Friday, January 2, 2009

American Authors: Part One

I enjoy books about working in America. In 1906 Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle showed what it was like to work in the Chicago stockyards. It caused a sensation and launched a government investigation into the meat business. In 1992 Ben Hamper tells all about working at a GM plant in Michigan. In Rivethead: tales from the assembly line, the author is honest and has a bitter sense of humor. (Reviewers compared him to Hunter Thompson and Ken Kesey, although this is a nonfiction work that today would share a shelf with Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed.) It's an especially interesting read today, with the bailouts, looking back at what GM was up to all those years ago when Hamper, a second generation employee, worked there.

The Sun Also Rises is the only Hemingway I've gotten through besides his short stories and the novella (required reading in high school) The Old Man and the Sea. Inside my copy of The Sun Also Rises I found a clipping I'd put there in 2001. (a Hemingway look alike contest group shot.)

I Asked my significant otter to list ten American authors that he would put on his own personal favorites list, he said "hmmm.... Amy Tan, Joseph Wambaugh, Herman Melville, Pearl S. Buck, Michael Crichton, Paul Theroux, E. Annie Proulx,
Stephen King, Sinclair Lewis, Ray Bradbury, Mark Twain, Harper Lee, Douglas Unger -"

"Thirteen - that's plenty," I interrupted. I'm sure he could go on and on, but it's a pretty good 'off the top of my head' list. What authors are on your list?

Amy Tan speaks on creativity and Inspiration. (24 mins.)


Kurt said...

Tobias Wolff
Lydia Davis
Steven Millhauser
George Saunders
Mark Richard
Julie Hecht
Ron Carlson

William Steig
Bernard Malamud
Flannery O'Connor
J. F. Powers
Peter Taylor
Henry James
Mark Twain

Anonymous said...

1. John Grisham
2. Scott Turow
3. John Updike
4. Pico Iyer
5. Ann Rice
6. David Sedaris
7. John Steinbeck
8. Raymond Chandler
9. John Irving
10.James Patterson
I think these are all Americans.

Avid Reader said...

Thanks Kurt-- (frantically adding to library list)

Anon never heard of Pico Ilyer (off to look at Amazon )
not to buy just to look ...

R.L. Bourges said...

In alphabetical order:

Joan Didion
Louise Erdrich
Jim Harrison (can he count for two?)
Denis Lehane
Jack London
Annie Proulx
John Steinbeck
Mark Twain
Edith Wharton

Avid Reader said...

RL-- which Louise Erdrich do you suggest if I were to only read one?

On my way to a couple of area libraries right now...

R.L. Bourges said...

av: that's a tough question. It's a toss-up between Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse and The Plague of Doves.

I didn't know the first thing about Erdrich until I was introduced to The Plague, then went on to read Last Report. If you can really only choose one, I say: shuffle the books behind your back and pick the one in whichever hand you've decided. You can't go wrong anyway.

Squirrel said...

Beatrix Potter - wrote Squirrel Nutkin

Grace Spruch -Squirrels at my Window:Life with a REMARKABLE Gang of Urban Squirrels.

Graham Taylor- wrote about Squirrels

Kim Long-- squirrel writer

Dian Swanson- Welcome to the World of Squirrels

My Classic Fiction Book List -Partial List

  • Austen, Jane: (Complete Works)
  • Balzac: Cousin Bette/ Eugenie Grandet / Cousin Pons
  • Best Russian Short Stories
  • Boyle, TC: Short Works
  • Brennan, Maeve : Short Works, 1 Novella
  • Bronte, Emily, Ann, Jane (Complete Works)
  • Brookner, Anita ( Complete Works)
  • Cather, Willa (Complete Works)
  • Chekov: Short Works
  • David Copperfield (Dickens)
  • Dickens:A Tale of Two Cities
  • Dickens:Great Expectations
  • Dickens:Nicholas Nickelby
  • Dickens:Our Mutual Friend
  • Dickens:The Old Curiosity Shop
  • Doyle, Roddy (some novels, memoir)
  • Drabble, Margaret (4 Novels)
  • Drieser, Theodore (Complete Works)
  • Fitzgerald, F.Scott (Most Novels & short works)
  • Hardy, Thomas (Complete Works)
  • Hemingway, Short stories
  • Hemingway: The Old Man in the Sea
  • Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises
  • Hugo: Les Miserables/Hunchback Of ND
  • James, Henry: Daisy Miller
  • James, Henry: In The Cage
  • James, Henry: Portrait of a Lady
  • James, Henry: The Golden Bowl
  • James, Henry: What Maisy Knew
  • James, Henry: Wings of a Dove
  • James, Henry:The Ambassadors
  • James, Henry; The Bostonians
  • Kerouac: Dharma Bums
  • Kerouac: On The Road
  • Kerouac: The Subterraneans
  • Kerouac: Tristessa
  • Lardner,Ring:Short Works
  • Larsen: Quicksand
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Arrowsmith
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Free Air
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Main Street
  • Lewis, Sinclair: The Job
  • MacGill, Patrick (Complete works)
  • Mackin, Walter (novels)
  • Maupassant: Short Works, novels
  • McGahern, John (novels of)
  • McNulty, John (Short Works)
  • Norris, Frank: McTeague
  • O'Brien, Edna (3 Novels)
  • O'Donnell, Paeder : Novels of
  • O. Henry
  • Potok, Chaim (4 novels/1 non fiction)
  • Salinger, JD : Nine Stories
  • Salinger: Franny & Zooey
  • Salinger: Raise High the Roofbeams
  • Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Dodsworth
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Elmer Gantry
  • Sinclair, Upton: King Coal
  • Sinclair, Upton: The Jungle
  • Steinbeck, John: Sweet Thursday
  • Steinbeck: Winter of our Discontent
  • Steinbeck: Cannery Row
  • Steinbeck: East of Eden
  • Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
  • Theroux, Paul (3 Novels )
  • Toibin, Colm: (Novels of)
  • Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
  • Tolstoy: Short Works
  • Turgenev (2 novels)
  • Twain: T Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi
  • Vonnegut: Early Works (1950s-60s)
  • Wharton, Edith: Novels of/Short Stories
  • Women & Fiction (Edit. Cahill)
  • Zola, Emile ( 10 novels)