14 best books by American writers

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

American literature is younger, different. Therefore, for a long time it was not recognized as equal to other classics, and American writers were considered jesters without a past. But during their short history, they have presented the world with many worthy works. American writers have taken a well-deserved place among the gold funds of literature. We joined the ranks of the classics. In our ranking, we want to introduce you to the best works of American writers. We offer novels in a variety of genres, including classics and modern books. In the list you will find horror, realism, drama, fantasy, dystopia. Each of the works has taken a high place in world and American literature. Enjoy reading.

Rating of the best books by American writers

Nomination a place composition rating
Rating of the best books by American writers 1 'Martin Eden', Jack London 5.0
2 'Phantoms' by Dean Koontz 4.9
3 'John Dies in the Finals' by David Wong 4.8
4 'Moby Dick', Herman Melville 4.7
5 To Kill a Mockingbird by Nell Harper Lee 4.6
6 Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 4.5
7 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 4.4
8 'Call Me By Your Name', Andre Asimene 4.4
9 'The Trilogy of Desire' by Theodore Dreiser 4.4
10 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 4.3
11 The Catcher in the Rye by Jerome D. Salinger 4.2
12 'Farewell to Arms!' By Ernest Hemingway 4.2
13 'Cat's Cradle' by Kurt Vonnegut 4.1
14 'Dear Step-Brother', Penelope Ward 4.0

'Martin Eden', Jack London

Book rating: 5.0

'Martin Eden', Jack London

The novel is partly autobiographical. London wrote about his own experiences, adding his own features to Martin Eden. He, like his hero, experienced first love, its torment, torment by hunger and poverty. He can be safely called a tester of various works, because whoever he had to be. There are many differences between Eden and London, but their story tells what it is like to be a commoner in high society.

Martin has been working all his life, he does not remember the moment when he did not. His main craft is shipping. He gets the money for the voyage, returns home, spends it, and again hires the ship. Eden comes out of the lower stratum of society, but beauty, creativity, books are not alien to him. He is interested in them, admires them. At the same time, he is far from the so-called high society.

Once Martin became closer to him when he saved Arthur's wealthy heir during a scuffle. The latter, in gratitude and a little mockery, invited him to dine with his family. Arthur explained this by the fact that he wanted to thank his savior. At a dinner party, Martin feels out of place, for him it's a different light. But it is in him that he finds her, the pure, immaculate Rufa, his love. He has a new goal – to join this society, to become worthy of it. Life loves to punish those who try to go outside their circle. And Martin is waiting for the test of hunger, poverty, recognition, mental suffering, to come to a logical end.

'Phantoms' by Dean Koontz

Book rating: 4.9

'Phantoms' by Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz is rightfully considered one of the pillars of horror, in literary circles he is called the titan of this genre. His books have been translated into 38 languages, with a circulation of over 200 million. The author himself, living with his alcoholic father, gained experience on how to convey fear correctly. And, perhaps, it was his difficult childhood that became the key to future popularity. Koontz loves details in his works. Before creating a new novel, he must first study specialized literature on medicine and psychology.

Kunz is a master of his craft, but we recommend impressionable people to read it during the day. Phantoms cover one of the hardest themes in the horror genre – the disappearance of an entire city. In our time, you can find such real cases. Dean Koontz offers his story of the development of events. With him, we first find ourselves in everyday life.

Janey's older sister takes the younger Lisa to live with her after her mother's death. They are both looking forward to this return to the small town of Snowfield. They are a little scared, they are overwhelmed by excitement, but they are happy that they will soon find themselves at home in peace and quiet. When entering the town, the sisters feel that it is too quiet. But they do not pay attention to it, the light is on in the windows. In their own house, they find a corpse, then in search of people – a few more. The girls call the police from the county. And with their arrival, it becomes clear that some of the residents have disappeared, and some have died. The question is, what happened?

'John Dies in the Finals' by David Wong

Book rating: 4.8

'John Dies in the Finals' by David Wong

David Wong is the pseudonym for Jason Keyes Pargin. The author did not want to mix his work with real life. According to Jason himself, some of the stories from the book happened in real life. For a long time, the novel was free and distributed on the Internet, but in 2007 it was noticed and officially published.

The book was well received, critics gave it a high rating. And in 2012, the work was filmed. A peculiar genre – comedy horrors. At first glance, this is not entirely logical. But this is the main feature of the book: it is easier to list what is not in it than what is. 'John Dies in the End' is a book that uses references to famous legends and myths. It mixes everyday life, mysticism, some horror and psychedelics.

