Our Favourite Books by American Authors

Gone With the Wind, Moby-Dick, Of Mice and Men... so many incredible classics and spellbinding stories were written by authors from the USA. See below for just some of our favourite books by American authors.

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1. Moby-Dick

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Herman Melville

This expansive feat of the imagination follows Captain Ahab and his reckless quest to kill Moby Dick, a giant white whale which had, on a previous voyage, bitten off Captain Ahab's leg at the knee. Ahab has sworn vengeance - at any cost. This epic story of fatal monomania, dark obsessions and the deepest dreams of mankind is simply a must-read for booklovers.




 

2. Of Mice and Men

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John Steinbeck

This stunning tear-jerker tells the story of two American drifters, the small, sharp George and his big, childlike friend, Lennie. Both are searching for work in the fields and valleys of California, dreaming that they'll find a place of their own one day and realise the American dream. But gentle giant Lennie doesn't know his own strength and lands himself in a lot of trouble, especially with the boss's daughter-in-law, 'Curley's wife'. It is up to George to protect his friend, but even he will struggle to save him. 1920s America is vividly brought to life in this gripping novel, which centrally features the unique friendship between two unforgettable characters.

 

3. The Great Gatsby

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F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby is set in the glittering world of 1920s New York. It follows Nick, who moves in next-door to the mysterious millionaire, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is the man who seems to have everything and he holds extravagant parties in his magnificent mansion to prove it, full of bright young things drinking and dancing - but Gatsby himself only ever seems to watch and wait. One thing will always be out of his reach, and soon, his secret longing will cause his whole world to unravel... This riveting read is riddled with romance, drama and tragedy, and features themes of materialistic excess, social upheaval, love and jealousy.

 

4. The Color Purple

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Alice Walker

Set in the American South between the wars, this haunting novel stars Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and persecution. Abused by the man she calls 'father', she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie, and is trapped in an ugly marriage. But then, Celie meets the glamorous Shug Avery, a singer and magic-maker, a woman who commands her own destiny. Celie will gradually uncover the power and joy of her own spirit, and will have the chance to free herself from the past and reunite with those she loves.

 

5. The Catcher in the Rye

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J. D. Salinger

Holden Caulfield, the cynical young protagonist of this engrossing novel, is driven by ambiguous angst and general misery. He ends up in a succession of challenging encounters with a prostitute, her pimp, an ex-girlfriend and a former teacher. This shocking and stirring story is a literary classic.





 

6. The Underground Railroad

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Colson Whitehead

Follow Cora and Caesar, slaves working on a cotton plantation in Georgia, as they embark on a daring escape through the Underground Railroad across America. Whitehead's imagining of its physical form sees it as a dilapidated box car pulled along by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can. Cora and Caesar must travel state by state, encountering a new world at every stop, trying to evade the slave-catcher on their heels. This book won the National Book Award 2016 for Fiction.


7. To Kill a Mockingbird

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Harper Lee

This inspiring and gripping story is told from the perspective of six-year-old Scout, who lives in the American Deep South. Her father, the lawyer Atticus Finch, is determined to defend a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman. Animosity and prejudice against Scout's family inevitably follow, and Scout soon comes to truly comprehend the magnitude of the injustice and racism present in her own hometown. Powerful and moving, this classic is a must-read.


 


8. A Wrinkle in Time

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Madeleine L'Engle

This much-loved science fiction novel follows the misfit siblings Meg and Charles. Worried about her missing father and performing poorly at school, Meg struggles with everything that seems wrong with her life, but then events start to take a mysterious turn. Together with Charles and her friend Calvin, she comes across a gap in time through which she embarks on a thrilling and perilous adventure.

 


9. Revolutionary Road

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Richard Yates

An instant classic upon publication in 1961, this is the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright and beautiful couple who dream of more than their hollow suburban lifestyle. Bored and frustrated, they decide to move to Paris, but this plan quickly starts to crumble apart - especially when April conceives the couple's third child. This gripping page-turner will have readers hooked.




 

10. Gone With the Wind

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Margaret Mitchell

Set against the tumultuous background of the American Civil War, this glorious historical epic is an unforgettable story of love, loss, a nation divided and a people forever changed. But above all, it is the story of the ruthless and beautiful Scarlett O'Hara, and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler. This timeless tale will stay with you long after you turn the final page.