The Greatest Nonfiction Books

all | 2000 | 1990 | 1980 | 1970 | 1950 | 1900 |
  1. 401 . Art and Illusion by Ernest H. Gombrich

    Image of Art and Illusion

    Considered a great classic by all who seek for a meeting ground between science and the humanities, Art and Illusion examines the history and psychology of pictorial representation in light of pres...

  2. 402 . The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

    Image of The Year of Magical Thinking

    The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion, is an account of the year following the death of the author's husband John Gregory Dunne (1932–2003). Published by Knopf in October 2005, the book was ...

  3. 403 . Great Bridge by David McCullough

    Image of Great Bridge

    This monumental book is the enthralling story of one of the greatest events in our nation's history, during the Age of Optimism — a period when Americans were convinced in their hearts that all thi...

  4. 404 . A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

    Image of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

    A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (ISBN 0-330-48455-9) is a memoir by Dave Eggers released in 2000. It chronicles his stewardship of younger brother Christopher "Toph" Eggers following the ...

  5. 405 . Principia Ethica by George Moore

    Image of Principia Ethica

    Principia Ethica is a Monograph by philosopher George Moore, first published in 1903. It is one of the standard texts of modern ethics, and introduced the term naturalistic fallacy.

  6. 406 . The Age of Jackson by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

    Image of The Age of Jackson

    Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Jackson. It is a triumph of historical scholarship, analysis, and interpretation and throws much new light on a host of Americans, well...

  7. 407 . Philosophy and Civilization by John Dewey

    Image of Philosophy and Civilization


  8. 408 . Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

    Image of Freakonomics

    Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything is a 2005 non-fiction book by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner. T...

  9. 409 . On Growth and Form by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson

    Image of On Growth and Form

    The central theme of On Growth and Form is that biologists of its author's day overemphasized evolution as the fundamental determinant of the form and structure of living organisms, and underemphas...

  10. 410 . The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright

    Image of The Looming Tower

    The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 is a historical look at the way in which Al-Qaeda came into being, the background for various terrorist attacks and how they were investigated, and ...

  11. 411 . Truman by David McCullough

  12. 412 . Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein

    Image of Ideas and Opinions

    Ideas and Opinions contains essays by eminent scientist Albert Einstein on subjects ranging from atomic energy, relativity, and religion to human rights, and economics. Previously published article...

  13. 413 . Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

  14. 414 . Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

    Image of Me Talk Pretty One Day

    Me Talk Pretty One Day, published in 2000, is a bestselling collection of essays by American humorist David Sedaris. The book is separated into two parts. The first consists of essays about Sedaris...

  15. 415 . Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss

    Image of Eats, Shoots and Leaves

    Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a non-fiction book written by Lynne Truss, the former host of the BBC Radio 4's Cutting a Dash programme. In the book, published in 2003, Truss bemoans the state of punctua...

  16. 416 . This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff

    Image of This Boy's Life

    This Boy's Life is a memoir by Tobias Wolff first published in 1989. It describes the author's adolescence as he wanders the continental United States with his itinerant mother. The first leg of th...

  17. 417 . Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

    Image of Notes from a Small Island

    "Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain-which is to say, all of it." After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson-bestsellingauthor of ...

    - Google

  18. 418 . Phaedo by Plato

    Image of Phaedo

    Plato's Phaedo (/ˈfiːdoʊ/; Greek: Φαίδων, Phaidōn, Greek pronunciation: [pʰaídɔːn]), also known to ancient readers as Plato's On The Soul, is one of the great dialogues of his middle period, along ...

    - Google

  19. 419 . The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson

    Image of The Devil In The White City

    The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and its amazing 'White City' was one of the wonders of the world. This is the incredible story of its realization, and of the two men whose fates it linked: one was...

    - Google

  20. 420 . Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

    Image of Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

    #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE • Hailed as the top nonfiction book of the year by Time magazine • Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for biography and the ...

    - Google

  21. 421 . Crito by Plato

    Image of Crito

    Crito (/ˈkraɪtoʊ/ KRY-toh or /ˈkriːtoʊ/ KREE-toh; Ancient Greek: Κρίτων [krítɔːn]) is a dialogue by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. It is a conversation between Socrates and his wealthy friend...

    - Google

  22. 422 . Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

    Image of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    Winner of the Lincoln Prize Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from o...

    - Google

  23. 423 . Euthyphro by Plato

    Image of Euthyphro

    Euthyphro (/ˈjuːθɪfroʊ/; Ancient Greek: Εὐθύφρων, Euthuphrōn) is one of Plato's early dialogues, dated to after 399 BC. Taking place during the weeks leading up to Socrates' trial, the dialogue fea...

