Weekly Lists #150: Favorite American Classics

Quite often, when they hear “the big classics”, they think of the British classics. Hah, the Jane Austens and Charles Dickens’ of this world… But here’s the thing – and it’s something that’s been made very clear from taking a couple of classes on American Literature – the norther part of the America’s? They have some serious classics as well. So here’s my favorites of those American classics!

Quick explanation: for the sake of this video, I’m counting “America” as both the USA and Canada. Because, you know… Geography is such a good way to limit the span of a culture, right? :p

1. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

I wrote my bachelor’s paper on this book, people. If “I’m going to spend 10 months studying this book in depth” doesn’t scream that I love this classic? I don’t know what does. (Goodreads)

2. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot

I’m not usually a fan of these “great American writers”. That’s probably a direct consequence of being force fed all of them for about 6 years straight. I randomly came across this poem when I was going through some of my old school books. Long story short: I read it, I fell in love with it, and I honestly feel like this might just be the best introduction to T.S. Eliot’s work ever. (Goodreads)

3. Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman

This might be a gross overstatement, but I do think this is true: this is probably the only thing I had to read for my courses on American Literature that I actually liked. Is it just a bit pretentious? Yes. But it is so worth a read! (Goodreads)

4. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

So, this is a classic I actually didn’t have to read. And guess what – I loved it. I will tell you that I read this when I wasn’t necessarily in the best frame of mind. Now, as far as I can see, there’s two options. Either that is not something I would recommend (because it might make the frame of mind worse). Or, and this is a big or: maybe that was exactly why I could appreciate it. Either way – I liked it. Even though it was a bit pretentious :p (Goodreads)

5. Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery

Ah, the Canadian entry. Also known as: one of the first classics I ever read because they were recommended to me as such. I still haven’t finished the series completely, but every single book of it I have read? Equally amazing as the one before!

And there you have it! That’s 5 of my favorite American classics. I feel like a majority of what I read is probably American, but there’s not too many classics in there. So, do you have any recommendations? Any great American classics I should probably get to? Be sure to let me know below!

-Saar