The Greatest Nonfiction Books Since 2000

all | 2000 | 1990 | 1980 | 1970 | 1950 | 1900 |
  1. 51 . Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

    Image of Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

    Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity is a non-fiction book written by the Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo in 2012. It won the National Book Award and the L...


  2. 52 . The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

    Image of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

    An assessment of cancer addresses both the courageous battles against the disease and the misperceptions and hubris that have compromised modern understandings, providing coverage of such topics as...

    - Google

  3. 53 . The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T. J. Stiles

    Image of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

    A biography of the combative man whose genius and force of will created modern capitalism, documenting how Vanderbilt helped launch the transportation revolution, propel the Gold Rush, reshape Manh...

    - Google

  4. 54 . Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum

    Image of Gulag: A History

    The book charts the history of the Gulag organization from its beginnings in the Solovki prison camp and the construction of the White Sea Canal through its explosive growth in the Great Terror and...


  5. 55 . Sons of Mississippi by Paul Hendrickson

    Image of Sons of Mississippi

    To help us understand racism in America, former Washington Post journalist Hendrickson tells the story of the seven white Mississippi sheriffs shown admiring a billy club in a famed 1962 photograph.


  6. 56 . Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich

    Image of Voices from Chernobyl

    Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster is a 2005 book by Svetlana Alexievich. Alexievich was a journalist living in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, at the time of the Chernoby...


  7. 57 . Rough Crossings by Simon Schama

    Image of Rough Crossings

    Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution is a history book and television series by Simon Schama. This gives an account of the history of thousands of enslaved African Amer...


  8. 58 . Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy by Carlos Eire

    Image of Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy

    A childhood in a privileged household in 1950s Havana is joyous and cruel, like any other — but with exotic differences. Lizards roam the house and grounds. Fights aren't waged with snowballs but w...


  9. 59 . A Nation under Our Feet by Steven Hahn

    Image of A Nation under Our Feet

    A Nation under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book written in 2003 by Steven Hahn. The book is a history of t...


  10. 60 . American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Matteson


  11. 61 . The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas by Louis Menand

    Image of The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas

    The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America is a Pulitzer Prize-winning 2001 book by Louis Menand, an American writer and legal scholar. The Metaphysical Club recounts the lives and intellec...


  12. 62 . Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed

    Image of Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World

    Argues that the stock market crash of 1929 and subsequent Depression occurred as a result of poor decisions on the part of four central bankers who jointly attempted to reconstruct international fi...

    - Google

  13. 63 . The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner

    Image of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery

    In a landmark work of deep scholarship and insight, Foner gives us a life of Lincoln as it intertwined with slavery, the defining issue of the time and the tragic hallmark of American history. The ...

    - Google

  14. 64 . Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World by Maya Jasanoff

    Image of Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World

    A global history of the post-Revolutionary War exodus of 60,000 Americans loyal to the British Empire to such regions as Canada, India and Sierra Leone traces the experiences of specific individual...

    - Google

  15. 65 . Vera by Stacy Schiff


  16. 66 . Unfinished Business by Stephen Bonsal


  17. 67 . Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable

    Image of Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention

    Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for History Hailed as "a masterpiece" (San Francisco Chronicle), the late Manning Marable's acclaimed biography of Malcolm X finally does justice to one of the mos...

    - Google

  18. 68 . Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    Image of Between the World and Me

    Between the World and Me is a 2015 book written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and published by Spiegel & Grau. It is written as a letter to the author's teenaged son about the feelings, symbolism, and realit...


  19. 69 . Khrushchev: The Man and His Era by William Taubman


  20. 70 . Eden's Outcasts by John Matteson

    Image of Eden's Outcasts

    -

  21. 71 . The Most Famous Man in America by Debby Applegate


  22. 72 . Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall

    Image of Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam

    A history of the four decades leading up to the Vietnam War offers insights into how the U.S. became involved, identifying commonalities between the campaigns of French and American forces while di...

    - Google

  23. 73 . The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy by David Hoffman

    Image of The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy

    A history of the end of the arms race describes the Soviet Union's development of an automatic retaliatory attack system, the United States's efforts to create space-based missile defenses, and the...

    - Google

  24. 74 . de Kooning by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan

    Image of de Kooning

    -

  25. 75 . W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and The American Century by David Levering Lewis

    Image of W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and The American Century

    William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (pronounced /duːˈbɔɪs/ doo-BOYSS) (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was an American civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, historian, author, and e...


  26. 76 . What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe

    Image of What Hath God Wrought

    The book tracks the period in American history from the end of the War of 1812 to the end of the Mexican American War. It is focused on the revolutionary changes in transportation and communication...