We travel through the book with two main characters, David and John. There is no seriousness in their life, they like to drink, walk, have fun. At one of the parties, the drug 'soy sauce' awaits them. He will open before them a new world, which they have never met before. Demons and their servants, revived corpses. David and John suddenly find themselves between worlds. They do not yearn to be heroes and sleep the world from the appearance of Korrok. The eternally tortured David is accompanied by the joker John. It remains only to check, after reading the book, but will he really die in the finale?

'Moby Dick', Herman Melville

Book rating: 4.7

'Moby Dick', Herman Melville

Herman Melville tried to draw on his own experience in his books. He did the same when writing 'Moby Dick'. As a basis, the American writer took his own experience of working as a cabin boy on a ship and a real story about whale hunting on the ship 'Essex'. The only thing that in terms of the genre Melville has moved away from the usual realism. In Moby Dick, he added irrationality. The book was not recognized for a long time. It was written in 1861 and only became popular in the 1920s. The work describes many professional moments: how to hunt whales, what weapons should be used, and so on.

Moby Dick or White Whale – that was the name of the sperm whale, which no vessel could harpoon. You can hunt for him day and night, but he will still break out of the nets. Many captains dreamed of taking revenge on him and planting him on a harpoon. The young American Ishmael was unaware of this story. He only needs money, and so he decided to hire a sailor. Fate tied Ishmael with the Pequod ship. The albino whale deprived Captain Ahab of his legs, and therefore catching Moby Dick became the goal of his life. Only now everything around them told them: leave this venture. But for three days the heroes fought: first the sailors attacked, the whale broke free, then he began to attack in order to end their long dispute.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Nell Harper Lee

Book rating: 4.6

To Kill a Mockingbird by Nell Harper Lee

Date of publication – 1960. Harper Lee herself did not expect that someone would appreciate her work, all the more so highly. She just wanted someone to give her an impetus to write on. As a result, the book became a success.

In 1961, To Kill a Mockingbird won the Pulitzer Prize. Its circulation is 30 million copies, it is included in many gold collections of literature. In the US, 80% of the population has become familiar with it. The book is still considered one of the world's bestsellers today. The story is based on Harper Lee's childhood memories. The prototype of one of the main characters is her father.

In the center of the plot are the Finch family: father Atticus, son Jim and daughter Jean. They live a simple life, the head of the family works as a lawyer. They live in a small town in Alabama. It's quiet and calm, the only oddity is the Radley family home. There lives a man who never goes out. The kids call him the Scarecrow and try to lure him out. He does not give in, and therefore the children will come up with different stories about him. The 'Scarecrow' sometimes leaves them surprises, but never shows himself. At the same time, a loud scandal is taking place in the city: Negro Tom Robinson is accused of raping a white woman. Atticus Finch is appointed his lawyer and believes that his charge is innocent. The city took up arms against them, but everything will be decided by the court.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Book rating: 4.5

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Gone With the Wind is considered one of the bestsellers in American and world literature. Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for her book. Over time, the novel was filmed. In six months after the first edition, more than a million copies were sold. The plot is based on observations of a family from high society during the war of the North and South in the United States. The book is divided into three main points: events before the war, during and after it.

The main character Scarlett is a young 16-year-old girl. She does not know what poverty is, she wants to arrange her life further. Scarlett falls in love with Mr. Ashley and is ready to confess her love to him, to secretly marry. He, too, is not indifferent to her, but he gave his word to another and cannot break it. The girl is upset and, in spite of her lover, marries Charlie Hamilton.

Everything should be fine, but war comes. Her husband dies at the front. She rushes to Atlanta to visit relatives in the hope of meeting Ashley there. But war comes there too. And Scarlett returns to Tara's home. Her mother died, and the girl became the head of the family, and the war continued. The Yankees are advancing, dictating their own rules. The family is trying to survive. The war ends, Ashley returns, but the world dictates different rules to the losers.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Book rating: 4.4

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury is the man who showed the world that science fiction is fun. 'Fahrenheit 451' is a book from the work of an American writer that is recommended for everyone to read. In it, he concludes his thoughts on the topic of the future: what awaits the book, what awaits people. In the work, Bradbury emphasizes his fears about the mass media – how it fills the world, while killing everything of value in society and people. The Prometheus Award has included the novel in its Hall of Fame. In 2004 he was given the Hugo Award. On the basis of the book, a word game was created, which serves as its continuation, a play was staged and a radio show was recorded.

