Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Books by (mostly) American authors everyone should be familiar with

Books by (mostly) American authors everyone should be familiar with

This list was instigated by a friend entering college as an English major who had had no "American" Literature course in high school. So...in no Particular order, with a few English authors thrown in, here is the list. Look for the “unabridged” or original versions if at all possible. You should have a “working knowledge” of these novels and their authors. Read the Cliff Notes if nothing else! Or find the “Classic Comics” or “Classics Illustrated” version. A number of them are out of copyright so you can probably read  an excerpt on the Internet. Beware of movies – they change the plot lines, characters, endings, and leave out LOTS. The movies I have noted are better than average.

Alcott, Louisa May – Little Women, Little Men
Austen, Jane – Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility (check out one of the
                        recent modern movies just to see that she really is universal)
Bradbury, Ray – Something Wicked This Way Comes (rent the movie), Farenheit 451
Capote, Truman -- In Cold Blood true crime, not a novel)
Cather, Willa – My Antonia, Death Comes for the Archbishop
Christie, Agatha – Ten Little Indians (alternate title: And Then There Were None), By the
                        Pricking of My Thumbs, Murder on the Orient Express
*Clark, Walter – The Oxbow Incident
Cooper, James F – The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen – The Red Badge of Courage
Eliot, George -- Middlemarch, Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner
Ellison. Ralph – The Invisible Man (BIO, not a novel)
Faulkner, William – The Sound and the Fury
Fitsgerald, F. Scott – The Great Gatsby  (there are others as well if you like him)
Frank, Pat – Alas Babylon
Golding, William – Lord of the Flies
Hammet, Dashiel – The Maltese Falcon
Hawthorne, Nathaniel – The Scarlet Letter
Hemingway, Ernest – A Farewell To Arms,  For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea
Hughes, Richard – A High Wind in Jamaica (alternate title: The Innocent Voyage)
Huxley, Aldous – Brave New World, 1984
Irving, Washington – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (short story)
Lee, Harper – To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair – Elmer Gantry (the 50’s movie is okay, the recent one is pretty bad!)
Melville, Herman – Moby Dick
Mitchell, Margaret – Gone with the Wind (rent the movie??  But you will miss a few
                        husbands and children)
Niven, Larry & Jerry Pournelle – The Mote in God’s Eye (if you like Sci-Fi, read also
                        Footfall and The Gripping Hand)
O’Connor, Flannery – A Good Man Is Hard to Find (short story collection)
*Schaefer, Jack – Shane (rent the movie?)
Shute, Nevil – On the Beach (rent the movie)
Sinclair, Upton – The Jungle
Steinbeck, John – The Grapes of Wrath (rent the movie and read the book?), The Pearl,
                      East of Eden
Stevenson, Robert Louis – Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher – Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Twain, Mark (Samuel Clemens) – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures
                     of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, others
Verne, Jules – 20,00 Leagues Under the Sea (the Disney movie is pretty good!), Around
                      the World in 80 Days, From the Earth to the Moon
Vonnegut, Kurt – Slaughterhouse Five
Wells, H G – War of the Worlds
West, Jessamyn – Friendly Persuasion (rent the movie?)
*Wister, Owen – The Virginian
X, Malcolm – The Autobiography of Malcolm X (BIO, not a novel)

* if you only want to read one of the “westerns’, read The Oxbow Incident

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