  27. 77 . American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

    Image of American Prometheus

    American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer is a biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2005. Twenty-five yea...


  28. 78 . In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

    Image of In the Heart of the Sea

    In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex is a National Book Award winning work of maritime history by Nathaniel Philbrick. It tells the story of the Whaleship Essex from the poin...


  29. 79 . The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor

    Image of The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832

    National Book Award Finalist: Impressively researched and beautifully crafted . . . a brilliant account of slavery in Virginia during and after the Revolution. Mark M. Smith, Wall Street Journal"

    - Google

  30. 80 . Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin

    Image of Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation

    Recounts the decades-long saga of the New Jersey seaside town plagued by childhood cancers caused by air and water pollution due to the indiscriminate dumping of toxic chemicals.

    - Google

  31. 81 . The Race Beat by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff

    Image of The Race Beat

    The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book written in 2006 by journalists Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff. The book is about...


  32. 82 . Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover

    Image of Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing

    Acclaimed journalist Conover sets a new standard for reporting when he applies for a job as a prison officer. So begins his odyssey at Sing Sing, once a model prison but now the New York State's mo...


  33. 83 . Arc of Justice by Kevin Boyle

    Image of Arc of Justice

    In this electrifying story of the sensational murder trial that divided Detroit and ignited the civil rights struggle, Boyle weaves a tapestry of narrative history that documents the volatile Ameri...


  34. 84 . Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky

    Image of Polio: An American Story

    Polio: An American Story is a book by David M. Oshinsky, professor of history at The University of Texas at Austin, which documents the polio epidemic in the United States during the 1940s and 1950...


  35. 85 . An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson

    Image of An Army at Dawn

    An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa 1942-1943 is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book written in 2002 by long-time Washington Post correspondent Rick Atkinson. The book is a history of the North Afri...


  36. 86 . Ghost Wars by Steve Coll

    Image of Ghost Wars

    The book describes the CIA's efforts in Afghanistan to include the covert paramilitary programs against the Soviet Union and the Taliban. It also includes detailed descriptions of operations that a...


  37. 87 . The Years of Extermination by Saul Friedlander

    Image of The Years of Extermination

    The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 is the second volume of Saul Friedlander's history of Nazi Germany and the Jews. It won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction i...


  38. 88 . Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington

    Image of Medical Apartheid

    Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present is a 2007 book by Harriet A. Washington. It is a comprehensive history of medica...


  39. 89 . The Reformation by Diarmaid MacCulloch

    Image of The Reformation

    The Reformation: A History (2003) is a history book by English historian Diarmaid MacCulloch. It is a survey of the European Reformation between 1490 and 1700. It won the 2004 National Book Critics...


  40. 90 . Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King

    Image of Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America

    Arguably the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court when...

    - Google

  41. 91 . Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon

    Image of Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity

    From the National Book Award–winning author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression comes a monumental new work, a decade in the writing, about family. In Far from the Tree, Andrew Solomon tel...

    - Google

  42. 92 . Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink

    Image of Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

    One of the New York Times’s Best Ten Books of the Year Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction Winner of the 2014 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Pri...

    - Google

  43. 93 . Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan by Herbert P. Bix

    Image of Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

    Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan is a book by Herbert P. Bix on Emperor Hirohito, emperor of Japan from December 25, 1926 until his death on January 7, 1989, won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for ...


  44. 94 . Carry Me Home by Diane McWhorter

    Image of Carry Me Home

    Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution, written by Diane McWhorter and published by Simon & Schuster in 2001, won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize an...


  45. 95 . Imperial Reckoning by Caroline Elkins

    Image of Imperial Reckoning

    Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya written by Caroline Elkins, published by Henry Holt, won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.


  46. 96 . Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer

    Image of Washington's Crossing

    Washington's Crossing is a Pulitzer Prize winning book written by David Hackett Fischer and part of the "Pivotal Moments in American History" series. The book is primarily about George Washington's...


  47. 97 . A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power

    Image of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide

    "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide is a book by Samantha Power, Professor of Human Rights Practice at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, which explores America's un...


  48. 98 . Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner

    Image of Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA

    Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA is a 2007 book by Tim Weiner. Legacy of Ashes is a detailed history of the Central Intelligence Agency from its creation after World War II, through the Cold...


  49. 99 . The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan

    Image of The Worst Hard Time

    The dust storms that terrorized the High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since. Timothy Egan's critically acclaimed account rescues this iconic c...


  50. 100 . Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper by Nicholson Baker

    Image of Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper

    Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper is a non-fiction book by Nicholson Baker that was published in April, 2001. An excerpt appeared in the July 24, 2000 issue of The New Yorker, under t...


