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American Fiction book


Most valuable American Fiction books

Curious what the most valuable and expensive american fiction books are? Below is a small sample of some of the most expensive books that have sold on Biblio.com:


Recent Arrivals in American Fiction

American Fiction

From To Kill a Mockingbird to The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer, from Henry James to 95 Poems, we can help you find the american fiction books you are looking for. As the world's largest independent marketplace for new, used and rare books, you always get the best in service and value when you buy from Biblio.com, and all of your purchases are backed by our return guarantee.


Top Sellers in American Fiction

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    To Kill a Mockingbird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was instantly successful and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author's observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old. The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with serious issues of rape and racial inequality.


    Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

    Margaret Mitchell only published one complete novel, but it was quite the book - Gone With the Wind earned her the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 and National Book Award for 1936. The epic romance tale set in and around Atlanta, Georgia during the American Civil War has remained a bestseller, even before the equally popular film starring Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh was made in 1939.


    The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

    This novella, only 140 pages, was first printed in it's entirety in Life Magazine Sept 1st 1952, inspiring a buying frenzy selling over 5 million copies of the magazine in just 2 days. The story about an aging Cuban fisherman wrangling a large marlin in the gulf stream was written in 1951 in Cuba and published in 1952. In 1953 it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and led to Hemingway's nomination for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Man's struggle against nature is the resounding theme throughout the book as Hemingway portrays Santiago's travails as an experienced fisherman facing a dry-spell of 85 days before finally wrangling a prized marlin. Hemingway also highlights the indomitable spirit of man while illustrating his ideal of manliness and character in the strong and determined fisherman facing danger and discomfort without complaint and with resolution, both in the days it takes Santiago to kill the marlin, and as he fights off the sharks that end up destroying his prized catch before he reaches the coast. Some say that Hemingway's tale is a reflection of his own determination to prove his writing career was not over, and the portrayal of the sharks may echo the critics who had been claiming for the ten years that his writing career, after the successful release of For Whom the Bell Tolls in 1940, was over. The book is dedicated "To Charlie Scribner And To Max Perkins," friends of Hemingway's that had passed away before the book came out. Max Perkins, who also edited F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe, died in 1947 and Scribner, who was president of the publisher Charles Scribner's Sons, died in 1952. The last work published by Hemingway during his lifetime, signed first editions can sell upwards of $15,000 - $17,000.


    The Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck

    John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath stands as a pivotal piece of American literature. The story follows the Joad family (and thousands of others) as they are driven from the Oklahoma farm where they are sharecroppers during the Great Depression. The drought, economic hardship, and changes in financial and agricultural industries send them searching for dignity and honest work in the bountiful state of California. The novel earned Steinbeck the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1940, and inspired the classic film of the same name the same year. The film starred Henry Fonda as Tom Joad, and Steinbeck's words and ideas shine through that medium. In 1962, Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for the body of his work, and The Grapes of Wrath stands as his most recognized and esteemed book. -


    For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

    Many consider  For Whom the Bell Tolls  to be author Ernest Hemingway’s finest work. Inspired by Hemingway’s time as a war correspondent for The North American Newspaper Alliance during the Spanish Civil War,  For Whom the Bell Tolls  is a stark and brutal commentary on the nature of war, sacrifice, and death. In fact, many believe his work is among the best depictions of the Spanish Civil War written. As with some of Hemingway’s other work, many of the characters, experiences, and events were based off real people and battles Hemingway saw.  One of the most interesting qualities of  For Whom the Bell Tolls  is the use and restraint of profanity. Even though Hemingway had already written much about war and tribulations and had never seemed inclined to limit the use of vulgar language, For Whom the Bell Tolls is a clear exemption. When writing dialogue, Hemingway would insert the word “obscenity” instead of writing the exact word or phrase. There has been a lot of discussion about the reason for such omissions, and while some believe Hemingway was worried about the book being banned and thus wanted to make the book as reader-friendly as possible for a brutally violent war novel, others believe the omissions of profanity was due to transliteration problems and the author’s attempt to be as honest to the dialogue he heard as possible.  There is no arguing with the legacy and influence Hemingway had not only on American culture, but also on generations of future writers. The Beatnik generation referred to Hemingway as “Papa” with a quite reverence, and Hemingway inspired countless journalists with his in-depth profiles and wartime articles. Even the cities where he wrote his books are now places for pilgrimage among his most devoted fans. Hemingway first started writing  For Whom the Bell Tolls  in Cuba and later finished it in Sun Valley, Idaho. In fact, both hotel rooms are now popular tourist destinations.


