10 Authors Every American Should Read

Posted by Ericka Smith on

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.

Lover of Classic Lit? Then hop on over to get on the Waiting List for the upcoming Book Box. You'll have front-of-the-line access when we launch the upcoming book box this month!


Share this post



← Older Post Newer Post →


  • 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 on

Leave a comment