The Best American Novels of the Twentieth Century Still Readable Today

Eleanor Gehres’ book, first published in 2001, gives a fairly conventional and old-fashioned view of the American 20th century novel, aimed more at the book club crowd rather than me. This is not the place to look for Vollmann or David Foster Wallace. Interestingly enough, many of these are better known as films rather than novels. Order is chronological. And when did A J Cronin become American?

Jack London: The Call of the Wild
Mary Roberts Rinehart: The Circular Staircase
Upton Sinclair: The Jungle
Gene Stratton Porter: A Girl of the Limberlost
Owen Wister: The Virginian
Sherwood Anderson: Winesburg, Ohio
Zane Grey: Riders of the Purple Sage
Ring Lardner: You Know Me Al
Booth Tarkington: The Magnificent Ambersons
Louis Bromfield: Early Autumn: A Story of a Lady
Willa Cather: Death Comes for the Archbishop
Theodore Dreiser: An American Tragedy
Edna Ferber: So Big
F Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
Will James: Smoky, the Cowhorse
Sinclair Lewis: Babbitt
Don Marquis: Archy and Mehitabel
William Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury
B Traven: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Edith Wharton: The Age of Innocence
Thornton Wilder: The Bridge of San Luis Rey
Thomas Wolfe: Look Homeward, Angel
Hervey Allen: Anthony Adverse
Pearl Buck: The Good Earth
James M Cain: The Postman Always Rings Twice
Erskine Caldwell: Tobacco Road
Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep
John Dos Passos: USA Trilogy
Walter Dumaux Edmonds: Drums Along the Mohawk
James T Farrell: Studs Lonigan Trilogy
Ellen Glasgow: Vein of Iron
Dashiel Hammett: The Maltese Falcon
James Hilton: Lost Horizon
John P Marquand: The Late George Apley
Margaret Mitchell: Gone with the Wind
Christopher Morley: Kitty Foyle
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: The Yearling
Kenneth Roberts: Northwest Passage
John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
Nathaniel West: The Day of the Locust
Nelson Algren: The Man with the Golden Arm
Henry Bellamann: Kings Row
Taylor Caldwell: This Side of Innocence
Walter van Tilburg Clark: The Ox-Bow Incident
A J Cronin: The Keys of the Kingdom
Lloyd C Douglas: The Robe
A B Guthrie: The Big Sky
Ernest Hemingway: For Whom the Bell Tolls
John Hersey: A Bell for Adano
Laura Z Hobson: Gentleman’s Agreement
Eric Hodgins: Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
Ross Lockridge: Raintree County
Carson McCullers: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Norman Mailer: The Naked and the Dead
James Michener: Tales of the South Pacific
Ayn Rand: The Fountainhead
William Saroyan: The Human Comedy
Jack Schaefer: Shane
Budd Schulberg: What Makes Sammy Run?
Irwin Shaw: The Young Lions
Betty Smith: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Lillian Smith: Strange Fruit
Robert Penn Warren: All the King’s Men
Frank Waters: The Man Who Killed the Deer
Eudora Welty: Delta Wedding
James Agee: A Death in the Family
James Baldwin: Go Tell It on the Mountain
Saul Bellow: Seize the Day
Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451
Truman Capote: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
John Cheever: The Wapshot Chronicle
James Could Cozzens: By Love Possessed
Allen Drury: Advise and Consent
Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man
Richard Wright: Native Son
Evan Hunter: The Blackboard Jungle
Mac Hyman: No Time for Sergeants
James Jones: From Here to Eternity
MacKinlay Kantor: Andersonville
Jack Kerouac: On the Road
John Knowles: A Separate Peace
Grace Metalious: Peyton Place
Vladimir Nabokov: Lolita
Edwin O’Connor: The Last Hurrah
John O’Hara: Ten North Frederick
Conrad Richter: The Light in the Forest
J D Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye
Leon Uris: Exodus
Sloan Wilson: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Herman Wouk: The Caine Mutiny
Louis Auchincloss: The Rector of Justin
Thomas Berger: Little Big Man
Richard Bradford: Red Sky at Morning
Richard Brautigan: Trout Fishing in America
Vardis Fisher: Mountain Man
Hannah Green: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
Robert Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land
Joseph Heller: Catch-22
Bel Kaufman: Up the Down Staircase
Ken Kesey: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird
Bernard Malamud: The Fixer
Mary McCarthy: The Group
Henry Miller: Tropic of Cancer
Joyce Carol Oates: Them
Walker Percy: The Moviegoer
Katherine Anne Porter: Ship of Fools
Charles Portis: True Grit
Chaim Potok: The Chosen
Mario Puzo: The Godfather
Philip Roth: Portnoy’s COmplaint
Irving Stone: The Agony and the Ecstasy
William Styron: The Confessions of Nat Turner
John Updike: Rabbit, Run
Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse Five
Edward Abbey: The Monkey Wrench Gang
James Clavell: Shogun
Pat Conroy: The Great Santini
Margaret Craven: I Heard the Owl Call My Name
James Dickey: Deliverance
E L Doctorow: Ragtime
John Gardner: Nickel Mountain
John Irving: The World According to Garp
Jerzy Kosinski: Being There
John Treadwell Nichols: The Milagro Beanfield War
Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar
Tom Robbins: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Michael Shaara: The Killer Angels
Wallace Stegner: Angle of Repose
Gore Vidal: Burr
James Webb: Fields of Fire
Tom Clancy: The Hunt for Red October
William Kennedy: Ironweed
Larry McMurtry: Lonesome Dove
Toni Morrison: Beloved
Helen Santmyer: And the Ladies of the Club
Amy Tan: The Joy Luck Club
John Kennedy Toole: A Confederacy of Dunces
Anne Tyler: The Accidental Tourist
Alice Walker: The Color Purple
Tom Wolfe: The Bonfire of the Vanities
Caleb Carr: The Alienist
Don DeLillo: Underworld
Charles Frazier: Cold Mountain
David Guterson: Snow Falling on Cedars
Barbara Kingsolver: Pigs in Heaven
Annie Proulx: The Shipping News
Carol Shields: The Stone Diaries
Jane Smiley: A Thousand Acres
Erich Segal: Love Story
Richard Bach: Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Robert Waller: The Bridges of Madison County
The above three are combined into one entry, entitled Three Popular Novels. I guess the others aren’t popular.