    Ulysses by James Joyce

    Ulysses is a modernist novel by James Joyce. It was first serialized in The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920 and later published by Shakespeare and Company in 1922. Originally, Joyce conceived of Ulysses as a short story to be included in Dubliners, but decided instead to publish it as a long novel, situated as a sort of sequel to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, picking up Stephen Dedalus’s life over a year later. Ulysses takes place on a single day, June 16, 1904, in Dublin. Within the massive text of 265,000 words (not so “short” anymore, eh?), divided in 18 episodes, Joyce radically shifts narrative style with each new episode, completely abandoning the previously accepted notions of plot, setting, and characters. The presentation of a fragmented reality through interior perception in Ulysses, often through stream-of-consciousness, is one of many reasons it is a paramount of Modernist literature.  Ulysses presents a series of parellels with Homer’s epic poem Odyssey (Ulysses is the Latinized name of Odysseus.) Not only can correspondences be drawn between the main characters of each text — Stephen Dedalus to Telemachus, Leopold Bloom to Odysseus, and Molly Bloom to Penelope, but each of the 18 episodes of Ulysses reflects an adventure from the Odyssey.  In 1998, the American publishing firm Modern Library ranked Ulysses first on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.


    The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

    Written in 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be one of the author’s greatest works. Set in New York City and Long Island during the Roaring Twenties, the focus of the story is (of course) its title character, Jay Gatsby, and his unswerving desire to be reunited with Daisy Buchanan, the love he lost five years earlier. However, Nick Carraway, who happens to be both Gatsby’s neighbor and Daisy’s cousin, narrates Gatsby's journey from poverty to wealth, into the arms of his beloved, and eventually to death. The Great Gatsby is undoubtedly one of the greatest American literary documents of the 1920s, the decade for which Fitzgerald himself coined the term “Jazz Age.” However, in writing the book, Fitzgerald was in fact holding up a mirror to the society of which he was a part. In true Modernist fashion, The Great Gatsby addresses the social issues of the period — namely materialism and displaced spirituality — that ultimately led the decline of the era. The novel’s initial sales situation was less than impressive; fewer than 25,000 copies were sold by Fitzgerald’s death in 1940. But The Great Gatsby gained great popularity during WWII as the critical mainstream began to embrace the author’s work. The Armed Services Editions circulated 150,000 copies to troops alone. Today, The Great Gatsby has sold over 25 million copies worldwide, sells an additional 500,000 copies annually, and is Scribner's most popular title. Ranked #2 on the Modern Library’s list of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century, the novel is also listed on their Top 100 Novels as well as The Observer’s All-Time 100 Best Novels and Time Magazine’s 100 Best Modern Novels. The Great Gatsby has resulted in a number of adaptations, including Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 major motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton. 


    A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

    Set during World War 1, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms is the story of Lieutenant Frederic Henry, an American serving as an ambulance driver in the Italian army, and his love affair with an English nurse named Catherine Barkley. The novel is semi-autobiographical, based on Hemingway's own experiences serving in the Italian campaigns during the war. While some assume the title of the work to be taken from a poem by 16th century English dramatist George Peele, others believe it to be a simple pun of the word “arms.” A Farewell to Arms was first serialized in the May-October issues Scribner's Magazine 1929. It was published in book form in September of that year. As the work became available to the public just over ten years after the November 1918 armistice, Hemingway assumed his audience would recognize many of the references. In fact, certain basic information isn't alluded to in the book at all, as it was common knowledge around the time of publication. The result of this immediacy? Arguably one of the best novels written about World War I… ever. A Farewell to Arms was Hemingway's first bestseller, affording him financial independence and cementing his stature as a modern American writer. More specifically, the novel and its content helped to established the author as a key member of the “Lost Generation,” a subset of Modernist artists namely defined by their post-war disillusionment. A Farewell to Arms is ranked 74th on Modern Library’s “100 Best” English-language novels of the 20th century. 


    Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

    Based on real events and acquaintances of Hemingway, Sun Also Rises is about American and English expats in Pamplona.


