My Top Ten Great American Novels by Pru Weber
As an English literature teacher, I – surprise! – have a great love for English literature. When I say English literature, I don’t mean literature written exclusively by British authors. Although I do love Shakespeare, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen (the list goes on and on), I’m more a fan of American literature. Schools should really start using the term American literature in my opinion. That’s a bit of a long-winded introduction, but I wanted to let you know why my list of top ten novels are all ‘American’ novels. Who doesn’t love the ‘Great American’ novel?
So, without further ado, here are my top ten great American novels in no particular order.
Little Women. No list of great American novels can be complete without Louisa May Alcott’s coming-of-age story of the March sisters. I’m sure I’ve read this novel dozens of times. My paperback copy is coming apart at the seams.
The Grapes of Wrath. John Steinbeck’s writing is genius in its simplicity. He immerses the reader in the times and troubles of the Great Depression and the dust bowl with this novel. It’s as fascinating as it is heartbreaking. Another novel I’ve read numerous times.
Go Tell It on The Mountain. This semi-autobiographical novel by James Baldwin opened my eyes to how people of other ethnicities and socio-economic levels live. Reading this story while attending a mostly white high school was nothing short of lifechanging. I make my students read it for the same reason.
The Good Earth. No one said the great American novel had to be set in the U.S. This novel by Pearl S. Buck dramatizes family life in a Chinese village. I think my desire to visit China started when I read this book in high school.
Fahrenheit 451. I’ve always been fascinated by the lives of Germans up to the start of Second World War. If I close my eyes, I can see pictures of massive piles of books burning. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury tells the tale of what it’s like to live in a society where books are banned, and firemen burn any books they find. It’s an important reminder of how fragile our society can be. And how books are precious!
My Antonia. I didn’t read this classic from Willa Cather until recently. A disgrace, I know. I didn’t expect to like it. What do I have in common with pioneers in Nebraska at the end of the 19th Century? But Cather brings the American West to life and makes it downright fascinating.
The Color Purple. Alice Walker’s novel is not an easy read. It can be violent and upsetting. But it shouldn’t be banned. It should be cherished as a novel telling the tale of the lives of African-American women in the Southern United States. These voices need to be heard.
Beloved. Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel is another story, which is not easy to read. Perhaps the best literature is not easy to read? The story of the former slave, Sethe, and the haunting she endures is as touching as it is disturbing.
To Kill A Mockingbird. Racial injustice and the destruction of innocence take center stage in Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Lee also addresses issues of class and gender roles in the Deep South. This is another book often the subject of campaigns for removal from public classrooms, but with its lessons in tolerance, it deserves a place in the teaching curriculum.
The Great Gatsby. This is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece. Set in the Roaring Twenties, Fitzgerald explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change and social upheaval. Although the novel is set nearly a century ago, it remains relevant today as we fight with change and ever-increasing social unrest.
There are literally hundreds more great American novels, but these are my top ten favorite Great American novels.
Hide Not Seek (The Not So Reluctant Detectives) by D.E. Haggerty
About the Book
Cozy Mystery/Romance/Humor 3rd in Series
Independently Published (April 18, 2019)
Print Length: 183 pages
I know who you really are.
Pru has a secret, which she has no plans to reveal - ever. But after a woman is murdered and all clues point to her, she has no choice but to disclose her true identity. When her revelations help thwart the killer's plan to frame Pru for the murder, the killer begins stalking her. With each note he sends, he gets closer. The police are stumped. Pru wants to run away. She really, really wants to run, but Ajax has found the woman of his dreams and he's not letting her go anywhere. He can be patient. In the meantime, he'll protect her with his life. Pru isn't feeling very patient, and her friends, Mel and Terri, are definitely not willing to wait until the police uncover who the stalker is. The three friends take matters into their own hands and jump headfirst into the investigation.
Will Pru and her friends uncover her stalker before he turns his violence on Pru?
About the Author
I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom's Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn't flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic before returning to the law. But practicing law really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out running a B&B wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where, in between tennis matches and failing to save the world, I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.
Hide Not Seek is my fifteenth novel.
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/D.E.-Haggerty/e/B00ECQBURU/
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