 Gone with the Wind
by
4.25 of 5 stars 4.25 avg rating — 627,934 ratings
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15 Catch-22 (Catch-22, #1)
by
3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 388,881 ratings
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16 The Poetry of Robert Frost
by
4.22 of 5 stars 4.22 avg rating — 27,556 ratings
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17 Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
by
3.4 of 5 stars 3.40 avg rating — 304,509 ratings
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18 Slaughterhouse-Five
by
4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 617,314 ratings
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19 Death of a Salesman
by
3.44 of 5 stars 3.44 avg rating — 105,055 ratings
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20 The Color Purple
by
4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 291,923 ratings
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21 The Stand
by
4.31 of 5 stars 4.31 avg rating — 308,050 ratings
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22 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ...
by
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 175,050 ratings
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23 The Complete Poems
by
4.2 of 5 stars 4.20 avg rating — 44,790 ratings
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24 Leaves of Grass
by
4.12 of 5 stars 4.12 avg rating — 47,178 ratings
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25 Charlotte's Web
by
4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 637,430 ratings
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26 A Farewell to Arms
by
3.76 of 5 stars 3.76 avg rating — 142,645 ratings
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27 The Outsiders
by
4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 434,530 ratings
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28 Absalom, Absalom!
by
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 23,663 ratings
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29 The Crucible
by
3.49 of 5 stars 3.49 avg rating — 166,651 ratings
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30 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's ...
by
4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 368,908 ratings
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31 On the Road
by
3.67 of 5 stars 3.67 avg rating — 202,483 ratings
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32 A Confederacy of Dunces
by
3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 130,471 ratings
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33 Plays 1937-1955 (Library of...
by
4.49 of 5 stars 4.49 avg rating — 472 ratings
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34 Ethan Frome
by
3.29 of 5 stars 3.29 avg rating — 53,885 ratings
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35 I Know Why the Caged Bird S...
by
4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 161,047 ratings
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36 A Prayer for Owen Meany
by
4.21 of 5 stars 4.21 avg rating — 182,649 ratings
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37 Atlas Shrugged
by
3.66 of 5 stars 3.66 avg rating — 207,130 ratings
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38 Light in August
by
3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 32,101 ratings
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39 Columbine
by
4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 29,857 ratings
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40 The Call of the Wild, White...
by
3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 11,809 ratings
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41 The Big Sleep
by
4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 56,805 ratings
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42 The Sun Also Rises
by
3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 211,136 ratings
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43 Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstro...
by
3.55 of 5 stars 3.55 avg rating — 29,160 ratings
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44 O Pioneers! (Great Plains T...
by
3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 22,046 ratings
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45 Collected Works: Wise Blood...
by
4.56 of 5 stars 4.56 avg rating — 2,064 ratings
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46 The Complete Short Stories
by
4.29 of 5 stars 4.29 avg rating — 23,078 ratings
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47 The Bell Jar
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 294,706 ratings
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48 The Things They Carried
by
4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 108,784 ratings
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49 Walden & Civil Disobedience
by
3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 20,471 ratings
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50 Lonesome Dove
by
4.44 of 5 stars 4.44 avg rating — 84,274 ratings
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51 Long Day's Journey Into Night
by
4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 20,489 ratings
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52 Beloved (Toni Morrison Tril...
by
3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 173,306 ratings
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53 Franny and Zooey
by
3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 122,621 ratings
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54 The Help
by
4.44 of 5 stars 4.44 avg rating — 1,060,859 ratings
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55 The Killer Angels
by
4.26 of 5 stars 4.26 avg rating — 44,191 ratings
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56 The Glass Menagerie
by
3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 64,608 ratings
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57 The Hunger Games (The Hunge...
by
4.41 of 5 stars 4.41 avg rating — 2,822,128 ratings
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58 The Last of the Mohicans (T...
by
3.66 of 5 stars 3.66 avg rating — 52,704 ratings
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59 All the King's Men
by
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 34,870 ratings
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60 Winesburg, Ohio
by
3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 16,070 ratings
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61 The Waste Land
by
4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 21,986 ratings
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62 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 372,582 ratings
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63 The Age of Innocence
by
3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 74,878 ratings
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64 As I Lay Dying
by
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 73,934 ratings
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65 Breakfast at Tiffany's: And...
by
3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 99,656 ratings
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66 The Road
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 388,865 ratings
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67 The Portrait of a Lady
by
3.74 of 5 stars 3.74 avg rating — 42,828 ratings
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68 The Maltese Falcon
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 46,781 ratings
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69 Cold Mountain
by
3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 134,483 ratings
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70 The Sound and the Fury
by
3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 96,765 ratings
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71 The Lovely Bones
by
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 1,160,781 ratings
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72 Bartleby, the Scrivener
by
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 18,533 ratings
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73 Cannery Row
by
3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 56,002 ratings
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74 Sister Carrie
by
3.67 of 5 stars 3.67 avg rating — 20,573 ratings
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75 My Ántonia
by
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 73,647 ratings
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76 Main Street / Babbitt (Libr...
by
4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 156 ratings
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76 The Da Vinci Code (Robert L...
by
3.71 of 5 stars 3.71 avg rating — 1,203,005 ratings
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78 God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
by
3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 31,629 ratings
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79 The Good Earth (House of Ea...
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 140,781 ratings
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80 American Pastoral (The Amer...
by
3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 27,696 ratings
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81 The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 52,968 ratings
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82 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
by
4.08 of 5 stars 4.08 avg rating — 161,972 ratings
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83 Travels with Charley: In Se...
by
4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 34,187 ratings
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84 The Midnight Ride of Paul R...
by
4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 1,238 ratings
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85 Invisible Man
by
3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 83,277 ratings
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86 Roots: The Saga of an Ameri...
by
4.39 of 5 stars 4.39 avg rating — 88,218 ratings
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87 Revolutionary Road
by
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 47,645 ratings
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88 Gravity's Rainbow
by
4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 19,902 ratings
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89 American Psycho
by
3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 117,115 ratings
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90 Into the Wild
by
3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 418,071 ratings
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91 Chicago Poems
by
3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 1,409 ratings
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92 The Collected Poems
by
4.28 of 5 stars 4.28 avg rating — 10,044 ratings
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93 White Noise
by
3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 48,141 ratings
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94 Dandelion Wine (Green Town,...
by
4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 27,066 ratings
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95 The Caine Mutiny
by
4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 10,855 ratings
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96 Sometimes a Great Notion
by
4.23 of 5 stars 4.23 avg rating — 12,089 ratings
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97 A River Runs Through It and...
by
4.13 of 5 stars 4.13 avg rating — 14,484 ratings
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98 Fried Green Tomatoes at the...
by
4.22 of 5 stars 4.22 avg rating — 146,294 ratings
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99 Infinite Jest
by
4.34 of 5 stars 4.34 avg rating — 33,178 ratings
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100 Three Plays: Our Town/The S...
by
4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 996 ratings
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flag this list (?)
522 books · 373 voters · list created July 4th, 2009 by Bluedaizy (votes) .
35 likes · like
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Bluedaizy
Bluedaizy
1917 books
64 friends
Boof
Boof
1648 books
409 friends
Ricki
Ricki
2650 books
1353 friends
Diane
Diane
5836 books
81 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
2425 books
465 friends
Rebecca
Rebecca
203 books
279 friends
Holly
Holly
2135 books
10 friends
Clara
Clara
339 books
22 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.


 ~☆ Alice♥♥ 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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