    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

    Atlas Shrugged is a novel by Ayn Rand, first published in 1957 in the United States. This was Rand's fourth, longest and last novel, and she considered it her magnum opus in the realm of fiction writing. As indicated by its working title The Strike, the book explores a dystopian United States where leading innovators, ranging from industrialists to artists, refuse to be exploited by society.


    Leaves Of Grass by Walt Whitman

    Leaves of Grass (1855) is a poetry collection by the American poet Walt Whitman. Among the poems in the collection are "Song of Myself," "I Sing the Body Electric," "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," and in later editions, Whitman's elegy to the assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd. " Whitman spent his entire life writing Leaves of Grass, revising it in several editions until his death. The first edition published in 1855 contained 12 poems on 95 pages. The final edition published contained almost 400 poems. 


    East Of Eden by John Steinbeck

    East of Eden is a novel by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, published in September 1952. Often described as Steinbeck's most ambitious novel, East of Eden brings to life the intricate details of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, and their interwoven stories. The novel was originally addressed to Steinbeck's young sons, Thom and John (then 6½ and 4½ respectively). Steinbeck wanted to describe the Salinas Valley for them in detail: the sights, sounds, smells, and colors.


    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

    Catch-22 is Joseph Heller’s first novel and his most acclaimed work. Set during World War II, the novel uses a distinctive non-chronological third-person omniscient narration, mainly focusing on the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier. Occasionally, the narrator also shows us how other characters, such as the chaplain or Hungry Joe, experience the world around them. As the novel’s events are described from the different points of view through separate out-of-sequence storylines, the timeline of Catch-22 develops along with the plot. The novel's title refers to a plot device that is repeatedly invoked in the story. Catch-22 starts as a set of paradoxical requirements whereby airmen mentally unfit to fly did not have to, but could not actually be excused. By the end of the novel, the phrase is invoked as the explanation for many unreasonable restrictions. “Catch-22” has since entered the English language and can be understood as an unsolvable logic puzzle, a difficult situation from which there is no escape. Upon publication, the book was not a best seller in the United States. It was merely a cult favorite until the publication of the paperback edition in 1962, which set record sales — most likely benefitting from a national debate about the pointlessness of the Vietnam War. Catch-22 has since been ranked as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library, one of the 20th century's top 100 novels by the Radcliffe Publishing Course, and one of the 100 greatest novels of all time by The Observer. 


    Moby Dick by Herman Melville

    Melville's classic was first published in England as three volumes titled The Whale in October 1851. Slow sales of Melville's previously books convinced Publisher L. Richard Bentley to reduce the printing to only 500 copies, and of that, only 300 sold in the first 4 months. The remaining unbound sheets were bound in a cheaper casing in 1852, and in 1853 there were still enough remaining sheets to again bind into an even cheaper edition. Melville changed the title to Moby Dick a month later, November 1851, when the American Version was published in one volume by Harper & Brothers in NY. Of the 2,951 copies printed, 125 were review copies. About 1,500 sold in 11 days, but then sales slowed to less than 300 the next year. After two years copies of the first edition were still available, and almost 300 were destroyed in the 1853 fire of Harper's warehouse. Most of the first editions have orange end-papers, although there are 2 known volumes with rare white-endpapers. Because of Nineteenth century printing practices, and the time lapse between when the first-editions were published and Melville became collectable, oxidized paper, bumped and chipped spines, and brittle wrappers are all common for even the most expensive and collectable of these books, which can sell from $35,000 to $100,000. Also expect heavy wear and maybe even minor repair. Another collectable edition is the 1930 first edition illustrated by Rockwell Kent, a three volume set published by the Lakeside Press with acetate dust jackets in an aluminum slipcase. These range in value from $9,000 to $11,000. A total of 3,215 copies of Moby-Dick were sold during Melville's life (he died in 1891). Today, Moby-Dick is considered one of the greatest American novels. -


    A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

    A Moveable Feast is a set of memoirs by American author Ernest Hemingway about his years in Paris as part of the American expatriate circle of writers in the 1920s. In addition to painting a picture of Hemingway's time as a struggling young writer, the book also sketches the story of Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley. A Moveable Feast is considered by many to contain some of his best writing.


    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

    Of Mice and Men is a novella written by Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California.


    Midnight In the Garden Of Good and Evil by John Berendt

    Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a work by John Berendt. The book was Berendt's first, and became a The New York Times bestseller for 216 weeks following its debut. The book was subsequently made into a 1997 movie directed by Clint Eastwood based loosely on Berendt's story.