    - Google

  24. 424 . The Liars' Club by Mary Karr

    Image of The Liars' Club

    The Liars' Club is the childhood memoir of American author Mary Karr. Published in 1995 and a New York Times bestseller for over a year it tells the story of Mary Karr's childhood in the 1960s in a...

  25. 425 . Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

  26. 426 . Science and Civilisation in China by Joseph Needham

    Image of Science and Civilisation in China

    Science and Civilisation in China is a series of books initiated and edited by British biochemist and China scholar Joseph Needham (1900-1995). They deal with the history of science and technology ...

  27. 427 . Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

    Image of Zeitoun

    Zeitoun is a nonfiction book written by Dave Eggers and published by McSweeney's in 2009. It tells the story of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, the Syrian-American owner of a painting and contracting company ...

  28. 428 . London: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd

    Image of London: The Biography


  29. 429 . Care of the Soul: Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness by Thomas Moore

    Image of Care of the Soul: Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness

    This New York Times bestseller (more than 200,000 hardcover copies sold) provides a path-breaking lifestyle handbook that shows how to add spirituality, depth, and meaning to modern-day life by nur...

    - Google

  30. 430 . Moneyball by Michael M. Lewis

    Image of Moneyball

    Explains how Billy Beene, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, is using a new kind of thinking to build a successful and winning baseball team without spending enormous sums of money.

    - Google

  31. 431 . The Frugal Superpower: America's Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era by Michael Mandelbaum

    Image of The Frugal Superpower: America's Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era

    Which of America's essential international commitments can we afford to keep in this time of diminished financial resources?

    - Google

  32. 432 . Diaries by Alan Clark

    Image of Diaries

    Alan Clark started keeping a regular diary in 1955 which lasted until August 1999, during his second spell as a Member of Parliament, when he was incapacitated due to the onset of the brain tumour ...

  33. 433 . Kama Sutra by Vātsyāyana

    Image of Kama Sutra

    The Kama Sutra (Sanskrit: कामसूत्र About this sound pronunciation (help·info), Kāmasūtra) is an ancient Indian Hindu text widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behavior in Sansk...

  34. 434 . Venice by Jan Morris

    Image of Venice

    Often hailed as one of the best travel books ever written, Venice is neither a guide nor a history book, but a beautifully written immersion in Venetian life and character, set against the backgrou...

    - Google

  35. 435 . A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor

    Image of A History of the World in 100 Objects

    The blockbuster New York Times bestseller and the companion volume to the wildly popular radio series Neil MacGregor has blazed an unusual path to international renown. As director of the British M...

    - Google

  36. 436 . Meditations on First Philosophy by René Descartes

    Image of Meditations on First Philosophy

    Meditations on First Philosophy (subtitled In which the existence of God and the immortality of the soul are demonstrated) is a philosophical treatise by René Descartes first published in 1641 (in ...

    - Google

  37. 437 . A History of the Crusades by Stephen Runciman

    Image of A History of the Crusades

    A History of the Crusades is the work that historian Stephen Runciman is arguably most noted for. A cursory glance at the body of Runciman’s work would lead many to believe that his passion for hi...

  38. 438 . The Sickness Unto Death by Søren Kierkegaard

    Image of The Sickness Unto Death

    The Sickness Unto Death (Danish: Sygdommen til Døden) is a book written by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in 1849 under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus. A work of Christian existentialism, the bo...

  39. 439 . A Child Called 'It' by Dave Pelzer

    Image of A Child Called 'It'

    A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive is Dave Pelzer's 1995 autobiographical account of his alleged abuse as a child by an alcoholic mother, Catherine Roerva.

  40. 440 . The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell

    Image of The Life of Charlotte Brontë

    The Life of Charlotte Brontë is the posthumous biography of Charlotte Brontë by fellow novelist Elizabeth Gaskell. Although quite frank in many places, Gaskell suppressed details of Charlotte's lov...

  41. 441 . Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man by Siegfried Sassoon

    Image of Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man

    Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man is a novel by Siegfried Sassoon, first published in 1928. It won both the Hawthornden Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, being immediately recognised as a c...

  42. 442 . Essays of Henry David Thoreau by Henry David Thoreau

    Image of Essays of Henry David Thoreau

    Philosopher, naturalist, poet and rugged individualist, Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) has inspired generations of readers to think for themselves, to follow the dictates of their own conscience a...

    - Google

  43. 443 . The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss by Edmund de Waal

    Image of The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss

    The Ephrussis were a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who “burned like a comet” in nineteenth-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost...

    - Google

  44. 444 . Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

    Image of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

    Researcher and thought leader Dr. Bren Brown offers a powerful new vision in Daring Greatly that encourages us to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly and courageously. 'I...

