What’s the Best American Novel ever written?

It is summer, and summertime can only mean one thing: the dreaded SUMMER READING LIST.

Remember those? You would be given a list of super-boring books that you absolutely had to read over the carefree sunny days spread out before you, and everyone always did the exact same thing:  everyone waited until two days before school was back in session for the Fall and rushed out to the store to buy the Cliffs Notes versions.

Smart kids would have purchased the Cliffs Notes earlier in the summer, while inventory levels were high.  Pity the kids who rushed to the local bookstore only to find the dreaded SOLD OUT sign on the rack.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Case Studies in Critical Controversy)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
(Case Studies in Critical Controversy)

Invariably, the book selections were always the same, no matter what school district you attended:  PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, some English countryside historical novels — you get the idea.

But it’s all an attempt by teachers to really get kids excited about reading.  Looking back, we see these same titles on BEST BOOKS EVER WRITTEN or BOOKS EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE READ BY THE TIME THEY’RE 30 lists.  Adults tend to kick themselves for not having taken those summer reading assignments more seriously when they had the chance to do so.

Then again, sometimes a book is just a book — as long as you don’t have to write a report on it afterwards, the reading can be significantly more enjoyable.  Maybes that’s part of the problem?

So let’s cut to the chase – here’s another list of BEST BOOKS EVER, except in this case, we’re looking at a list of the GREATEST AMERICAN NOVELS EVER WRITTEN.

How many of these have you heard of — or more importantly, read?