icedteaHello, Friends! Your local book nerd Kitty B here with more suggestions for classics with your tea. Although between the August humidity and the heat in some of these American novels, you might want to sip on something chilled. My suggestion? Iced tea. It is the ideal combination for your Late Summer All-American Reading List. And a little bit of sugar in your tea never hurt anyone!

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This American classic is perfect for any city dweller. Travel back to the roaring twenties and learn how to party of summer long with these gorgeous and overly wealthy people. Or perhaps I should say learn to hide your real feelings by distracting yourself with money, booze, and other deadly sins.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is only here in case you did not attend an American High School English class. In which case read this book! It’ll open your eyes to a very different perspective on racial prejudice in the South during the 1930s. Afterwards check out Go Set A Watchman to see how the story continues.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Perhaps you would like a Civil War romance? Well it is part romance, part survival, but mostly a heartbreak. While everything around you is falling apart what do you cling to? What parts of your innocence do you sacrifice to survive? It’s more than some 50’s romance it has a deep sadness sown into it created by one woman’s ego.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Now let’s travel to California for a slightly more Biblical lesson. It takes the whole Cain and Abel story to a whole new level where Eve is greatest evil of all.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

If you want to be grossed out by just what the human body does in the Southern summer heat, then this is the book for you. A family travels to a nearby town to bury their recently deceased Mother. their lack of education and poverty portray a deep emptiness that Faulkner was famous for bringing to the front of American consciousness.

My Antonia by Willa Cather

Travel through the Americas like a pioneer into the end of an era. The story follows a young immigrant girl and her losses as told by her male neighbor.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

For some reason a huge part of American literature is the trials of American women. So if you enjoy these tales you will love Hurston’s story of a black woman recounting her losses in life and love, while knowing that all is in the hands of God.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

These books look at the lives of American boys in the 18th century, while at the same time examining our concepts of race relations and childhood schooling. In an amusing and curious way that only Mark Twain can manage.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The feelings of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and suicide were first truly examined in Plath’s jar. Knowing that the author met such a sad end, reading the story leaves you slightly chilled. At the same time you couldn’t help but relate to her emotions and sense of loss.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

This takes those geneological research groups to the next level. A mix of sci-fi and historical fiction this story asks what values would you suspend to garauntee your own existence?

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