Sunday, 11 July 2010

Reading Challenge: Great American Novels

I set up a reading challenge for myself. I realised that I've been reading a lot of British classical novels, but I never tackled American classics, which is a shame. I have read many books written by American authors, but very few American classics. So, I made a list of 20 great American novels that I haven't read yet, but want to. A few of the books are not on my list because I made sure all of the books are available in our local library. I don't want to buy these novels, I just want to read them first, and if some of them really impress me, I'll buy them afterwards. I have to read these 20 novels between August 2010 and August 2011, which gives me a year to complete the challenge. Fair and square.

Here is the list of these 20 novels, in no particular chronological oR alphabetical order:
1. Edith Wharton: The Age of Innocence
2. Henry James: The Turn of the Screw
3. Ernest Hemingway: For Whom the Bell Tolls
4. Ernest Hemingway: The Old Man and the Sea
5. John Steinbeck: East of Eden
6. John Steinbeck: Grapes of Wrath
7. John Steinbeck: Of Mice and Men
8. Richard Yates: Revolutionary Road
9. Nathaniel Hawthorne: The House of the Seven Gables
10. William Faulkner: As I Lay Dying
11. William Faulkner: Light in August
12. Truman Capote: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
13. Truman Capote: In Cold Blood
14. Alice Walker: The Color Purple
15. Vladimir Nabokov: Lolita
16. Toni Morrison: Beloved
17. Kate Chopin: The Awakening
18. Louisa May Alcott: Little Women
19. James Jones: From Here to Eternity
20. Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird

Books that I wanted to include on the list, but are not available in our library (maybe some other time):
1. Edith Wharton: The House of Mirth
2. Edith Wharton: Ethan Frome
3. William Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury
4. Eudora Welty: The Optimist's Daughter
5. Richard Wright: Native Son
6. Robert Penn Warren: All the King's Men
7. Zora Neale Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God
8. Willa Cather: My Antonia

American classics that I HAVE read (beware, because there are really few of them and I am ashamed of it, hehe):
1. Henry James: The Golden Bowl
2. Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter
3. J.D. Sallinger: The Catcher in the Rye
4. Ken Kesey: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
5. F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
6. Mark Twain: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
7. Edgar Allan Poe: Tales of Grotesque and Arabesque (Hey, it counts!)

What do you think?


Katy said...

Looks like a fun personal challenge! I'll be looking forward to seeing how you liked these--I've read a few, but it's been a long time for some of them. :)

Super Librarian said...

What a great idea! I love American literature. I read several of those books as an English major, but there are still many I haven't read yet. I look forward to hearing how your challenge goes and what you think of the classic novels!

Mary Simonsen said...

I'd move To Kill A Mockingbird to the top of the list. I hope that Tell Tale Heart was in the Poe collection, b/c it is one of his best. If you'd like a little Southern humor, you should read Walking Across Egypt, and if you have any interest in the American West, you must read Lonesome Dove. That is the one book I would take to a desert island.
P.S. Ethan Frome is truly depressing.

Milka said...

Great challenge. I have some of the books from your list at my book shelf, but I think that Little Women is the only one I have actually read.
I am going to get to Kill a Mockingbird from the library probably next week. I really want to read it since I have heard great things about it, and I am watching Pretty Little Liars TV show where they read the book at their English class and it caught my attention that way.

Ordinary Reader said...

Your list of American classics to read is very familiar. Almost all of them are either on my tbr or I've read them this year. Growing up Canadian, my education emphasized English literature, so I never became familiar with American books, but I am determined to right that wrong now. I found Willa Cather and Edith Wharton this year and I love them both. Hemingway is amazing. I've read three of his and look forward to reading the rest. Faulkner, Steinbeck and Capote are all coming up soon on my list. To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the best books ever written. You will love it!

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Thank you all for your comments, as well as recommendations!