100 Best American Authors

American authors that write about the American experience.
1

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3

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3.81 avg rating — 1,091,699 ratings
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5

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3.96 avg rating — 687,958 ratings
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6

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3.86 avg rating — 1,775,380 ratings
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7

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3.98 avg rating — 1,481,181 ratings
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8

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3.39 avg rating — 653,860 ratings
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9

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4.07 avg rating — 480,769 ratings
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10

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4.37 avg rating — 395,681 ratings
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11

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4.16 avg rating — 209,900 ratings
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12

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4.29 avg rating — 1,013,346 ratings
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13

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4.20 avg rating — 471,985 ratings
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14

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3.76 avg rating — 735,703 ratings
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15

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4.06 avg rating — 1,494,994 ratings
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16

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3.49 avg rating — 451,508 ratings
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17

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4.07 avg rating — 1,044,028 ratings
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18

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3.98 avg rating — 677,682 ratings
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19

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3.51 avg rating — 168,397 ratings
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20

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4.22 avg rating — 66,534 ratings
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21

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4.34 avg rating — 561,921 ratings
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22

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4.12 avg rating — 83,109 ratings
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23

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3.98 avg rating — 333,761 ratings
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24

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4.25 avg rating — 44,242 ratings
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25

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3.57 avg rating — 297,679 ratings
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26

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4.09 avg rating — 837,597 ratings
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27

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4.17 avg rating — 1,292,957 ratings
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28

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4.19 avg rating — 587,684 ratings
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29

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3.82 avg rating — 290,282 ratings
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30

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3.80 avg rating — 244,696 ratings
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31

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3.63 avg rating — 319,345 ratings
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32

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3.91 avg rating — 698,346 ratings
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33

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3.96 avg rating — 37,081 ratings
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34

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4.22 avg rating — 360,098 ratings
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35

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3.88 avg rating — 215,876 ratings
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36

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4.49 avg rating — 794 ratings
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37

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 533,257 ratings
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38

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3.82 avg rating — 344,570 ratings
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39

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3.39 avg rating — 100,442 ratings
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40

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3.94 avg rating — 50,637 ratings
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41

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3.99 avg rating — 19,048 ratings
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42

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4.23 avg rating — 274,420 ratings
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43

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3.96 avg rating — 657,983 ratings
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44

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3.86 avg rating — 43,117 ratings
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45

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4.47 avg rating — 1,934,713 ratings
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46

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3.69 avg rating — 336,373 ratings
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47

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4.28 avg rating — 62,709 ratings
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48

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4.49 avg rating — 135,819 ratings
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49

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4.13 avg rating — 232,945 ratings
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50

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4.33 avg rating — 5,858,268 ratings
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51

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4.01 avg rating — 110,734 ratings
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52

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3.71 avg rating — 127,906 ratings
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53

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3.58 avg rating — 48,860 ratings
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54

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3.77 avg rating — 66,728 ratings
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55

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3.78 avg rating — 113,835 ratings
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56

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3.98 avg rating — 177,173 ratings
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57

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3.69 avg rating — 104,663 ratings
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58

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4.29 avg rating — 32,635 ratings
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59

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4.51 avg rating — 3,095 ratings
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60

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3.70 avg rating — 82,642 ratings
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61

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3.84 avg rating — 28,564 ratings
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62

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4.11 avg rating — 38,670 ratings
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63

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3.95 avg rating — 33,233 ratings
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64

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3.89 avg rating — 197,852 ratings
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65

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3.86 avg rating — 150,581 ratings
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66

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3.92 avg rating — 40,705 ratings
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67

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4.07 avg rating — 33,572 ratings
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68

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3.98 avg rating — 87,145 ratings
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69

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3.92 avg rating — 204,248 ratings
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70

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3.94 avg rating — 131,330 ratings
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71

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3.83 avg rating — 1,760,265 ratings
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72

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4.09 avg rating — 53,117 ratings
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73

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3.98 avg rating — 213,669 ratings
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74

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3.86 avg rating — 146,170 ratings
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75

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3.75 avg rating — 35,452 ratings
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76

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3.85 avg rating — 210,099 ratings
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77

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4.11 avg rating — 437 ratings
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78

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3.96 avg rating — 52,239 ratings
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79

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4.23 avg rating — 3,145,283 ratings
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80

