The best known books set in each country: USA

See here for methodology.

So, this is one of two countries which are drastically over-represented on Goodreads and LibraryThing, and the results of my survey are a bit depressing.

The Hunger GamesSuzanne Collins8,680,73064,121
To Kill a MockingbirdHarper Lee6,132,89978,195
Twilight Stephenie Meyer6,586,59858,102
The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald5,247,50271,884
The Catcher in the RyeJ.D. Salinger3,528,33569,408
Catching FireSuzanne Collins3,686,07348,973
The Da Vinci CodeDan Brown2,354,04670,195
The Fault in Our StarsJohn Green5,146,02026,725
Fahrenheit 451Ray Bradbury2,421,46553,669

I thought quite carefully about whether the Suzanne Collins books qualify as being set in the USA. But they are clearly set in the territory of today’s USA, if in a dystopian future, and as we go on I’ll be accepting books set in territories that are now part of completely different countries to the time they were set. Also we clearly must accept Fahrenheit 451 as a contender, and it’s difficult to make a case for it that does not equally apply to The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. So I think I’ll have to allow The Hunger Games as this week’s winner; which is a shame, because To Kill a Mockingbird is a much, much, much better book.

There can be no doubt about Twilight, Gatsby or Catcher, all of which are clearly rooted in the contemporary or near contemporary USA. I have blocked my memories of The Da Vinci Code, but I think most of it is set outside the USA so it does not count? The Fault in Our Stars is the only one of these that I have not read, but I believe it’s mostly set in the USA apart from a climactic sequence in the Netherlands.

Nest up: Indonesia.

2 thoughts on “The best known books set in each country: USA

  1. It’s an interesting question – how far from Status quo does a setting need to be for it not to be recognisable? I’m thinking of something like Planet of the Apes that’s explicitly in the US but is really not.

    I also suspect you won’t like the Fault in our Stars for similar reasons to why you didn’t like My Sister’s Keeper.

    • On that last point, I suspect you are absolutely right!

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