    - Google

  45. 445 . Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

    Image of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

    The story of three generations in twentieth-century China that blends the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history—a bestselling classic in thirty languages with more than t...

    - Google

  46. 446 . Why the West Rules - For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris

    Image of Why the West Rules - For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future

    Why does the West rule? In this magnum opus, eminent Stanford polymath Ian Morris answers this provocative question, drawing on 50,000 years of history, archeology, and the methods of social scienc...

    - Google

  47. 447 . The Death of Woman Wang MMP by Jonathan Spence

    Image of The Death of Woman Wang MMP

    In The Death of Woman Wang the award-winning historian Jonathan Spence paints a vivid picture of an obscure time and place: provincial China in the late 17th century. Drawing on a range of sources,...

    - Google

  48. 448 . "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman

    Image of "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character

    A New York Times bestseller—the outrageous exploits of one of this century's greatest scientific minds and a legendary American original. Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thri...

    - Google

  49. 449 . Scepticism and Animal Faith by George Santayana

    Image of Scepticism and Animal Faith

    Scepticism and Animal Faith (1923) is a later work by Spanish-born American philosopher George Santayana. He intended it to be "merely the introduction to a new system of philosophy," a work that w...

  50. 450 . The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle by Unknown

    Image of The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

    The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The annals were initially created late in the 9th century, probably in Wessex, during...

How is this list generated?

This list is generated from 114 "best of" book lists from a variety of great sources. An algorithm is used to create a master list based on how many lists a particular book appears on. Some lists count more than others. I generally trust "best of all time" lists voted by authors and experts over user-generated lists. On the lists that are actually ranked, the book that is 1st counts a lot more than the book that's 100th.

If you have any comments, suggestions, or corrections please feel free to e-mail me.

The Lists

If you're interested in the details about how the rankings are generated and which lists are the most important(in my eyes) please check out the list details page.

  1. Top 100 Works in World Literature

    The editors of the Norwegian Book Clubs, with the Norwegian Nobel Institute, polled a panel of 100 authors from 54 countries on what they considered the “best and most central works in world literature.” Among the authors polled were Milan Kundera, Doris Lessing, Seamus Heaney, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka, John Irving, Nadine Gordimer, and Carlos Fuentes. The list of 100 works appears alphabetically by author. Although the books were not ranked, the editors revealed that Don Quixote received 50% more votes than any other book.

    Norwegian Book Clubs, with the Norwegian Nobel Institute
  2. Great Books of the Western World

    Great Books of the Western World is a series of books originally published in the United States in 1952 by Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. to present the western canon in a single package of 54 volume...

    Great Books Foundation
  3. Biblioteca

    38 Argentinean Authors were polled by the Argentinean government for their favorite books. This is a tally of all books with more than 1 vote.

  4. El Pais Favorite Books of 100 Spanish Authors

    El Pais ran A Poll of 100 Spanish Authors and Their Favorite Books. This is summary of all the books

    El Pais
  5. Finest Works of Fiction

    In Novels and Novelists, A Guide to the World of Fiction (1980) Seymour-Smith and the other contributors selected about 55 works of fiction as receiving full marks on the four criteria used for evaluation: Readability, Characterization, Plot, and Literary Merit. These represent, for the contributors, the finest works of fiction that have been written.

    Martin Seymour-Smith and Editors
  6. For The Love of Books

    Ronald Schwartz polled 115 major writers about their favorite books, and published each of their ballots in the book “For the Love of Books”.

    For The Love of Books
  7. Pour une Bibliothèque Idéale

    "In the early 1950s Raymond Queneau asked several dozen French authors and critics to list the hundred books they would choose if they had to limit themselves to that number. He reproduced all their responses in the book Pour une Bibliothèque Idéale (Gallimard, 1956), along with the overall top 100 list reproduced above."

    Raymond Queneau
  8. The 25 Favorite Books of 100 Francophone Writers

    Télérama, a weekly French magazine, asked 100s of french authors to list their top 10 favorite books of all time.

  9. The Ideal Library

    100 prominent cultural figures, mostly writers, were polled for their choice of an "ideal library". The following list is a tally of every book that received at least 2 votes.

  10. The New Lifetime Reading Plan

    Clifton Paul "Kip" Fadiman (May 15, 1904 – June 20, 1999) was an American intellectual, author, editor, radio and television personality. The New Lifetime Reading Plan provides readers with brief, informative and entertaining introductions to more than 130 classics of world literature. From Homer to Hawthorne, Plato to Pascal, and Shakespeare to Solzhenitsyn, the great writers of Western civilization can be found in its pages. In addition, this new edition offers a much broader representation of women authors, such as Charlotte Bront%, Emily Dickinson and Edith Wharton, as well as non-Western writers such as Confucius, Sun-Tzu, Chinua Achebe, Mishima Yukio and many others. This fourth edition also features a simpler format that arranges the works chronologically in five sections (The Ancient World; 300-1600; 1600-1800; and The 20th Century), making them easier to look up than ever before. It deserves a place in the libraries of all lovers of literature.

