18. Soldier's Pay (1926)
Author: William Faulkner
After graduating college and doing a stint in the British Armed Forces (he was barred from U.S. military service due to his height), Faulkner returned to the South and began work on his first novel. The novel is about an aviator returning home from war. Faulkner claimed to be drawing on his experience as an pilot, but his contention that he was part of the British Royal Flying Corp has since been exposed as a likely lie.
Though this was his first novel to reach publication, the work that defined his literary legacy would not begin until several years later when he began The Sound and the Fury at the age of 30.