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Old 03-26-2020, 09:04 PM
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American Books You've Liked


Someone mentioned in another thread that To Kill a Mockingbird is a Great American Novel. I'll go along that's it's one of them. Here're a few more I'd add

Housekeeping, by Marilyn Robinson
Anything by Mark Twain
The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
Their Eyes were Watching G-d
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
The Grapes of Wrath, by Steinbeck
The Tattooed Potato (YA fiction, but great anyway), by Ellen Raskin
Franny & Zooey, by JD Salinger
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Washington Square, by Henry James
The Bostonians, by Henry James
The Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
Shoeless Joe, by Phil Alden Robinson
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

What others would you suggest?
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:07 PM
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Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:08 PM
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The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

My Antonia by Willa Cather
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:21 PM
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The Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
Nitpick: The Invisible Man is by H.G. Wells. Invisible Man is by Ralph Ellison.

Off the top of my head, I'd add something by John Irving, maybe A Prayer For Owen Meany.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:22 PM
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Harry Crews: A Feast of Snakes; The Gypsy's Curse.

2 of my all time faves.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:35 PM
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The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Canadian.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:37 PM
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I'm a fan of Richard Condon, particularly

The Oldest Confession
The Manchurian Candidate
Mile High
The Vertical Smile


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A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:49 PM
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American hardboiled novels I liked:


Serenade by James M Cain

Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham

Fast One by Paul Cain
  #9  
Old 03-26-2020, 10:04 PM
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Tropic of Capricorn, Henry Miller
Collected Stories, Paul Bowles
Factotum, Charles Bukowski.

OP: My hat's off to you if you made it through Henry James novels.
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:16 PM
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Mark Twain goes without saying...

How about:

Moby-Dick
Gravity's Rainbow
Pale Fire

Last edited by DPRK; 03-26-2020 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:17 PM
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Night Soldiers by Alan Furst

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:56 PM
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American Tabloid by James Ellroy.
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Old 03-27-2020, 02:46 AM
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Blood Meridian or The Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy.
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Old 03-27-2020, 06:28 AM
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The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut


Correction Shoeless Joe was by W.P. Kinsella. Robinson directed the mivie
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Old 03-27-2020, 06:32 AM
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Infinite Jest...df wallace
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Old 03-27-2020, 06:53 AM
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Principia Discordia is the only great American book I need.
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Old 03-27-2020, 07:33 AM
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Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula LeGuin

A Gentleman In Moscow, Amor Towles (this is an excellent book to read at this moment, by the way -- the story of a Russian aristocrat who is on permanent house arrest in a fancy hotel in Moscow, and how he makes the best of it, a very gentle, witty, but pointed book).

Willa Cather and Marilyn Robinson already mentioned, two of my very favorite novelists.

Eudora Welty: the Golden Apples, the Robber Bridegroom

Flannery O'Connor: short stories
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Old 03-27-2020, 07:46 AM
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a better book than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, in my opinion.

I’d also argue that The House of the Seven Gables by Hawthorne is better than the much better known The Scarlet Letter.

John Knowles’ A Separate Peace is absolutely amazing.
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Old 03-27-2020, 07:56 AM
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Canadian.
Canadian is American
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:15 AM
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How are you defining "American"?
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Old 03-27-2020, 09:44 AM
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Definitely Red Harvest, also Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon and The Glass Key.

Charles Finley’s The Circus of Dr. Lao, a marvelous 1935 fantasy which prefigured all the later “spooky circus” novels, only it’s FUNNY

Dorothy B. Hughes’s In a Lonely Place, (1947) one of the best serial killer novels ever

Ann Petry’s The Street, (1946) first bestseller by an African-American woman, will rip your heart right out of your chest
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Old 03-27-2020, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RivkahChaya View Post
Canadian is American
You're going to get a lot of pushback on that. In my experience, whenever people talk about the/a "Great American Novel" or "American Literature" they mean the USA.
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Old 03-27-2020, 10:14 AM
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Plus Canadians are justifiably proud of Margaret Atwood and would probably not appreciate her being considered American.
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Old 03-27-2020, 12:56 PM
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William March’s Company K (1933). Generally considered the best piece of American literature to arise from the Great War, consists of 113 vignettes from POV of 113 U.S. Marines — some horrific, some containing offbeat, black humor. Compare to Catch-22.

The Man with the Golden Arm (1949). Nobody reads Nelson Algren any more, I don’t know why. A compulsive piece of mid-century realism, set on seedy Division Street, Chicago. Frankie Machine is a hell of a guy.

Henry Kessring’s The Cook (1965). Short, darkly humorous novel culminating in horror. Shirley Jackson would have been proud to have written it.
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Last edited by Ukulele Ike; 03-27-2020 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:01 PM
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I like everything by Jim Harrison, especially Dalva (1988) and The Road Home (1998)

https://www.mlive.com/entertainment/...f_the_lat.html
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:02 PM
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The great majority of novels by John D. MacDonald (especially the Travis McGee series).

