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What, in your opinion, is the (mythical) Great American Novel? At least to date. A “classic,” or a current one–either would be fine. Mark Twain? J.D. Salinger? F. Scott Fitzgerald? Stephen King? Laura Ingalls Wilder?

It doesn’t have to be your favorite book, mind you. “Citizen Kane” may be the “best” film, and I concede its merits, but it’s not my favorite. You don’t have to love something to know that it’s good.Now, I know that not all of you are American–but you can play, too! What I want from you is to know what you consider to the best novel of YOUR country. It might be someone the rest of us haven’t heard of and, frankly, I think we’d all like to get some new authors to read. – BTT

Shamefully, I’ve read more American books and authors than Canadian ones. I’ve read more British books and writers as well. So I’ll take a stab at the American question because I’m quite the fan of John Steinbeck. I also grew up with the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and the TV series. I also think Jeffrey Eugenides novels are very American and modern classics. There are a lot of books I would consider great American novels. Edit: I must agree with the comment below that I love Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The movie blows my mind as well.

As for Canadian novels, I must concede Margaret Atwood here. I haven’t read all of the Orpheus trilogy, but Robertson Davies falls in this category as well. Probably L. M. Montgomery, but I have not started on my Anne of Green Gables yet. I’m inclined to think children’s novels and stories usually make great best novels for countries.

8 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday – Great __ Novel

  1. I’m with you on Margaret Atwood. She’s astoundingly good.

    I am a huge L.M. Montgomery fan, and love the Anne books. But you may find the Emily books much more intriguing. I have to say I like them better than Anne. And in her standalone books, Valancy is a really good one.

  2. I loved L.M. Mongtgomery. (And loved Valancy from “Blue Castle,” too.) And Robertson Davies, too–Lyre of Orpheus was the first of his I ever read and so that remains my favorite. I really liked the Salterton trilogy.

  3. Great question! I think Steinbeck was the best at painting the most realistic picture of America during his time.

  4. Although I’m American, I’m quickly finding myself a huge fan of Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale was a fabulous book! Is it bad that I have never read anything by Montgomery??

    I’d have to go with Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Not original, by any means. But the book is one of my all-time favorites. And it really is THAT good!

    Happy Thursday!

  5. I am Canadian too..hi!
    I nominated Anne as the best..funny!
    Yes i agree children’s books DO seem like the best representatives for the individual countries…
    I can’t stand Margaret Atwood and the other famous Canadian authors.
    I too tend to read more British and other world literature..

  6. Oh! I forgot To Kill a Mockingbird. I loved that book. I definitely consider it one of the best American novels. Maybe one of the best novels period. I do agree that Atwood can be… a little too much sometime, but she does have her merits.

  7. I agree about children’s books 🙂

    I love Anne of GG. I think Atwood is a great writer but haven’t read much else Canadian so not enough to compare.

    It was a great BTT topic this week – have a good weekend.

  8. I too tend to neglect the literature of my own country. If I were to pick a great American novel, it would probably be “Middlesex”. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a great choice too.

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