How is this list generated?


This list is generated from 115 "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.

    Argentina
  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. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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.

    Telerama
  8. 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.

    Book
  9. 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)
  10. 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
  11. 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.

    BBC
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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.

    themodernnovel.com
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. Recommended Books

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

    Academy of Achievement
  19. The 16 Greatest Books of All Time

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

    NYU Local
  20. 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
  21. "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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. "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.

    Transfuge
  25. 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.

    Wikipedia
  26. The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written

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

    Easton Press
  27. The Modern Library | 100 Best Nonfiction

    The Modern Library
  28. The Modern Library | 100 Best Novels

    Modern Library
  29. 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
  30. ZEIT-Bibliothek der 100 Bücher

    Die Zeit
  31. 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

    Amazon UK editors select 100 books that they deem "essential".

    Amazon.com (UK)
  32. 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

    A bucket list of books to create a well-read life, from Amazon Book Editors.

    Amazon.com (USA)
  33. 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
  34. 48 Good Books

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

    University of Buffalo
  35. 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
  36. 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.

    Waterstone
  37. 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
  38. 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
  39. 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.

    Bookman.com
  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. 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
  43. 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
  44. 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.

    Book
  45. Great Books

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

    Anthony O'Hear
  46. 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
  47. 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
  48. 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
  49. Radcliffe's 100 Best Novels

    Radcliffe Publishing Course
  50. The 100 Best Books in the World

    German bookseller website AbeBooks.de makes their selection for the "100 greatest books ever written".

    AbeBooks.de (in German)
  51. 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."

    Book
  52. 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
  53. 100 Essential Books

    The Brazilian cultural magazine Bravo! selects 100 essential books.

    Bravo! Magazine
  54. 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."

    bookdepository.com
  55. 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
  56. The Best Classics

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

    The Times
  57. 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.

    http://www.uhlibrary.net/pdf/college_board_recommended_books.pdf
  58. 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
  59. 50 Books to Read Before You Die

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

    Complex
  60. Books That Changed the World

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

    Book
  61. From Zero to Well-Read in 100 Books

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

    Jeff O'Neal at Bookriot.com
  62. In Which These Are the 100 Greatest Novels

    ThisRecording.com Editor Alex Carnevale selects his choices for the "100 Greatest Novels of All Time".

    ThisRecording.com
  63. 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
  64. 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
  65. 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
  66. 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
  67. 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
  68. 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.

    PEN/Faulkner
  69. 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
  70. Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

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

    Pulitzer Prize
  71. 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
  72. 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
  73. The 100 Greatest Novels

    Critic Ted Gioia's selection of the 100 greatest novels ever written.

    greatbooksguide.com
  74. 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
  75. 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
  76. 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
  77. The Greatest Novel of All Time

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

    William Faulkner
  78. 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
  79. 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
  80. 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
  81. 100 Best Novels in English Since 1900

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

    Counterpunch
  82. 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.

    nextavenue
  83. Donald Barthelme’s Reading List

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

    Believer Mag
  84. 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
  85. The 80 Books Every Man Should Read

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

    Esquire
  86. 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

    Book
  87. The Telegraph’s 100 Novels Everyone Should Read

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

    Telegraph
  88. 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
  89. 100 Best Novels Written in English

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

    The Guardian
  90. 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.

    About.com
  91. 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
  92. 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
  93. 50 Books to Read Before You Die

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

    Barnes and Noble
  94. 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
  95. Books of the Decade

    The 50 books that defined the decade(2000)

    The Guardian
  96. 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
  97. 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
  98. 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
  99. Extreme Classics: The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time

    The 100 greatest adventure books chosen by National Geographic.

    National Geographic Adventure Magazine
  100. 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
  101. 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
  102. 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.

    Today.com
  103. 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
  104. 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
  105. 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.

    Times
  106. The 100 Greatest American Novels, 1893 – 1993

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

    Jeff O'Neal at Bookriot.com
  107. The 10 Best of the Decade(2000)

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

    Entertainment Weekly
  108. 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
  109. 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
  110. 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
  111. 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
  112. 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.

    Book
  113. The Dream of the Great American Novel

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

    Book
  114. 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
  115. Waterstone's Books of the Century

    Waterstones is a bookstore chain with more than 200 stores in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Europe. In January 1997, Waterstones announced the results of its Books of the Century poll to find out what the public considered to be the hundred greatest books of the twentieth century. Over 25, 000 people took part in the poll and the Book of the Century was revealed as J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

    LibraryThing