    The New Lifetime Reading Plan
  11. The Top 10: The Greatest Books of All Time

    The Top 10 book chosen by 125 top writers from the book "The Top 10" edited by J. Peder Zane.

    The Top 10 (Book)
  12. The 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century

    The 100 best non-fiction books of all time judged by a panel of historians, authors, publishers, and experts for the National Review Magazine.

    National Review
  13. The 100 Greatest British Novels

    BBC Culture polled book critics outside the UK, to give an outsider’s perspective on the best in British literature.

  14. 100 Life-Changing Books

    National Book Award-winning authors got together to select what was, in their opinions, 100 life-changing books.

    National Book Award
  15. The 16 Greatest Books of All Time

    Two book editors for the present their list of the 16 greatest books of all time, with a list of runner-ups as well.

    NYU Local
  16. The 50 Best Books of the Century

    ISI defined "best" as "volumes of extraordinary reflection and creativity in a traditional form, which heartens us with the knowledge that fine writing and clear-mindedness are perennially possible." All the books are non-fiction. The first 5 are ranked, the rest are alphabetical.

    Intercollegiate Studies Institute
  17. The Bigger Read List

    The English PEN staff compiled a list of the best works not written in the English language. This list combines their list with the suggestions made by Fred Armentrout, President of Hong Kong (English-Speaking) PEN.

    English PEN
  18. The Celebrity Reading List

    The Gardiner Public Library, from 1988 to 2007, polled various famous figures from all around the world (writers, artists, filmmakers, politicians, actors, etc.) to ask for their book recommendations. This list is based on the books that received at least two mentions.

    Gardiner Public Library
  19. Koen Book Distributors Top 100 Books of the Past Century

    Intended as a companion to the infamous Modern Library ranking of the top 100 books of the past century, this list represents a different viewpoint--that of the booksellers themselves. Compiled from the responses of over 150 Koen Book Distributors customers, the following titles represent the very best in modern literature.
  20. Recommended Books

    "Discover which books made a difference in the early lives of the most eminent achievers of our times."

    Academy of Achievement
  21. The Modern Library | 100 Best Nonfiction

    The Modern Library
  22. ZEIT-Bibliothek der 100 Bücher

    Die Zeit
  23. "Best Foreign Work of Fiction"

    The French literary magazine Transfuge asked a group of francophone writers to pick their best foreign work of fiction. These are the results.

  24. Great Books

    "Great Books is an hour-long documentary and biography program that aired on The Learning Channel. The series was a project co-created by Walter Cronkite and former child actor Jonathan Ward under a deal they had with their company Cronkite-Ward, the The Discovery Channel, and The Learning Channel. Premiering on September 8, 1993, to coincide with International Literacy Day, the series took in-depth looks into some of literature's greatest fictional and nonfictional books and the authors who created them. The series is mostly narrated by Donald Sutherland." - Wikipedia

    The Learning Channel
  25. "Our Readable Century", The Best Books of the 20th Century

    Literary publication January Magazine polled writers for their favorite works of 2oth century fiction. These were the most mentioned books.

    January Magazine
  26. 100 Best Books

    Michael Sexson, English teacher at Montana State University, in 2000 had his class of 45 students compose a list of the 100 greatest works of literature ever written, in their collective opinions.

    Montana State University
  27. Select 100

    "This list was compiled by tabulating nominations by UWM faculty, staff and students for the Select 100. It includes changes which have resulted from nominations received since the original list was released. We asked you to recommend books which you have found to be so useful and important that no one could consider himself/herself an educated or enlightened person without having read them. This is your cumulative response."

    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  28. 50 Books That Changed the World

    "For centuries, books have been written in an attempt to share knowledge, inspiration, and discoveries. Sometimes those books make such an impact that they change the way the world thinks about things. The following books have done just that by providing readers an education in politics and government, literature, society, academic subjects such as science and math, and religion."

    Open Education Database
  29. Best German Novels of the Twentieth Century

    The Best German Novels of the Twentieth Century is a list of books compiled in 1999 by Literaturhaus München and Bertelsmann, in which 99 prominent German authors, literary critics, and scholars of German ranked the most significant German-language novels of the twentieth century. The group brought together 33 experts from each of the three categories. Each was allowed to name three books as having been the most important of the century.