    The Shack by William P Young

    The Shack is a novel by Canadian author William P. Young, a former office manager and hotel night clerk, published in 2007. The novel was self-published but became a USA Today bestseller, having sold 1 million copies as of June 8, 2008. It was the #1 Paperback trade fiction seller on the New York Times best sellers list from June 2008 to early 2010. Young originally wrote The Shack as a Christmas gift for his six children with no apparent intention of publishing it.


    Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

    In Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe, the title character Uncle Tom is a long-suffering slave, loyal to both his faith and his master. Presented with an opportunity to escape, he instead chooses to remain in slavery to avoid embarrassing his master. After being sold to a slave trader, Tom suffers brutal treatment and is eventually beaten to death for his refusal to betray his friends — made to represent an ideal of true Christianity. Enormously popular (it was the best-selling novel of the 19th century) and influential, it’s publication in 1852 was instrumental in bringing visibility to the cruel reality of slavery. In more recent years, it has come under considerable criticism for its portrayal of meekness and subservience and the phrase “Uncle Tom” is sometimes used as an epithet for someone seen as overly subservient. 


    Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

    Cannery Row is the waterfront street in the New Monterey section of Monterey, California, USA. It is the site of a number of now-defunct sardine canning factories. The street name, formerly a nickname for Ocean View Avenue, became official in January 1958 to honor John Steinbeck and his famous novel Cannery Row.


    The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

    The Scarlet Letter: A Romance (1850) is considered the American author Nathaniel Hawthorne's 'masterwork.' A work of historical fiction set in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Puritan settlement of 1642-1949 itells the story of Hester Prynne, who after having a child as a result of an extra-marital affair attempts to live a life of repentance and dignity although she is marked by having to wear a Scarlett A on her person. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt. The Scarlett Letter was one of the first mass-produced novels in the United States, prior printing of books generally done by hand. The 2,500 copies first printed sold out in days, and the mass-production of books opened up conversation about books and authors to a wider-audience on a national level. The first edition of The Scarlet Letter sold out in ten days and “made Hawthorne’s fame, changed his fortune and gave to our literature its first symbolic novel a year before the appearance of Melville’s Moby-Dick” (Bradley). Although an instant best-seller, the books sales over fourteen years only brought the author $1500.


    On the Road by Jack Kerouac

    Perhaps the most famous and influential of the Beat novels, Jack Kerouac's On the Road represents much of what made the Beat and Counterculture movements so unique and important. The plot concerning the road trips and adventures experienced by Kerouac and his friends is well-known, as are the rumors and tall tales of the books' production. Kerouac often claimed that the wrote On the Road in a mere three weeks on a single 120-foot scroll of paper. Although that scroll does indeed exist and is featured in museums, Kerouac kept detailed journals of his travels that would later become passages and chapters in the finished product. The book was first published by Viking in 1957. True first printings of the book include the $3.95 pricing information on the top right hand corner of the front inside dust jacket flap. Later printings and subsequent book club editions do not feature the price in that location. Additionally, a photo of Kerouac is featured on the back inside cover flap along with a brief description of the author. Viking Press would go on to publish an edited version of On the Road in 2007 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first printing. They substituted the fictional names for the real Beat protagonists, and they even included some of the more sexually explicit passages that were edited out of the 1957 edition. Due to the cultural significance of the book, true first editions/first printings of On the Road are quite valuable. But be warned: it is easy to mistake reprints or book club editions for the real thing, so always check with an expert before making a significant purchase.


    The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

    Commonly named among the Great American novels, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, written by Mark Twain, is generally regarded as the sequel to his earlier novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; however, in Huckleberry Finn, Twain focused increasingly on the institution of slavery and the South. Narrated by Huckleberry “Huck” Finn in Southern antebellum vernacular, the novel gives vivid descriptions of people and daily life along the Mississippi River while following the adventure of Huck and a runaway slave, Jim, rafting their way to freedom.


    The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain, is a popular 1876 novel about a young boy growing up in the antebellum South on the Mississippi River in the town of St. Petersberg, based on the town of Hannibal, Missouri.


