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21 Distinctly American Modern Novels Under 300 Pages Long

Robert R. Mitchell "Author of Only Shot At A Good Tombstone"
The list author says: "Do you want to connect with a story but don't have time for a 400- or 500-page volume? The following 21 novels by American authors are less than 300 pages long and hearken back to a pre-internet time in which novels shaped the way we looked at life."
The Catcher in the Rye (Modern Classics)
The Catcher in the Rye (Modern Classics)
"One of the most popular answers to the age-old question, "What's your favorite novel?""
Franny and Zooey
Franny and Zooey
"One of J.D. Salinger's greatest works, often overlooked in the rush to read about Holden Caulfield."
Cannery Row: (Centennial Edition)
Cannery Row: (Centennial Edition)
"One of the reasons I love Northern California."
Sweet Thursday
Sweet Thursday
"Cannery Row hooks you, and then you read Sweet Thursday."
Only Shot At A Good Tombstone
Only Shot At A Good Tombstone
"Would you leave the grey Pacific Northwest suburbs for the sunny big city?"
The Sun Also Rises (The Scribner Library, 5)
The Sun Also Rises (The Scribner Library, 5)
"If you read no other novel by Ernest Hemingway, read this one.  And then read the rest."
The Old Man and the Sea
The Old Man and the Sea
"An excellent segue to his short stories, of which "A Clean Well-Lighted Place" is my favorite."
Middle Passage
Middle Passage
"Charles Johnson spoke at our college and signed my copy of Middle Passage back in 1991.  He is legendary here in the Pacific Northwest and across the globe."
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
"Read Kesey's beautiful story and then watch Jack Nicholson pay his respects on the big screen."
Go Tell It on the Mountain
Go Tell It on the Mountain
"John and God in Harlem."
Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)
Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)
"For anyone who still believes that geniuses can't be prolific."
Rabbit, Run
Rabbit, Run
"If you enjoy novels that explore the limitless frontier of human interaction, read the Rabbit novels, beginning with Rabbit Run."
The Moviegoer
The Moviegoer
"Read the Moviegoer and then read The Second Coming (which didn't make THIS list only because it's more than 300 pages)."
Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451
"Another American novel that changed the world. Read the others by Ray Bradbury including Something Wicked This Way Comes."
The Jungle (The Penguin American Library)
The Jungle (The Penguin American Library)
"Muckraking Art.  Compelling and beautiful."
Death of a Salesman (Viking Critical Library)
Death of a Salesman (Viking Critical Library)
"It's not a novel, but it belongs on this list nonetheless."
The Great Gatsby (Modern Classics (Penguin))
The Great Gatsby (Modern Classics (Penguin))
"We can't preclude it simply because it's on everyone else's list."
Winterkill: A Novel
Winterkill: A Novel
"Craig Lesley's first novel.  An amazing story from this Oregonian."
Choke
Choke
"Fans of Hemingway will find plenty of Nothing in Choke."
The Dharma Bums
The Dharma Bums
"Another great novel inextricably tied to its geography."
One list item is no longer in our catalog.