The Greatest Books of All Time


How is this list generated?


This list is generated from 128 "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'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.

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


  1. 451 . Life, a User's Manual by Georges Perec

    Over twenty years ago, Godine published the first English translation of Georges Perec's masterpiece, Life A User's Manual, hailed by the Times Literary Supplement, Boston Globe, and others as "one...

    - Google
  2. 452 . The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell

    A critical and commercial success, the books present four perspectives on a single set of events and characters in Alexandria, Egypt, before and during World War II. As Durrell explains in his p...

  3. 453 . A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

    With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. The time is ...

    - Google
  4. 454 . A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor

    The collection that established O'Connor's reputation as one of the american masters of the short story. The volume contains the celebrated title story, a tale of the murderous fugitive "The Misfit...

  5. 455 . Under the Net by Iris Murdoch

    Murdoch, a philosophy don at Oxford, was that rarity, a philosophical novelist who could create real characters, not premises with names attached. Born in Ireland, she revered Wittgenstein, who fos...

    - Time
  6. 456 . Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O'Neill

    Mourning Becomes Electra is a play cycle written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. The play premiered on Broadway at the Guild Theatre on 26 October 1931 where it ran for 150 performances befo...

  7. 457 . The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles

    The novel's protagonist is Sarah Woodruff, the title Woman, also known by the nickname of “Tragedy”, and by the unfortunate nickname “The French Lieutenant’s Whore”. She lives in the coastal town o...

  8. 458 . Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware

    Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth is a widely-acclaimed graphic novel by Chris Ware, published in 2000. The story was previously serialized in the pages of Ware's comic book Acme Novelty L...

  9. 459 . Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

    In Scoop, surreptitiously dubbed "a newspaper adventure," Waugh flays Fleet Street and the social pastimes of its war correspondants as he tells how William Boot became the star of British super-jo...

  10. 460 . In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway

    When In Our Time was published in 1925, it was praised by Ford Madox Ford, John Dos Passos, and F. Scott Fitzgerald for its simple and precise use of language to convey a wide range of complex emot...

  11. 461 . The Lusiad by Luís Vaz Camões

    Os Lusíadas (Portuguese pronunciation: [uʒ luˈzi.ɐðɐʃ]), usually translated as The Lusiads, is a Portuguese epic poem by Luís Vaz de Camões (sometimes anglicized as Camoens). Written in Homeric fas...

    - Google
  12. 462 . Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

    When a girl leaves home at eighteen, she does one of two things. Either she falls into saving hands and becomes better, or she rapidly assumes the cosmopolitan standard of virtue and becomes worse....

  13. 463 . Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

    Suite française is the title of a planned sequence of five novels by Irène Némirovsky, a French writer of Ukrainian Jewish origin. In July 1942, having just completed the first two of the series, N...

  14. 464 . Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope

    Barchester Towers, published in 1857, is the second novel in Anthony Trollope's series known as the "Chronicles of Barsetshire". Among other things it satirises the then raging antipathy in the Chu...

  15. 465 . Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee

    For decades the Magistrate has been a loyal servant of the Empire, running the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement and ignoring the impending war with the barbarians. When interrogation experts a...

  16. 466 . The Quiet American by Graham Greene

    As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for...

  17. 467 . Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee

    The beloved bestselling autobiography of an English boyhood Three years old and wrapped in a Union Jack to protect him from the sun, Laurie Lee arrived in the village of Slad in the final summer of...

    - Google
  18. 468 . The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty

    Stories are as good in themselves and as influential on the aspirations of others as any since Hemingway's. The breadth of Welty's offering is finally most visible not in the variety of types--farc...

  19. 469 . London Fields by Martin Amis

    London Fields is Amis's murder story for the end of the millennium. The murderee is Nicola Six, a "black hole" of sex and self-loathing intent on orchestrating her own extinction. The murderer may ...

    - Google
  20. 470 . The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

    The White Tiger is the debut novel by Indian author Aravind Adiga. It was first published in 2008 and won the Man Booker Prize for the same year. The novel studies the contrast between India's rise...

  21. 471 . The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (originally The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere) is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and published in 1798 in the ...

  22. 472 . The Awakening by Kate Chopin

    First published in 1899, this novel shocked readers with its open sensuality and uninhibited treatment of marital infidelity. Poignant and lyrical, it tells the story of a New Orleans wife who atte...

  23. 473 . The Shining by Stephen King

    The Shining is a 1977 horror novel by American author Stephen King. The title was inspired by the John Lennon song "Instant Karma!", which contained the line "We all shine on…". It was King's third...

  24. 474 . Dom Casmurro by Machado de Assis

    Dom Casmurro, written by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, was first published in Brazil in 1899. Like The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas and Quincas Borba, both by Machado de Assis, it is a master...