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4.01 avg rating — 33,279 ratings
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81

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4.08 avg rating — 63,619 ratings
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82

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3.89 avg rating — 609,382 ratings
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83

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4.04 avg rating — 105,025 ratings
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84

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3.80 avg rating — 1,872,183 ratings
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85

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4.29 avg rating — 68,367 ratings
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86

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4.43 avg rating — 137,595 ratings
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87

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4.23 avg rating — 46,993 ratings
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88

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3.82 avg rating — 216,276 ratings
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89

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3.92 avg rating — 56,789 ratings
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90

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3.69 avg rating — 63,610 ratings
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91

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4.08 avg rating — 279,967 ratings
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92

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4.17 avg rating — 98,124 ratings
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93

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4.32 avg rating — 71,634 ratings
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94

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3.91 avg rating — 79,418 ratings
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94

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3.90 avg rating — 237,476 ratings
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96

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4.08 avg rating — 195,781 ratings
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97

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3.78 avg rating — 17,946 ratings
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98

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4.09 avg rating — 49,544 ratings
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99

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3.86 avg rating — 81,160 ratings
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100

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4.06 avg rating — 1,891 ratings
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flag this list (?)
668 books · 572 voters · list created July 4th, 2009 by Bluedaizy (votes) .
104 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Bluedaizy 2081 books
86 friends
The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) 1840 books
637 friends
Ricki 4073 books
1474 friends
Diane 10050 books
163 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3142 books
829 friends
Rebecca 247 books
433 friends
Holly 3167 books
9 friends
Clara 385 books
30 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-38 of 38 (38 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

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?


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Spam alert at #32.


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


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 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 (Lioness at Large) ~☆ Alice☆~ wrote: "Ken Follett is still there twice but it renumbered as people voted."

Removed.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

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.


message 30: by Kimberlee (new)

Kimberlee Leal I am currently reading Tropic if Cancer by Henry Miller, and I would agree that this book belongs on this list. I expected to find a bunch of "smut" as they used to call it, but, I have been amazed at the writing style and use of the language, which exceeds the writings of King, who while entertaining, is hardly the author of great literature,


message 31: by Robert (last edited Jun 08, 2016 11:42AM) (new)

Robert Womack Very hard to compile a list like this when you are so frequently comparing apples and oranges with regard to subject matter, style, frame of reference, culture, etc. Most of this comes down to personal taste and simply what certain people like or dislike. For example, how do you compare The Call of the Wild and Breakfast at Tiffany's? Or The Color Purple and The Stand? Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Little Women? I'm fine with this list---but it should be understood that this is really just a list of good/great books by American authors that a few, some, or a lot of people like to varying degrees. That's it.


message 32: by Steve (new)

Steve L. Must include Frank Norris's "The Octopus" and "McTeague", two classics of literary realism. Popular in their day his novels are now on undergraduate reading lists and subjects of MA Thesis and Doctoral Dissertations.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads If you want to add them, you can do so at the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes."


message 34: by Booklovinglady (last edited Sep 03, 2017 06:23AM) (new)

Booklovinglady I've removed The Magus, as John Fowles is not American (nor is The Magus about 'the American experience', if I remember correctly).


message 35: by Sally (new)

Sally McCullough No less than 40% of these can't qualify, as they're not literature, at least not in the sense of having achieved notable impact on how large numbers of us think.

When names like Michener, and others pointed out by commenters, don't even show up on this list, the urge to contribute near-spontaneously transmogrifies into a core realization that: a) List is worth saving to re-read many of these great influences on our rearing, and b) A mathematical majority of contributors to this list provide adequate reason for me to move on, looking for reasonably literate people to interact with. (Five smart people, and too many typical, ah..... hoi polloi? :-)

Thanks to GoodReads.com for a still-very-valuable list. Cheers.
.


message 36: by Aidan (new)

Aidan Convery Where's Thomas Woolf and Tom Wolfe?! Typical canon of the poorly read. What is The Da Vinci code doing on the list???
Thomas Pynchon IS listed > YOU WHO SAID HE WASN'T.


message 37: by Aidan (new)

Aidan Convery A quarter of those listed don't belong here.


message 38: by Aidan (new)

Aidan Convery Sally - junk writing, incl. journalism, influences how many think , that does not qualify it as literature


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