Americana Book List

Hopefully everyone had a great 4th of July. Yesterday as I spent the day celebrating Independence Day with barbeques, parades and fireworks, I found myself talking to friends about great summer reads. Talking about this subject on the 4th of July got me thinking about great American literature, books and stories that are so American that they couldn’t take place anywhere else. My favorite classic American literature isn't just what I was told to read in an American Lit class; instead, it is a genre that captures specific eras in American history in beautiful and innovative ways. To me, these books fall into the category of Americana. So although we finished celebrating the 4th yesterday, perhaps pick up one of these great Americana reads during the remainder of the summer.
A classic book on almost every high school reading list, this book is often referred to as one of the Great American Novels. This story of life on the Mississippi is so well done, both teens and adults will enjoy the book.

The Grapes of Wrath
By: John Steinbeck
This book is one of my favorite books of all time. Set during the Great Depression, this book follows the Joad family as they trek across the American terrain. I can’t drive down Route 66 without thinking about the Joad family, who like so many Americans in the 1930s left their homes in search of jobs and a future.

To Kill a Mockingbird
By: Harper Lee
This story about Scout, Jem, Dill and Atticus is a classic piece of American literature. This book is both a coming of age story and story about the Civil Rights Movement. It is a must read for any teen, adult or book lover.
On the Road
By: Jack Kerouac
Americana books are frequently categorized as road stories.  This famous beat generation book is the original road story.
The Little House on the Prairie
By: Laura Ingalls Wilder
This book and book series is beloved by both children and adults. Frequently labeled one of the best fictional books about life on the American frontier, the book follows the Ingalls family as they manage the struggles of pioneer life.

The Great Gatsby
By: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Along with the other titles listed above, The Great Gatsby is often listed as one of the Great American Novels by numerous sources. This beautiful piece of classic American literature describes life during the Jazz Age.
Enjoy these great works of American literature and if you think of an additional book that falls into this category please share the title in the comments box!

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