  25. 475 . Some Prefer Nettles by Junichiro Tanizaki

    The conflict between traditional and modern Japanese culture is at the heart of this novel. Kaname is a smug, modern man living in a modern marriage. He gamely allows his wife to become the lover o...

    - Google
  26. 476 . Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter

    Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe's capitals, part swan...or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordinaire and star of Colonel Kearn...

    - Google
  27. 477 . The Human Stain by Philip Roth

    The Human Stain is set in 1990s America, the time of the culture wars, political correctness and the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal. The story is told by Nathan Zuckerman, a writer who lives ...

  28. 478 . The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen

    The Death of the Heart is a 1938 novel by Elizabeth Bowen set between the two world wars. It is about a sixteen year old orphan, Portia Quayne, who moves to London to live with her half-brother Tho...

  29. 479 . Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake

    Songs of Innocence and of Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul are two books of poetry by the English poet and painter, William Blake. Although Songs of Innocence was first...

  30. 480 . Underworld by Don DeLillo

    Underworld is a postmodern novel written in 1997 by Don DeLillo. It was nominated for the National Book Award, is one of his better-known novels, and was a best-seller.

  31. 481 . The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector

    In a haunting psychological tale of despair and freedom, Macabea is ugly, underfed, sickly, and unloved yet she fascinates Rodrigo because she is unaware of how unhappy she should be

    - Google
  32. 482 . American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

    In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the y...

    - Google
  33. 483 . The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

    It is the fictional autobiography about the life of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman whose life is marked by death and loss from the beginning, when her mother dies during childbirt...

  34. 484 . The Giver by Lois Lowry

    The Giver is a 1993 soft science fiction novel by Lois Lowry. It is set in a future society which is at first presented as a utopian society and gradually appears more and more dystopian; therefore...

  35. 485 . The Magus by John Fowles

    A man trapped in a millionare's deadly game of political and sexual betrayal. Filled with shocks and chilling surprises, "The Magus" is a masterwork of contemporary literature. In it, a young Engli...

  36. 486 . I'm Not Stiller by Max Frisch

    Max Rudolf Frisch (May 15, 1911 – April 4, 1991) was a Swiss architect, playwright and novelist, regarded as highly representative of German literature after World War II. In his creative works Fri...

  37. 487 . Jazz by Toni Morrison

    In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, shoots his teenage lover to death. At...

  38. 488 . Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

    Arrowsmith tells the story of bright and scientifically-minded Martin Arrowsmith as he makes his way from a small town in the Midwest to the upper echelons of the scientific community. (He is born ...

  39. 489 . The Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

    Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday is a 1973 novel by the American author Kurt Vonnegut. Set in the fictional town of Midland City, it is the story of "two lonesome, skinny, fairly old ...

  40. 490 . Othello by William Shakespeare

    Othello, the Moor of Venice is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1603, and based on the Italian short story "Un Capitano Moro" ("A Moorish Captain") b...

  41. 491 . Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers

    A simple invitation to join his friend Davies on a yachting expedition in the Baltic is the beginning of an extraordinary and dangerous adventure for the bored and worldly but clever Carruthers. As...

  42. 492 . Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

    While staying as the guest of a factory owner in pre-First World War France, Stephen Wraysford embarks on a passionate affair with Isabelle, the wife of his host. The affair changes them both for e...

    - Google
  43. 493 . Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

    When Babbitt was first published in 1922, fans gleefully hailed its scathing portrait of a crass, materialistic nation; critics denounced it as an unfair skewering of the American businessman. Spar...

  44. 494 . A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

    A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy written by William Shakespeare between 1590 and 1596. It is one of his most played pieces. The events of the play take place in and around Athens in ancient Gr...

    - Google
  45. 495 . The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

    The Blind Assassin is an award winning, bestselling novel by the Canadian author Margaret Atwood. It was first published by McClelland and Stewart in 2000. Set in Canada, it is narrated from the pr...

  46. 496 . Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar

    When La Maga, his mistress, disappears, Horacio Oliveira, an Argentinian writer living in Paris, decides to return home to Buenos Aires.

    - Google
  47. 497 . Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

    Who are you? What have we done to each other? These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The pol...

    - Google
  48. 498 . The Wasp Factory: A Novel by Iain Banks

    The polarizing literary debut by Scottish author Ian Banks, The Wasp Factory is the bizarre, imaginative, disturbing, and darkly comic look into the mind of a child psychopath. Meet Frank Cauldhame...

    - Google
  49. 499 . Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan

    Endearing, self-absorbed, seventeen-year-old Cécile is the very essence of untroubled amorality. Freed from the stifling constraints of boarding school, she joins her father—a handsome, still-young...

    - Google
  50. 500 . Perfume by Patrick Suskind

    Survivor, genius, perfumer, killer: this is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He is abandoned on the filthy streets as a child, but grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more ...

    - Google