Happy Birthday, America!

In honor of July 4th weekend, a patriotic question:

What is your favorite Great American Novel? 

While it’s not my favorite book, I’d say The Great Gatsby because that’s always the first book I think of when I hear that phrase.

Have a good, long weekend everyone!


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18 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, America!

  1. I had to read Grapes of Wrath in high school, and didn't like it, though I blame that on it being required reading, as opposed to my choice. However I loved Travels with Charley. I feel like you can't have an 'American' novel unless you end up traveling through a few dozen states in the process.

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  2. I’m not American, but when I think of the quintessential American novel, I think of Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Although it’s not stellar writing (some dismissed it as trite), I love the strong characters and historical accuracy.

    I love the long descriptive passages of the countryside, the people, and the fashions that bring the story to life. And, its themes still apply today: tragic romance; war, and its aftermath; racism; loyalty; and the haves and the have-nots, and how they react when they switch places.

    As for Scarlett O’Hara, I love that she was an “anti-heroine” of sorts. From the very first line (“Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it.”), she broke the mould of the conventional romance novel heroine. Scarlett is portrayed as selfish, shrewd and vain, but also strong, unconventional and, unwittingly, a feminist. She’s one of the most richly developed female characters in literature.

    I think it shows Americans at their best – optimistic, family-oriented, patriotic, and strong.

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  3. The Grapes of Wrath impacted how I saw the world when I read it as a teenager, so I'd have to say that.

    Isn't there a novel called “The Great American Novel”? A quick check suggests there is, but it probably doesn't live up to its name.

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  4. Sarah,

    I loved reading THE GRAPES OF WRATH – It was one incredible journey. I read it years ago, and still remember the vivid descriptions of the great Dust Bowl and the meager food cooked by the migrant farm workers. You have a really great read ahead of you. 🙂

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  5. Hmm, Breakfast of Champions? Although I never finished that one, the beginning was awesome. It's hard to think of a strictly “American” novel.

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