  30. The 100 Best Books in the World

    German bookseller website makes their selection for the "100 greatest books ever written". (in German)
  31. The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written

    Easton Press's selection of the greatest books of the Western Canon.

    Easton Press
  32. Världsbiblioteket (The World Library)

    Världsbiblioteket (The World Library) was a Swedish list of the 100 best books in the world, made in 1991 by the Swedish literary magazine Tidningen Boken. The list was compiled through votes from members of the Svenska Akademien, Swedish Crime Writers' Academy, librarian, authors and others. Approximately 30 of the books were Swedish.

    Tidningen Boken
  33. 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

    A bucket list of books to create a well-read life, from Amazon Book Editors. (USA)
  34. 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

    Amazon UK editors select 100 books that they deem "essential". (UK)
  35. 110 Best Books: The Perfect Library

    From classics and sci-fi to poetry, biographies and books that changed the world… we present the ultimate reading list.

    The Telegraph
  36. 25 acclaimed international writers choose 25 of the best books from the last 25 years

    The 25 books were chosen by 25 respected names in international writing, many of whom have contributed over the years to Wasafiri magazine, including Indra Sinha, Blake Morrison and Fred D’Aguiar. Note: I don't think the voters understood "the last 25 years" bit. There are many books that are much much older.

    Wasafiri Magazine
  37. 48 Good Books

    Recommended literature by the Undergraduate Academies and Libraries of the University of Buffalo.

    University of Buffalo
  38. Books That Changed the World: The 50 Most Influential Books in Human History

    A 208 page book written in 2009 by Journalist and Author Andrew Taylor. Books from every field of human creativity and intellectual endeavor - from poetry to politics, from fiction to philosophy, from theology to anthropology, and from economics to physics – have been selected to create a rounded and satisfying picture of how 50 towering achievements of the human intellect have built our societies, shaped our values, enhanced our understanding of the nature of the world, enabled technological advancements, and reflected our concerns and dilemmas, strengths and failings. In a series of engaging and lively essays, Andrew Taylor sets each work and its author firmly in historical context, summarizes the content of the work in question, and explores its wider influence and legacy. A fascinating and richly informative read.

  39. Great Books

    A short list of essential works of the Western Canon, as selected scholar Anthony O'Hear.

    Anthony O'Hear
  40. How to Read and Why

    Information is endlessly available to us; where shall wisdom be found?" is the crucial question with which renowned literary critic Harold Bloom begins this impassioned book on the pleasures and benefits of reading well. For more than forty years, Bloom has transformed college students into lifelong readers with his unrivaled love for literature. Now, at a time when faster and easier electronic media threatens to eclipse the practice of reading, Bloom draws on his experience as critic, teacher, and prolific reader to plumb the great books for their sustaining wisdom. - Amazon

    Harold Bloom
  41. How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Reading List

    English professor Thomas C. Foster, at the end of his book, includes a recommended "reading list".

    Thomas C. Foster
  42. Masterpieces of World Literature

    Scholar Frank N. Magill’s famous literary studies reference book. A selection of over 200 of the greatest works of literature of all time

    Frank N. Magill
  43. Radcliffe's 100 Best Novels

    Radcliffe Publishing Course
  44. The Great Books Reader

    "In this volume you will be guided by esteemed professors and writers who have selected excerpts from the most important books in Western Civilization. A brief essay illuminates each excerpt and puts the work in context. Take your education to the next level by letting some of the best thinkers of today walk you through the most influential books in history."

  45. The Modern Library | 100 Best Novels

    Modern Library
  46. Top 100 World Literature Titles

    The top 100 titles for the world literature classroom, ranked in order of popularity, chosen by literature teachers from across the country.

    Perfection Learning
  47. 50 Books to Read Before You Die

    Complex Magazine's selection of 50 must-read books.

  48. The Greatest 20th Century Novels

    Waterstone’s 1999 poll of the greatest 20th century novels, according to British writers. This appeared to be the result of muddle in the way questions were put to and answered by the 47 authors, critics and media personalities who voted in the poll.

  49. The Millions: The Best Fiction of the Millennium

    A poll of The Millions contributors and 48 of their favorite writers, editors, and critics, asking a single question: “What are the best books of fiction of the millennium(2000), so far?” The results were robust, diverse, and surprising.

    The Millions
  50. Books That Changed the World

    Scholar Robert B. Downs selects the "great works that revolutionized our ideas about the universe - and ourselves".

  51. From Zero to Well-Read in 100 Books

    100 books that, in the opinion of editor-in-chief Jeff O'Neal, one should read before deeming themselves "well-read".

