Reading American classics books is a blessing for the classic book reader. This genre is diverse and yet unites in its unique way. These books have created bonds to readers throughout the centuries, and they perceive themselves as First and the best. So in this article, I will talk about American classics books that everyone should read.
Periodically, I return to the classics for inspiration and refreshment.Cecilia Dart-Thornton
American Classics are the milepost of literary heritage. These are expressed in the art of literature. Classics help us to enrich our vocabulary and social skills. It helps us to understand America’s culture and history in a better way. Once you start reading American classics, you will surely get addicted to them, and there shall be no turning back.
In the era of thousands of classics, it isn’t easy to choose which one to read. So here are my suggestions of the top 13 American Classics that should be on our reading list.
Top 13 Must-Read American Classics Books
1. The Catcher In The Rye
The Novel was written by J.D. Salinger and was published in July 1951. This book, a must-read for all adults and adolescents, is based on the themes of alienation and angst.
The story revolves around the life of Holden Caulfield, a 16-year-old child who, after being thrown out of the prep school, becomes befuddled and searches for veracity and rails against the “phoniness” of the world adults. He later ends up being emotionally unsettled.
This book gives a crucial message regarding the protection of innocent children.
2. The Great Gatsby
The novel “The Great Gatsby” was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This novel is based on betrayal, power, justice, greed, the dream of an American, and more.
The story revolves around the life of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire, and his desire to pursue Daisy Buchanan, his youth lover. This novel is one of the best American classics to read.
The novel was first published in April 1925.
3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The novel “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was written by Mark Twain. It is considered one of the best novels of America. Initially, this book was in vernacular English.
The story goes on as Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, his friend, start a journey along the Mississippi River with Jim, a runaway slave. This story is a must-read as it teaches us the values of friendship and honesty.
The novel was first published in December 1884.
4. The Crucible
“The Crucible” is a play written by Arthur Miller. It is a dramatic story based on the fiction of the Salem witch trials that occurred during 1692-93 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The story is based on the themes of goodness, hysteria, betrayal, intolerance, and justice. Through this book, we learn that we should remain calm in times of crisis and not make the worst decisions haste. This novel is indeed America’s most-read book and should be read at least once in a lifetime.
The novel was published in January 1953.
5. A Tale of Two Cities
The novel “A Tale of Two Cities” was written by Charles Dickens.
“A Tale Of Two Cities” is a historical novel and is one of the best literary pieces one has ever read. This novel revolves around the life of Doctor Manette and his release from 18 years of imprisonment to lead his life with Lucie, his daughter.
In this story, Dickens shows us how important it is to be compassionate. We also learn that we must be responsible for the actions and choices we take. The novel was initially published in 1859.
6. Gone With The Wind
The novel is a masterpiece written by Margaret Mitchell as it is based on themes of hope, dreams, past, race. The story revolves around the life of Scarlett O’Hara, who is secretly in love with Ashley Wilkes and later finds out that he is engaged with her cousin.
This novel is worth reading, a brilliant story of the Civil War and a revelation of society, lifestyle of those times. The novel was first published in June 1936.
7. The Grapes Of Wrath
The novel “The Grapes Of Wrath” was written by John Steinbeck is a fictional novel that received the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. The story is set in the background of America’s Great Depression.
It revolves around the lives of the Joads, tenant workers’ deprived families, which drove from their Oklahoma house due to economic deprivation and changes in the agriculture industry.
One of the most important themes of this story is Man’s Inhumanity to Man. This book is a must-read as it invokes sympathy for the tenant farmers because of their struggles. On the other hand, it arouses bitterness of the Great Depression. The novel was first published in April 1939.
8. Atlas Shrugged
“Atlas Shrugged,” written by Ayn Rand, is a fictional novel built from her ideology of Objectivism. Many consider this book as Ayn Rand’s magnum opus.
This book is based on the theme- “the role of man’s mind in existence”. It centers around a dystopian society in the United States where the shakers and movers have deserted while the others are in a confused state of mind. It is an eye-opening novel and is worth reading.
The novel was first published in October 1957.
9. Their Eyes Were Watching God
“Their Eyes Were Watching God” is one of the best-known novels written by Zora Neale Hurston based on how women are disempowered. In contrast, men are empowered by the typical ideas regarding the relationship between men and women.
The story revolves around the life of Janie Crawford, an attractive, middle-aged woman who, through a chain of marriages, tries to devise herself. This book meets the problems related to the identity of a female and is a must-read book.
The novel was originally published in September 1937.
10. Incidents In the Life Of A Slave Girl
The novel “Incidents In the Life Of A Slave Girl” was written by Harriet Jacobs. It’s her autobiography. The story of her haunting description of her life in North Carolina as a slave and her final escape to liberation.
This narrative teaches us how difficult it is for a woman to lead a life as a slave. This story will surely fill the reader’s eyes with tears as the reader will read the lines of her torture and sexual abuse. The readers will surely be able to feel the sufferings of the American female slaves.
This novel was first published in 1861.
11. Invisible Man
“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison is a story based on fiction for which the writer received the National Book Award.
It deals with the philosophical and social issues that African Americans faced in the early twentieth century of the US. This story revolves around an unnamed black man who moves to the US in the 20th century and becomes a victim of racism. This novel is an inspirational book that will shock the readers.
The book was first published in April 1952.
12. Giovanni’s Room
The novel “Giovanni’s Room” was written by James Baldwin. This novel revolves around the life of an American man and his trials with his sexuality, basically with Giovanni with whom he met at the Parsian bar for gays.
It is a must-read for today’s generation based on the theme of conflict between masculinity and homosexuality.
The book was originally published in 1956.
“Kindred,” written by Octavia E Butler, is a fantastic masterpiece and is based on the themes of race, gender, and power.
The story deals with the problems of antebellum slavery from the outlook of a black woman in the 1970s. The book was initially published in June 1979.
American Classics have stood and are standing in the test of time, helps us to change our perspective of thinking. It helps us look at the world in a better way which is why we think they should be on your must-read list.
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