Guy Montag is an ordinary firefighter, he goes to work every day and burns books. This is his job. Because today the book is a stronghold of wrong thoughts, which can not affect society in such a way. And the only way to fight is to burn them all. Guy meets a young girl named Clarissa. She talks about her hobbies for nature, communication, the opportunity to speak openly about her feelings. Montag is scared at first. But later he begins to understand that there is something else beyond his world. One day at work, he saves a book and hides it. He thinks about her, tries to figure it out, skips work, turns to his wife for help.

'Call Me by Your Name', Andre Asimene

Book rating: 4.4

'Call Me by Your Name', Andre Asimene

An American novel published in 2007. “An Exceptionally Beautiful Book” – as it was named in a New York Times review. The work received almost no negative reviews. Everyone who reviewed her unanimously noted the subtlety of the description, the gentle transmission of passion and all the splendor with which the love and tenderness of the heroes are conveyed. The film adaptation of the novel won an Oscar. Not without literary prizes: the novel 'Call me by your name' received 'Lambda'.

The story is told from the perspective of one of the main characters, Elio Perlman. He recalls his youth in Italy. Every summer a doctoral student came to them to help his father with scientific work. Elio didn’t like the guests, because they occupied his room every time. This time, in the year Elio turned 17, Oliver came to their house. He is the complete opposite of a boy: sociable, smiling.

And Elio, in turn, is very educated for his age. He tries to make friends with Oliver, feeling some kind of connection between them. Pearlman feels a kinship with the guest and wants to get closer to him, especially when he finds out that they are both Jews. His feelings grow into something big. Elio is tormented by doubts and fears that Oliver will reject him. Their first kiss awakens new feelings in both. To emphasize closeness, they call each other by their proper names. But life does not stand still, and the summer ends.

'The Trilogy of Desire' by Theodore Dreiser

Book rating: 4.4

'The Trilogy of Desire' by Theodore Dreiser

American writer Theodore Dreiser is a realist by nature. He loved small details, so in his books he described all the features of everyday life, behavior, transactions of people. Someone calls his style not artistic, others consider the writer great, because he was able to combine reliable facts with real drama.

The 'Trilogy of Desire' includes three novels: 'The Financier', 'Titan', 'Stoic'. The prototype of the main character is millionaire Charles Yerkes. He is known for his machinations. In the trilogy, Dreiser reveals in detail all the features of the world of finance at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Each of the books is a separate period in the life of the protagonist in different cities.

In the center of the plot is Frank Cowperwood. He comes from a family of a modest banker from Philadelphia. While still young, he earned the reputation of a famous financier. Frank is happily married with children. But this is not enough for him, Cowperwood wants more. Therefore, he arranges a lot of shenanigans to increase the amount in the bank account. In parallel, the financier falls in love with Eileen, the daughter of an influential contractor. Further in the story, Frank is waiting for Chicago, the center of the US finance. Here he joins the transport network as the best opportunity to make money. And he meets her, young beautiful Berenice. But high society is cruel and he has to move to London.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Book rating: 4.3

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Steinbeck planned to finish the novel quickly. But instead he worked on it for several more years. He attended many seasonal camps. And I was horrified by the fact that in fact they were not employed by foreigners, but by people from other, less wealthy states. Based on their stories, the author wrote the novel 'Grapes of Wrath'. For him, John Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize. Due to the presence of harsh words in the text, the book was banned several times. But the work still belongs to the gold fund of American literature. In 1940, a film adaptation of the book appeared. It quite clearly reflects the events in it. Only the ending is significantly different.

In California, we travel with the Oki Jude family, so called from the state of Oklahoma. In the United States, now the period of the “Great Depression”, it is not profitable for banks to lease land to farmers, it is cheaper to use a tractor. Many families are starving and heading to find a better life in a state with green lawns, as promised on the flyers. The Jodes are looking for a camp in a truck where they will not only find shelter, but also work. Almost at the goal they are disappointed: they meet workers who return home. They tell them that they can only dream of a good life. In fact, there are many people in California, the locals do not accept them, there is no food, the wages are low. But Tom Jode and his family have no choice but to hope to find at least something to survive.

The Catcher in the Rye by Jerome D. Salinger

Book rating: 4.2

The Catcher in the Rye by Jerome D. Salinger

The book 'Catcher in the Rye' received recognition almost immediately after it was published. Young people fell in love with her, representatives of the older generation became interested in her. Due to difficult psychological moments and rude words in the text, it is prohibited in some schools.

