america The Greatest American Novels  

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List Rules Top fiction books written by American authors

List of some of the best American novels from classic writers, like Nathaniel Hawthorne, to more modern names, like Stephen King, with room for the list to grow. There is an option to add your favorite American novels to the list if yours is not already on there.

The list asks the question, "What is the best American novel?" with novels from William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Philip Roth and Nathaniel Hawthorne, plus many more that have written great American novels since then. More modern American novels are included, such as The Road by Cormac McCarthy and The Stand by Stephen King, which may be more familiar.

American novels can represent the spirit of the age in the United States during the time it was written or the time it was set in. The American novel is written by those who are knowledgeable about the state, culture and even the perspective of those during that time.

Some of these best American novels may have also been on the reading curriculum in school, like Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien or To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Be sure to vote not just on your favorite authors, but on your favorite novel of all time, as some authors may be listed twice for other novels that are considered the best.

1
731 251
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest American Novels

2
645 250
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

3
557 207
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

4
580 168
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest American Novels

5
382 191
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest American Novels
JeremyEbbink added Moby-Dick; or, The Whale Herman Melville

6
452 253
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger

7
404 141
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mark Twain

8
338 160
The Call of the Wild is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added The Call of the Wild Jack London

9
403 120
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest American Novels
bjr24 added Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

10
504 125
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck

11
323 164
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

12
280 105
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Catch-22 Joseph Heller

13
228 135
The Sound and the Fury is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner

14
251 109
The Sun Also Rises is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway

Famous Schizophrenics

15
234 106
For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway

16
274 107
Little Women is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Little Women Louisa May Alcott

17
345 154
The Old Man and the Sea is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway

18
198 106
Invisible Man is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison

19
260 106
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest American Novels
but chickens double d added The Outsiders S. E. Hinton

20
301 87
East of Eden is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Arthur Williams added East of Eden John Steinbeck

21
317 102
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

The Best Absurdist Fiction Novels

22
330 172
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell

23
196 139
The Road is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Road Cormac McCarthy

24
182 91
The Red Badge of Courage is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Red Badge of Courage Stephen Crane

25
246 104
A Farewell to Arms is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest American Novels
A Farewell to Arms Ernest Hemingway

26
159 108
As I Lay Dying is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest American Novels
As I Lay Dying William Faulkner

27
171 122
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest American Novels

28
145 62
Cannery Row is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest American Novels
ryanmcw added Cannery Row John Steinbeck

The Best Novelists of All Time

29
152 113
The Bell Jar is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

30
167 130
On the Road is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest American Novels
On the Road Jack Kerouac

31
166 89
The Jungle is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Jungle Upton Sinclair, Jr.

32
93 30
Where the Red Fern Grows is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Joleen Soule added Where the Red Fern Grows Wilson Rawls

33
151 83
The Last of the Mohicans is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest American Novels
looksharp added The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper

34
95 67
A Connecticut Yankee in King A... is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest American Novels

35
176 111
Uncle Tom's Cabin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Best Overall Books for Kids

36
110 57
White Fang is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest American Novels
White Fang Jack London

37
239 96
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest American Novels

38
137 95
Their Eyes Were Watching God is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston

39
123 78
The Help is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest American Novels
jdsanders added The Help Kathryn Stockett

40
145 103
Beloved is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Beloved Toni Morrison

41
107 70
Lolita is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Lolita Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

42
81 46
The Prince and the Pauper is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Jonathan Pierce added The Prince and the Pauper Mark Twain

Harry Potter Book Covers From Asia Cooler Than Any Talking Portrait

43
198 165
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest American Novels
The Stand Stephen King

44
88 90
The Portrait of a Lady is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest American Novels
ryanmcw added The Portrait of a Lady Henry James

45
84 54
Breakfast of Champions is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Breakfast of Champions Kurt Vonnegut

46
75 45
No Country for Old Men is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest American Novels
No Country for Old Men Cormac McCarthy

47
125 99
Do Androids Dream of Electric ... is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest American Novels

48
126 101
Sophie's Choice is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest American Novels
Sophie's Choice William Styron

49
106 121
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest American Novels
bjr24 added Jurassic Park Michael Crichton

50
115 89
Misery is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest American Novels
jdsanders added Misery Stephen King