100 Best American Authors

American authors that write about the American experience.
1

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4.28 avg rating — 4,331,083 ratings
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2

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3.92 avg rating — 3,637,460 ratings
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3

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3.82 avg rating — 1,128,883 ratings
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4

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3.80 avg rating — 2,648,550 ratings
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5

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3.97 avg rating — 726,747 ratings
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6

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3.87 avg rating — 1,883,498 ratings
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7

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3.99 avg rating — 1,603,130 ratings
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8

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3.40 avg rating — 686,295 ratings
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9

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4.07 avg rating — 505,174 ratings
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10

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4.38 avg rating — 414,779 ratings
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11

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4.17 avg rating — 218,001 ratings
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12

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4.30 avg rating — 1,051,773 ratings
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13

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4.21 avg rating — 498,085 ratings
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14

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3.77 avg rating — 795,055 ratings
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15

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4.08 avg rating — 1,621,212 ratings
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16

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3.50 avg rating — 467,900 ratings
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17

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4.08 avg rating — 1,094,387 ratings
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18

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3.98 avg rating — 705,090 ratings
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19

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3.52 avg rating — 178,095 ratings
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20

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4.23 avg rating — 69,779 ratings
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21

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4.34 avg rating — 591,896 ratings
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22

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4.12 avg rating — 87,310 ratings
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23

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3.99 avg rating — 352,594 ratings
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24

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4.25 avg rating — 45,874 ratings
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25

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3.58 avg rating — 314,099 ratings
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26

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4.10 avg rating — 898,919 ratings
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27

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4.17 avg rating — 1,364,409 ratings
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28

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4.20 avg rating — 612,312 ratings
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29

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3.85 avg rating — 309,897 ratings
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30

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3.81 avg rating — 256,109 ratings
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31

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3.91 avg rating — 734,308 ratings
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32

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4.23 avg rating — 385,967 ratings
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33

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3.62 avg rating — 334,947 ratings
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34

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3.97 avg rating — 38,136 ratings
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35

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4.01 avg rating — 567,696 ratings
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36

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3.89 avg rating — 225,123 ratings
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37

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4.48 avg rating — 803 ratings
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38

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3.82 avg rating — 358,259 ratings
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39

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3.40 avg rating — 104,186 ratings
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40

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3.94 avg rating — 52,354 ratings
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41

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 19,905 ratings
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42

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4.23 avg rating — 281,527 ratings
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43

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3.97 avg rating — 691,506 ratings
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44

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3.87 avg rating — 44,663 ratings
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45

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4.47 avg rating — 2,084,459 ratings
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46

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3.69 avg rating — 346,245 ratings
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47

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4.29 avg rating — 66,768 ratings
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48

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4.49 avg rating — 141,950 ratings
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49

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4.13 avg rating — 243,700 ratings
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50

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4.33 avg rating — 6,169,457 ratings
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51

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 117,416 ratings
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52

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3.72 avg rating — 133,574 ratings
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53

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3.58 avg rating — 50,867 ratings
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54

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3.78 avg rating — 68,983 ratings
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55

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3.79 avg rating — 117,386 ratings
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56

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3.98 avg rating — 182,166 ratings
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57

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3.70 avg rating — 109,151 ratings
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58

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4.29 avg rating — 32,900 ratings
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59

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3.86 avg rating — 155,534 ratings
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60

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4.51 avg rating — 3,130 ratings
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61

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3.70 avg rating — 85,193 ratings
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62

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3.84 avg rating — 29,516 ratings
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63

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4.11 avg rating — 41,172 ratings
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64

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3.95 avg rating — 33,944 ratings
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65

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3.89 avg rating — 206,499 ratings
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66

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4.09 avg rating — 54,783 ratings
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67

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3.92 avg rating — 43,763 ratings
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68

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4.07 avg rating — 34,441 ratings
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69

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3.98 avg rating — 90,537 ratings
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70

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3.92 avg rating — 213,928 ratings
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71

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3.95 avg rating — 136,156 ratings
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72

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3.85 avg rating — 1,869,889 ratings
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73

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3.98 avg rating — 219,122 ratings
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74

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3.87 avg rating — 151,866 ratings
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75

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3.75 avg rating — 36,201 ratings
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76

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3.86 avg rating — 216,827 ratings
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77

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4.10 avg rating — 443 ratings
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78

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3.96 avg rating — 54,502 ratings
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79

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4.21 avg rating — 3,398,554 ratings
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80

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 35,023 ratings
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81

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4.08 avg rating — 67,126 ratings
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82

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3.89 avg rating — 642,581 ratings
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83

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4.04 avg rating — 109,343 ratings
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84

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3.81 avg rating — 1,963,880 ratings
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85

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4.29 avg rating — 71,921 ratings
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86

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4.44 avg rating — 141,678 ratings
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87

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4.24 avg rating — 53,594 ratings
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88

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3.82 avg rating — 228,556 ratings
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89

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3.93 avg rating — 60,489 ratings
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90

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3.69 avg rating — 66,931 ratings
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91

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4.08 avg rating — 291,553 ratings
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92

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4.17 avg rating — 104,247 ratings
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93

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4.32 avg rating — 73,568 ratings
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94

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3.91 avg rating — 83,339 ratings
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94

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3.92 avg rating — 250,262 ratings
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96

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4.09 avg rating — 201,105 ratings
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97

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3.78 avg rating — 18,470 ratings
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98

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4.09 avg rating — 52,641 ratings
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99

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3.87 avg rating — 84,560 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 · 576 voters · list created July 4th, 2009 by Bluedaizy (votes) .
103 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Bluedaizy 2100 books
89 friends
The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) 1882 books
632 friends
Ricki 4149 books
1473 friends
Diane 10678 books
177 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3188 books
846 friends
Rebecca 262 books
464 friends
Holly 3339 books
10 friends
Clara 385 books
30 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-38 of 38 (38 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?


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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