American Fiction Books & Ephemera


    Henry James by James, Henry

    Henry James (1843-1916), born in New York City, was the son of noted religious philosopher Henry James, Sr., and brother of eminent psychologist and philosopher William James. He spent his early life in America and studied in Geneva, London and Paris during his adolescence to gain the worldly experience so prized by his father. He lived in Newport, went briefly to Harvard Law School, and in 1864 began to contribute both criticism and tales to magazines. In 1869, and then in 1872-74, he paid visits to Europe and began his first novel, Roderick Hudson . Late in 1875 he settled in Paris, where he met Turgenev, Flaubert, and Zola, and wrote The American (1877). In December 1876 he moved to London, where two years later he achieved international fame with Daisy Miller . Other famous works include Washington Square (1880), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Princess Casamassima (1886), The Aspern Papers (1888), The Turn of the Screw (1898), and three large novels of the new century, The Wings of the Dove (1902), The Ambassadors (1903) and The Golden Bowl (1904). In 1905 he revisited the United States and wrote The American Scene (1907). During his career he also wrote many works of criticism and travel. Although old and ailing, he threw himself into war work in 1914, and in 1915, a few months before his death, he became a British subject. In 1916 King George V conferred the Order of Merit on him. He died in London in February 1916. Philip Horne has spent a decade looking at the thousands of James's letters in archives in the United States and Europe. A Reader in English Literature at University College, London, he is the author of Henry James and Revision and the editor of the Penguin Classics edition of James's The Tragic Muse .


    Follow Me Down by Foote, Shelby

    Shelby Foote was born on November 7, 1916 in Greenville, Mississippi, and attended school there until he entered the University of North Carolina. During World War II he served as a captain of field artillery but never saw combat. After World War II he worked briefly for the Associated Press in their New York bureau. In 1953 he moved to Memphis, where he lived for the remainder of his life.Foote was the author of six novels: Tournament , Follow Me Down , Love in a Dry Season , Shiloh , Jordan County , and September, September . He is best remembered for his 3-volume history The Civil War: A Narrative , which took twenty years to complete and resulted in his being a featured expert in Ken Burns' acclaimed Civil War documentary. Over the course of his writing career, Foote was also awarded three Guggenheim fellowships.Shelby Foote died in 2005 at the age of 88.


    God's Little Acre by Caldwell, Erskine

    God's Little Acre by author Erskine Caldwell tells the story of a rural, proletariat family in South Carolina whose lives seemingly revolve around the pursuit of sex and money. A commentary on the plight of the working class sans union protection in the 1930s, the novel also explores themes on land and resource conservation. Due to the sexual imagery, Caldwell was sued for the dissemination of pornography, but ultimately prevailed in court. The case and decision is considered significant in the establishment of modern interpretations of first amendment rights and freedom of expression. Published in 1933 by The Viking Press in black cloth printed in orange and green, the simple pictoral jacket with a sunrise seems to imply a pastoral theme far removed from the actual book's contents. As was the custom for Viking Press at the time, a first has neither a statement of first edition, nor any mention of subsequent printings. It's not uncommon to find a copy in the sunny jacket for around $2,000-$4,000 with signed copies pushing the price up to around $5,000-$6,000.


    The Yearling by Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan

    The Yearling is a 1938 novel written by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. It won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1939. Rawlings's editor was Maxwell Perkins, who also worked with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and other literary luminaries. She had submitted several projects to Perkins for his review, and he rejected them all. He instructed her to write about what she knew from her own life, and the result of her taking his advice was The Yearling.


    All the King's Men by Warren, Robert Penn

    All the King's Men is a novel by Robert Penn Warren, first published in 1946. The novel's title is drawn from the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty. In 1947 Warren won the Pulitzer Prize for All the King's Men. It was adapted for film in 1949 and 2006; the 1949 version won the Academy Award for Best Picture.


    Bridge Of San Luis Rey by Wilder, Thornton

    The Bridge of San Luis Rey is American author Thornton Wilder's second novel, first published in 1927 to worldwide acclaim. It tells the story of several interrelated people who die in the collapse of an Inca rope-fiber suspension bridge in Peru, and the events that lead up to their being on the bridge. A friar who has witnessed the tragic accident then goes about inquiring into the lives of the victims, seeking some sort of cosmic answer to the question of why each had to die.


    The Great Santini by Conroy, Pat

    Also issued online.


    A Faulkner Miscellany by Meriwether, James B



    Elmer by Faulkner, William



    Any Cold Jordan by Bottoms, David



    95 Poems by Cummings, E E



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