100 American Classic Books That You Should Read at Least Once

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100 American Classic Books That You Should Read at Least Once

American literature has produced some of the greatest and most influential works in the world. From fiction to non-fiction, poetry, and plays, the United States has a rich literary tradition that continues to captivate readers of all ages. In this article, we have compiled a list of 100 American classic books that you must read at least once in your lifetime.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

First published in 1960, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a renowned classic of modern American literature. It deals with the issues of racism and injustice in America’s Deep South during the 1930s.

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Set in New York during the roaring twenties, this novel is a poignant representation of the Jazz Age and its excesses. It narrates the story of Jay Gatsby and his obsession with the wealthy and beautiful Daisy Buchanan.

3. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

This novel, published in 1851, is one of the most famous works of American literature. It is a story of the whaling ship Pequod and its captain Ahab’s quest for revenge against the great white whale Moby-Dick.

4. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Narrated by the protagonist Holden Caulfield, this novel is a classic coming-of-age story that deals with themes of rebellion, alienation, and loss of innocence.

5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

This novel, published in 1884, is an American classic that has been banned several times due to its controversial language and themes. It is a novel about the adventures of Huck Finn and his friend Jim, a runaway slave.

6. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

This non-fiction book, published in 1854, is a reflection on the author’s two years of living in solitude in a cabin near Walden Pond. It is a masterpiece of American transcendentalism.

7. Beloved by Toni Morrison

This novel, published in 1987, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. It is a hauntingly beautiful story of a former slave named Sethe and her struggle with the trauma of slavery and racism.

8. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

This novel, published in 1929, is a complex and experimental work of modernist literature. It tells the story of the Compson family and their gradual decline over the years.

9. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

This novel, published in 1926, is a novel about the “Lost Generation” after World War I. It narrates the story of a group of American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls.

10. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Set in Puritan New England in the mid-17th century, this novel is a powerful exploration of sin, guilt, and redemption. It tells the story of Hester Prynne, who is condemned for adultery and forced to wear a scarlet “A” on her chest.


These ten books are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to American classics. There are so many more novels, plays, and poetry collections that every book lover should read. Whether you are new to American literature or a seasoned veteran, the books on this list are sure to leave you inspired and entertained. So why wait? Start exploring the rich literary tradition of the United States today!

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100 American Classic Books That You Should Read at Least Once