But the bans did not put Time magazine in 2005 to include it in the list of the 100 Greatest Books in English. Publishing House Modern Library included it in the list of the '100 best novels in English in the 20th century'. Salinger himself is reflected a lot in the novel. Before us, he appears in two moments – as part of the main character and as a prototype of the older brother, which the writer spoke about in the book. Events from the life of the author and his preferences partially coincide.

Holden Caulfield is a 17-year-old boy. He is smart, has earned the place of captain of the fencing team, outwardly quite handsome. At first glance, an interesting young man. Everything is not so simple: he is not changing the first school, and he is truly sick of everything that happens in the new educational institution and in society as a whole. Holden would love to be off the beaten path by the river. And he decides, runs away from school, takes all the money that he has, and goes to his native New York. The boy does this in order to live the way he wants. The only question is whether he can reconcile himself with the world.

'Farewell to Arms!' By Ernest Hemingway

Book rating: 4.2

'Farewell to Arms!' By Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway, like many American writers of the 20th century, loved to orient himself in his work to real events and personal experience. According to some reports, the protagonist is Farewell to Arms! he copied from himself. The only thing that is known for sure is that the events from the novel partially took place in life. Like the character in his work, Hemingway was wounded during the war, sent to Milan for treatment, and there he had an affair with a local nurse. The book tells about the horrors of the First World War, about how people behaved and how events influenced them. There are already two film adaptations of the work in cinema. The 1932 film won two Oscars.

Frederick Henry is a responsible young man from the United States. He volunteered for the Italian-Austrian front and commanded a medical brigade. A debt to his homeland burned inside him, and he could not stay away from such an event. Henry saw before him pride, honor, glory. Shortly before the offensive, Nurse Catherine was transferred to their camp. She is a beauty, her fiancé died in the war, so the girl quickly interested men. Henry liked her too, but did not evoke strong feelings in him. After the offensive, Frederic was wounded, so he was sent to Milan for treatment. There he looked forward to Kathleen's arrival. The man discovered new feelings and realized what the meaninglessness of war is.

'Cat's Cradle' by Kurt Vonnegut

Book rating: 4.1

'Cat's Cradle' by Kurt Vonnegut

'Cat's Cradle' brought world fame to Kurt Vonnegut. For this book, he received the Hugo Award, the highest award among US science fiction writers. The department of anthropology at the University of Chicago liked the novel so much that in 1971 they gave Vonnegut a master's degree, although already in 1947, teachers failed his dissertation. The author himself, when evaluating a work, considers it the most successful, giving it the maximum assessment. Based on the book, two plays have been staged. As in other novels, in The Cradle, Vonnegut emphasizes the central theme of the responsibility of scientists for their inventions, especially those that touch on environmental issues.

The story itself is led by a certain author who is interested in a book about the end of the world. Therefore, he collects information about scientists around the world who created the atomic bomb. Among them, the central place for the seeker is Felix Honikker. He is also called the 'father of the atomic bomb'. The seeker turns to the children of Honikker for information. And, to his surprise, he discovers that there is an invention in the world worse than the atomic bomb. It's called Ice Nine. Among its capabilities is the rapid assimilation of all the water around, around the world. It almost instantly turns into substance itself and freezes. It can only be melted at 45.8 degrees.

'Dear Step-Brother', Penelope Ward

Book rating: 4.0

'Dear Step-Brother', Penelope Ward

Penelope Ward is an American writer who has conquered the world of literature more than once. Her works were recognized by the New York Times, calling them bestsellers. Much that can be found in her books, Ward personally experienced or took an image from her life. Often the prototypes of her heroes were close people, for example, a daughter who has autism. The essence of Penelope Ward's novels is to show all kinds of relationships. Not only from the side of one hero, but also from the side of his partner. Thus, it allows the goal to build a picture of what is happening. And the reader can understand all the feelings of the characters, their interaction with each other.

The girl Greta lived with her mother and stepfather. Everything was fine, everyone is happy. One day a boy suddenly appears in the house, impudent and unbearable. This is Elek – the son of Greta's stepfather from his first marriage. Now the communication of children looks as if they want to bring each other or kill each other every minute. But over time everything changes, they find close people and understanding in each other. The problem is that, due to their age, it is difficult for them to define their feelings. Elec will soon leave Greta's house as abruptly as he once appeared. Years pass, and family tragedy brings them together again. She gives them a new opportunity to meet, understand themselves, their feelings and be together.


Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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