Top Ten American Novels/Books

The Scarlett Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Hawthorne challenged the tradition of his time by writing this masterpiece that touched the topic of social injustice that was being inflicted upon women during that time. The way he has described the contradiction of behaviour in the treatment of women by Boston puritans is really compelling and brought to light an issue that was considered taboo.

Moby-Dick – Herman Melville

Shrouded in the mysteries that the sea holds in itself, this is a book that follows the story of Ishmael who is a wandering sailor and sets to the sea with Captain Ahab in search of a white whale that had maimed him. The nautical terminology mixed with the depths of illusion in this book takes you to the deepest of depths and holds you there right till the end.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

This sequel to the famous book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain brings forth the story of a motherless and abused boy growing up by the Mississippi River. The book is a great depiction of the antebellum US that is struggling to find its own identity as a land of the “sivilized” and the free.

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald is a writer whose accomplishments are well known to everyone in the literary world and in this tale of lost love and fantasy he creates a world that keeps the reader interested to a very special level. The glamour, the partying and the simplicity of the deep feelings of love that Gatsby has are unlike anything you have ever seen in a novel, a perfect in its own stead.

The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton

This is a novel that grips your full attention right from the beginning and keeps you indulged in the life of Lily Bart, a young, intelligent and beautiful woman who longs for true love and is consumed by the superficial air of New York. The tragic end is not the only thing that leaves the reader sighing but the whole novel itself is a realization of some very interesting truths.

The Call of the Wild – Jack London

This is a story of a Bernard-Scotch Collie named Buck that suddenly finds itself working as a sledging dog, slaving itself for the men who have suddenly struck gold in the arctic. A story of survival, it is said to be an adventure that is “fervently American” and is a really gripping story of fangs and club. Jack London has truly created a masterpiece with this book.

The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

This gruesome and unforgiving story of a family of poor “Okies” that gets driven away from their own land during the Great Depression era really touches the nerve of the reader in the cruellest manner. And it is the exact impact that the Steinbeck was looking for when he wrote this book. Causing goose bumps at several occasions, it is certainly worthy of Steinbeck’s Noble Prize.

The Colossus of Maroussi – Henry Miller

Travelogues don’t get any better than this amazing production of Henry Miller who presented his travels to Greece in a very enchanting manner, giving an impressionistic view and predicting the Beat Generation. With his partner Lawrence Durrell, he explained his experience as feeling ‘like a cockroach’ and ‘coming home to the world’ at Mycenae.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S Thompson

The possibilities of life that one can see in America are described in this novel by Hunter S Thompson in the most thrilling, drug-fuelled and reckless manner. The story is furious, funny and is a disorienting form of attack on what we call the American Dream by a proper gonzo journalist. The novel is simply amazing and is worthy of multiple reads.

Beloved – Toni Morrison

This book is a tribute to the countless souls that fell victim to the slave trade in the Atlantic and is an extremely complex psychological triumph that is worthy of the Pulitzer Prize it got. The story is about a formerly slaved woman who decides to kill her own new born daughter simply to make sure that she doesn’t get recaptured.

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