10 Authors Every American Should Read

Sunday I did a shallow dive into the top 3 American Authors I think everyone should read on Facebook Live. It was fun. It was brief. And it was a great way to celebrate Independence Day within a pretty literate community.

If you missed it because you were celebrating freedom with your friends and family, fret not. Here it is.

Like I promised at the end of the Facebook Live, I wanted to share more must-read American Authors, so right here, right now, this is where we're going to do just that.

My thoughts and observations have not changed on my {personal} Top 3 American Authors I Think You Should Read. But let's face it. There are SO. MANY. MORE. Below are my {personal} top 3 PLUS 7 more collected from our Pretty Literate Community. Enjoy!

1. Ray Bradbury

  • regarded as one of the most important writers in the development of sci-fi as a genre
  • Elton John's Rocket Man was based on Bradbury's story Rocket Man (in other words, a very influential writer)
  • Steven Spielburg acknowledges he was a key inspiration for his sci-fi films

2. Harriet Beecher Stowe

  • published more than 30 books, the most popular being Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • believed actions make a difference
  • President Lincoln is quoted as saying of Ms. Stowe, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War." (the Civil War)

3. Edith Wharton

  • 1st female to win the Pulitzer Prize (1921)
  • wrote 40 books in 40 years in a variety of genres
  • insider knowledge of upper class NYC society in the Gilded Age

4. Louisa May Alcott

  • an abolitionist whose childhood home was a stop in the Underground Railroad
  • early American feminist and the first to register to vote in her Massachusettes town
  • her character Jo March inspired other female writers (like Helen Keller & J.K. Rowling)

5. Louis L'Amour

  • He was one of us, for he read approximately 100 books every year!
  • He led an uncommon life - a lumberjack, elephant handler, professional boxer, seaman, cattleman, miner, and soldier (WW2) - all of which influenced and inspired his writing.
  • He wrote 100 novels, over 250 short stories, and two full-length works of non-fiction - over 40 of which have been adapted for TV and film!

6. Stephen King

  • writer of more than horror (fantasy, crime/thriller, sci-fi, westerns, & non-fiction)
  • good vs. evil writing style
  • writes in a way that easily lets you slip into the place of a character and wonder how you would react in a similar situation

7. Mark Twain

  • deeply admired by other influential writers (like Hemmingway)
  • the greatest social critic & humorist of his time
  • controversial in his day, he remains so now because of his honest portrayal of life, friendship, social classes, and the like

8. Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • President Franklin Pierce was a personal friend from college.
  • His early novels were self-published.
  • He wrote about hypocrisy and the effects of guilt and sin.

9. Ernest Hemmingway

  • politically incorrect
  • shared life as he saw it
  • Nobel Prize Winning Author in 1954

10. Larry McMurtry

  • Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist (Lonesome Dove)
  • adaptations of his works have been nominated for 34 Oscars (13 of which won!)
  • collector of rare books (which makes him one of us - but on maybe a larger scale)

Who would you consider a must-read American Author? Share your top contenders in the comments.

1 comment

  • Thank you for all of the suggestions above. I have read some of the authors. I look forward to reading more novels from the recommendations.

    Amy O

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