Early to mid career novels by Lawrence Block (including such works as "When The Sacred Ginmill Closes").

Also Dashiell Hammett.

If we're including non-fiction, books by Erik Larsen ("Isaac's Storm" is far and away his best).
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:23 PM
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Maybe I'm impatient, but I prefer novellas to novels. Here are some good ones:
The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
The Pearl, by John Steinbeck
Call of the Wild, by Jack London
Bartleby, the Scrivener, by Herman Melville
The Quiet American, by Graham Greene . . Oops -- Greene is English, not American
Gone Fishin’, by Walter Mosley
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:35 PM
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Little Women
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:43 PM
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William Gaddis, The Recognitions and A Frolic of His Own.
Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
Russell Banks, Continental Drift

Recent: Richard Powers, The Overstory.
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:47 PM
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You're going to get a lot of pushback on that. In my experience, whenever people talk about the/a "Great American Novel" or "American Literature" they mean the USA.
Well, I know that Atwood is Canadian. I almost called the thread "non-Brit lit," just so I could include My Brilliant Career.
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Old 03-27-2020, 02:25 PM
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In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
Ender's Game Orson Scott Card
Tender is the Night Fitzgerald
Witness Whitaker Chambers
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Old 03-27-2020, 02:37 PM
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Charlotte's Web
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Old 03-27-2020, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
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Well, I know that Atwood is Canadian. I almost called the thread "non-Brit lit," just so I could include My Brilliant Career.
In that case, there are some well-known American classics like Maria Chapdelaine...
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Old 03-27-2020, 04:09 PM
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Let me also put in A Confederacy of Dunces
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
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The Grapes of Wrath, by Steinbeck
Add to that, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Also two of his others, Slaughterhouse Five and Sirens of Titan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike View Post
Charles Finley’s The Circus of Dr. Lao, a marvelous 1935 fantasy which prefigured all the later “spooky circus” novels, only it’s FUNNY
Nit-pick: Charles Finney. Original edition had surreal illustrations by Boris Artzybasheff, which apparently were omitted from later editions

Also: The Cat In The Hat by Everyone-Knows-Who !
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:28 PM
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Oops, “Finley” was a spellcheck typo, sorry.

If you can still buy the University of Nebraska Press Speculative Fiction reprint, it contains the (superlative) Artzybasheff illustrations.
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Old 03-28-2020, 08:57 PM
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Seconds to anything by Jim Harrison and Steinbeck.

Brown Dog cracks me up!
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  #38  
Old 03-29-2020, 03:51 AM
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Sometimes A Great Notion by Ken Kesey
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  #39  
Old 03-29-2020, 08:44 AM
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Housekeeping, by Marilyn Robinson
If you liked Housekeeping, I would recommend Gilead as well. IMO, Gilead is Robinson's best work (the entire trilogy is beautiful)



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Old 03-29-2020, 08:55 AM
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Prince of the Blood or the King's Buccaneer by Raymond Feist
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:53 AM
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An unjustly forgotten American novelist is James Branch Cabell. My favorite of his books is probably The High Place, but that is not on Gutenberg.org. His most famous book is Jurgen, because it was banned in Boston for indecency, which catapulted Cabell from obscurity to fame, however brief. Highly recommended for married men over the age of 25*, who are least likely to be corrupted by it.



* Also highly recommended for everyone else.
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:59 AM
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A Gentleman In Moscow, Amor Towles (this is an excellent book to read at this moment, by the way -- the story of a Russian aristocrat who is on permanent house arrest in a fancy hotel in Moscow, and how he makes the best of it, a very gentle, witty, but pointed book).
A fantastic book, of the 30 or so I've read in our book club this was my favorite.

I also liked A City of Thieves - by David Benioff
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Old 03-30-2020, 02:43 PM
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Edward Abbey. The Fool's Progress and The Monkey Wrench Gang.
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Old 03-30-2020, 02:56 PM
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How about something from JP Donleavy? I'll concede there's a sameyness about his output, to the extent that I suspect many will say that their favourite Donleavy book is the first one they read - in my case The Onion Eaters (YMMV).

I don't know what the unwritten date cut-off is. Is American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis to recent?

j
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Old 03-30-2020, 03:04 PM
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(Unwritten date cut-off for Great American Novel, I mean. Missed the edit.)

j

Last edited by Treppenwitz; 03-30-2020 at 03:04 PM.
  #46  
Old 03-30-2020, 03:15 PM
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The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway
Moby Dick Hermann Melville
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Old 03-30-2020, 03:19 PM
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I'm a fan of William Least Heat-Moon; Blue Highways is his classic, and I'm currently reading River Horse, his tale of crossing America east to west by boat.

And, as I usually do in these kind of threads, I highly recommend anything by Tony Horwitz, Confederates In The Attic and A Voyage Long And Strange, to name a couple.
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