    Jeff O'Neal at
  52. Harvard Book Store Staff's Favorite 100 Books

    In early 2010 Harvard Book Store employees worked together to come up with a list of our favorite books. Each staff member submitted a list of their favorite books of all time, in (rough) order of preference. Their selections were then weighted according to the order and the results were tabulated. It was by no means a perfect system, but it was the best way we could think of to quantify opinions that are in no way quantifiable. Now, we read a lot, so it was hard to narrow it down. What we came up with are the books that moved us, that changed the way we think about the world, and that we will happily read over and over again. We hope you enjoy them too.

    Harvard Book Store
  53. The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written

    The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought from Ancient Times to Today (1998) is a book of intellectual history written by Martin Seymour-Smith (1928–1998), a British poet, critic, and biographer.

    Martin Seymour-Smith
  54. The 21st Century's 12 Greatest Novels

    The BBC polled a number of book critics to determine the greatest novels of the current century so far.

    BBC Poll
  55. TIME Magazine All Time 100 Novels

    Time critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo pick the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present.

    TIME Magazine
  56. 100 Best Novels in English Since 1900

    Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn's favorite novels since 1900.

  57. 50 Books to (Re-)Read at 50

    Your essential short list of novels, nonfiction and biographies Got some time on your hands? This list of 50 great books is a good way to raise your literary IQ. It's by no means the "definitive" list, but each of these masterpieces is at least as relevant and powerful today as when it was written. And they're all still terrific reads.

  58. 50 Greatest Books of All Time

    A list of the 50 greatest books of all time as determined by a panel of secret judges for Globe and Mail. The books are not ranked.

    Globe and Mail
  59. Best Books Ever

    "Whatever it's called we love a list of what we think are the best books of all time so we've compiled an entirely arbitrary and personal selection of 100 titles below for you to disagree with."
  60. In Which These Are the 100 Greatest Novels Editor Alex Carnevale selects his choices for the "100 Greatest Novels of All Time".
  61. The 100 Favorite Novels of Librarians

    Based on a survey of Librarians conducted by Brodart Co., September, 1998 - March, 1999. Brodart is an international company that services libraries around the world.
  62. The 100 Greatest Novels

    Critic Ted Gioia's selection of the 100 greatest novels ever written.
  63. The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time: The List

    The list of essential fiction from the past 300 years from Robert McCrum of The Observer.

    The Observer
  64. The best books in Spanish for the last 25 years

    50 critics, writers and booksellers from both sides of the Atlantic choose the milestones of the last quarter century.

    El Pais
  65. The College Board: 101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers

    The 101 great books recommended by "The College Board", an American not-for-profit organization that was formed in December 1899 as the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) to expand access to higher education.
  66. The Graphic Canon

    The classic canon of Western civilization meets the artists and illustrators who have remade reading in the last years of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century in Russ Kick's magisterial, three-volume, full-color The Graphic Canon, volumes 1, 2, and 3. - Amazon

  67. The Greatest Novel of All Time

    Author William Faulkner named Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" as the single greatest novel of all time.

    William Faulkner
  68. The Novel 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time

    The list below is from the book The Novel 100: A Ranking of Greatest Novels All Time (Checkmark Books/Facts On File, Inc.: New York, 2004), written by Daniel S. Burt.

    The Novel 100
  69. Third World Novels… The Top 10

    There are many gifted Third World writers who can help you transcend barriers of language and tradition but you might find it difficult to know where to start. As a guide, the NI has chosen its ten best novels - the ones which are both enjoyable to read and give a vivid impression of life in developing countries. They are not listed in any significant order.

    New Internationalist
  70. What Is the Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years?

    The New York Times Book Review's editor, Sam Tanenhaus, sent out a short letter to a couple of hundred prominent writers, critics, editors and other literary sages, asking them to please identify...

    New York Times
  71. W. Somerset Maugham’s Ten Greatest Novels of All Time

    Maugham's studies of the lives and masterpieces of ten great novelists are outstanding examples of literary criticism at its finest. Afforded here are some of the formulae of greatness in the genre, as well as the flaws and heresies which enfeeble it. Written by a master of fiction, "Ten Novels and Their Authors" is a unique and invaluable guide.

    Great Novelists and Their Novels
  72. 100 Essential Books

    The Brazilian cultural magazine Bravo! selects 100 essential books.

    Bravo! Magazine
  73. 50 Memorable Books from 50 Years of Books to Remember

    A representative selection from over 1500 titles on annual lists of Books to Remember from 1956 to 2005. Chosen by a group of librarians who are specialists in their genres, these outstanding works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry provide an informative or transformative reading experience, and are chosen for their literary excellence, uniqueness of concept and command of subject matter.

    The New York Public Library
  74. Donald Barthelme’s Reading List

    81 books recommended by Author Donald Barthelme to his students at the University of Houston.

    Believer Mag
  75. Greatest Prose Works of the 20th Century

    Author Vladimir Nabokov's selection of the Top 4 greatest prose works of the 20th century.

    Vladimir Nabokov
  76. The Best Classics

    The Times selection of the 100 best classic works of literature.

    The Times
  77. The Best Southern Nonfiction of All Time

    The best southern United States nonfiction books of all time judged by 130 literary experts and authors.

    Oxford American
  78. The 80 Books Every Man Should Read

    An unranked, incomplete, utterly biased list of the greatest works of literature ever published.

  79. 100 Best Novels Written in English

    Respected literary critic Robert McCrum selects the definitive 100 novels written in English.

    The Guardian
  80. 100 Major Works of Modern Creative Nonfiction

    Essays, memoirs, autobiographies, biographies, travel writing, history, cultural studies, nature writing--all fit under the broad heading of creative nonfiction, and all are represented here: a list of 100 major works of creative nonfiction published by British and American writers over the past 80 years.
  81. 100 Most Influential Books of the Century

    Boston Public Library's list of "The 100 Most Influential Books of the Century". A booklist for Adults.

    Boston Public Library
  82. 20th Century's Greatest Hits: 100 English-Language Books of Fiction

    The 20th Century’s Greatest Hits: 100 English-Language Books of Fiction is a popular "best of" list compiled by Larry McCaffery largely in response to Modern Library 100 Best Novels list (1999), which McCaffery saw as being out of touch with 20th-century fiction. McCaffery writes that he sees his list "as a means of sharing with readers my own views about what books are going to be read 100 or 1000 years from now".

    Larry McCaffery
  83. 50 Books to Read Before You Die

    Barnes and Noble's selection of the 50 most essential books.

    Barnes and Noble
  84. Books of the Decade

    The 50 books that defined the decade(2000)

    The Guardian
  85. Costa Book Award - Best Novel

    The Costa Book Awards are a series of literary awards given to books by authors based in the United Kingdom and Ireland. They were known as the Whitbread Book Awards until 2005, after which Costa Coffee, a subsidiary of Whitbread, took over sponsorship. The awards, launched in 1971, are given both for high literary merit but also for works that are enjoyable reading and whose aim is to convey the enjoyment of reading to the widest possible audience. As such, they are a more populist literary prize than the Booker Prize.

    Costa Coffee
  86. D. G. Myers’ 50 Greatest English Language Novels

    D. G. Myers’, critic and literary historian’s 50 Greatest English Language Novels. A critic and literary historian for nearly a quarter of a century at Texas A&M and Ohio State.

    D. G. Myers
  87. Entertainment Weekly's Top 100 Novels

    Entertainment Weekly’s Top 100 Novels (2013), as selected by the EW staff in its July 5th 2013 issue

    Entertainment Weekly
  88. Extreme Classics: The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time

    The 100 greatest adventure books chosen by National Geographic.

    National Geographic Adventure Magazine
  89. Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century

    The 100 Books of the Century (French: Les cent livres du siècle) is a list of the one hundred best books of the 20th century, according to a poll conducted in the spring of 1999 by the French retailer Fnac and the Paris newspaper Le Monde. Starting from a preliminary list of 200 titles created by bookshops and journalists, 17,000 French voted by responding to the question, "Which books have stayed in your memory?" (« Quels livres sont restés dans votre mémoire ? »). The list of acclaimed titles mixes great novels with poetry and theatre, as well as the comic strip. The first fifty works on the list were the subject of an essay by Frédéric Beigbeder, The Last Inventory Before Liquidation, in which he notably drew attention to its French-centred character.

    Le Monde
  90. Man Booker Prize

    The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, also known in short as the Booker Prize, is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of either the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland, or Zimbabwe.[1] The winner of the Booker Prize is generally assured of international renown and success and, for this reason, the prize is of great significance for the book trade.[2] It is also a mark of distinction for authors to be nominated for the Booker longlist or selected for inclusion in the shortlist.

    Man Booker Prize
  91. Modern classics: 11 novels that belong in the classroom

    When we think of English lit classes, we usually think of Hawthorne, Melville, Austen, Tolstoy, Dickens. But the times, they are a-changin’ and so too are the books we read, both in and out of the classroom. Since the millennium, a lot of good—nay, great—books have been published by masterful authors, all of whom are deserving of a spot on a high school or college curriculum. And as evidenced by these 11 novels, whoever said there were no new ideas didn’t know what they were talking about.
  92. National Book Award - Fiction

    The National Book Awards are among the most eminent literary prizes in the United States. Started in 1950, the awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the prior year, as well as lifetime achievement awards including the "Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters" and the "Literarian Award". The purpose of the awards is "to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America.

    National Book Foundation
  93. National Book Award - Nonfiction

    The National Book Awards are among the most eminent literary prizes in the United States. Started in 1950, the awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the prior year, as well as lifetime achievement awards including the "Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters" and the "Literarian Award". The purpose of the awards is "to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America.

    National Book Foundation
  94. National Book Critics Circle Award - Fiction

    The National Book Critics Circle Award is an annual award given by the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) to promote the finest books and reviews published in English.

    National Book Critics Circle
  95. National Book Critics Circle Award - Nonfiction

    The National Book Critics Circle Award is an annual award given by the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) to promote the finest books and reviews published in English.

    National Book Critics Circle
  96. Paste Magazine's Best Books of the Decade(2000-2009)

    The top 20 best books of the 2000s by Paste Magazine. It includes both fiction and nonfiction.

    Paste Magazine
  97. PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

    The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is awarded annually by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to the author of the best American work of fiction that year. The winner receives US $15,000 and each of four runners-up receives US $5000. The foundation brings the winner and runners-up to Washington, D.C. to read from their works at the Great Hall of the Folger Shakespeare Library. The PEN/Faulkner Foundation is an outgrowth of William Faulkner's generosity in donating his 1949 Nobel Prize winnings, "to establish a fund to support and encourage new fiction writers." Mary Lee Settle was also one of the founders after controversy at the 1979 National Book Award.[1] It is affiliated with the writers' organization International PEN. The award was first given in 1980.

  98. Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography

    The Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography has been presented since 1917 for a distinguished biography or autobiography by an American author.

    Pulitzer Prize
  99. Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

    All the books that have won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction from 1948 to the present.

    Pulitzer Prize
  100. Pulitzer Prize for History

    The Pulitzer Prize for History has been awarded since 1917 for a distinguished book upon the history of the United States. Many history books have also been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. Two people have won the Pulitzer Prize for History twice; Margaret Leech, for Reveille in Washington, 1860-1865 in 1941 and In the Days of McKinley in 1960, and Bernard Bailyn, for The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1968) and Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution (1987).

    Pulitzer Prize
  101. Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction

    The Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction has been awarded since 1962 for a distinguished book of non-fiction by an American author that is not eligible for consideration in any other category.

    Pulitzer Prize
  102. Robert McCrum's top 10 books of the twentieth century

    Robert McCrum is The Observer's literary editor and the author of, among other books, My Year Off. This is a list of this top 10 books of the twentieth century.

    The Guardian
  103. The 100 Best Books of the Decade(2000)

    The Time's list of the 100 Best Books of the 2000s. It's a mix of fiction and nonfiction.

  104. The 100 Greatest American Novels, 1893 – 1993

    The 100 greatest american novels picked by Jeff O’Neal, Editor-in-Chief & Co-founder of

    Jeff O'Neal at
  105. The 10 Best of the Decade(2000)

    Entertainment Weekly's top 10 best books of the 2000s

    Entertainment Weekly
  106. The 50 Books Everyone Needs to Read, 1963-2013

    The choices here are influenced by the following: the stipulation that any specific author should not be chosen for more than one year, a general focus on fiction over other genres, and the tastes/whims/glaring prejudices of Flavorwire’s literary editor.

    Flavor Wire
  107. The 75 Best Books of the Past 75 Years

    A list of voted on by 17 employees(book sellers) at Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN for Parade Magazine.

    Parade Magazine
  108. The Best Books of the 2000s

    The Best Books of the 2000s according to the Onion AV club. Includes Fiction and Nonfiction.

    The Onion AV Club
  109. The Best Southern Novels of All Time

    A list of the best southern novels of all time by Oxford American Magazine judged by 130 experts as well as authors.

    Oxford American
  110. The Book of Great Books: A Guide to 100 World Classics

    Editor W. John Campbell provides explanations and summaries for 100 of the world's best books.

  111. The Dream of the Great American Novel

    Writer Lawrence Buell discusses the primary contenders for the title of the "Great American Novel".

  112. The New Classics - 100 Best Reads from 1983 to 2008

    Entertainment Weekly's list of the 100 best reads from 1983 to 2008.

    Entertainment Weekly
  113. The Telegraph’s 100 Novels Everyone Should Read

    The best novels of all time from Tolkien to Proust and Middlemarch

  114. Top 10 British, Irish or Commonwealth Novels from 1980 to 2005

    The Observer asked 150 literary luminaries to vote for the best British, Irish or Commonwealth novel from 1980 to 2005.

    The Observer