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. 501 . The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke

    This is the definitive, widely acclaimed translation of the major prose work of one of our century's greatest poets -- "a masterpiece like no other" (Elizabeth Hardwick) -- Rilke's only novel, extr...

    - Google
  2. 502 . Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

    This, the first of Ian Flemings tales of secret agent 007, finds Bond on a mission to neutralize a lethal, high-rolling Russian operative called Le Chiffreby ruining him at the baccarat table.

    - Google
  3. 503 . The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

    Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies established this young writer as one the most brilliant of her generation. Her stories are one of the very few debut works -- and only a handful of collectio...

    - Google
  4. 504 . The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

    The shortest of Pynchon's novels and often considered his most accessible, the book is about a woman, Oedipa Maas, possibly unearthing the centuries-old conflict between two mail distribution compa...

  5. 505 . The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

    The Day of the Triffids is a post-apocalyptic novel written in 1951 by the English science fiction author John Wyndham. Although Wyndham had already published other novels, this was the first publi...

  6. 506 . Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger

    Franny and Zooey, a sister and brother both in their 20s, are the two youngest members of the Glass family, which was a frequent focus of Salinger's writings. The action of both parts takes place o...

  7. 507 . The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The story is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal,...

  8. 508 . Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

    The magnificent second novel from the legendary author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Following the astonishing success of his first novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey wrote what...

    - Google
  9. 509 . The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

    The Heart of the Matter deals with Catholicism and moral change in the protagonist, Scobie (a police officer). Greene was a British intelligence officer stationed in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He drew...

  10. 510 . Home by Marilynne Robinson

    Home is a novel written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning American author Marilynne Robinson. Published in 2008, it is Robinson's third novel, preceded by Housekeeping in 1980 and Gilead in 2004.

  11. 511 . Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

    Rostand's hero has become a figure of theatrical legend: Cyrano, with the nose of a clown and the soul of a poet, is by turns comic and sad, as reckless in love as in war, and never at a loss for w...

    - Google
  12. 512 . The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

    The Kite Runner is a novel by the author Khaled Hosseini. Published in 2003 by Riverhead Books, it is Hosseini's first novel, and was adapted into a film of the same name in 2007.

  13. 513 . Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson

    Collection of short stories from Denis Johnson

  14. 514 . Trojan Women by Euripides

    The Trojan Women (Ancient Greek: Τρῳάδες, Trōiades), also known as Troades, is a tragedy by the Greek playwright Euripides. Produced in 415 BC during the Peloponnesian War, it is often considered a...

  15. 515 . The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain

    An amoral young tramp. A beautiful, sullen woman with an inconvenient husband. A problem that has only one grisly solution — a solution that only creates other problems that no one can ever solve. ...

  16. 516 . A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

    The kingdom of the royal Stark family faces its ultimate challenge in the onset of a generation-long winter, the poisonous plots of the rival Lannisters, the emergence of the Neverborn demons, and ...

    - Google
  17. 517 . The Sonnets by William Shakespeare

    Shakespeare's sonnets, or simply The Sonnets, is a collection of poems in sonnet form written by William Shakespeare that deal with such themes as time, love, beauty and mutability. They were proba...

  18. 518 . The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

    In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, si...

    - Google
  19. 519 . A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

    Larry Cook is an aging farmer who decides to incorporate his farm, handing complete and joint ownership to his three daughters, Ginny, Rose, and Caroline. When the youngest daughter objects, she is...

  20. 520 . Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

    It tells the story of Oscar Hopkins, the Cornish son of a Plymouth Brethren minister who becomes an Anglican priest, and Lucinda Leplastrier, a young Australian heiress who buys a glass factory. Th...

  21. 521 . The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki

    Tanizaki's masterpiece is the story of four sisters, and the declining fortunes of a traditional Japanese family. It is a loving and nostalgic recreation of the sumptuous, intricate upper-class lif...

    - Google
  22. 522 . The Prelude by William Wordsworth

    The Prelude; or, Growth of a Poet's Mind is an autobiographical, "philosophical" poem in blank verse by the English poet William Wordsworth. Wordsworth wrote the first version of the poem when he w...

  23. 523 . The Sleepwalkers by Hermann Broch

    With his epic trilogy, The Sleepwalkers, Hermann Broch established himself as one of the great innovators of modern literature, a visionary writer-philosopher the equal of James Joyce, Thomas Mann,...

    - Google
  24. 524 . Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

    A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha. Speaki...

    - Google
  25. 525 . The Hours by Michael Cunningham

    The Hours is a 1998 novel written by Michael Cunningham. It won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the 1999 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and was later made into an Oscar-winning 2002 movie of ...

  26. 526 . The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

    Set in the 1980s, the book tells the story of Jemubhai Popatlal Patel, a judge living out a disenchanted retirement in Kalimpong, a hill station in the Himalayan foothills, and his relationship wit...

  27. 527 . Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw

    Pygmalion is a play by George Bernard Shaw, named after a Greek mythological character. It was first presented on stage to the public in 1912. Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet that ...

    - Google
  28. 528 . Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    One of The New York Times's Ten Best Books of the Year Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction An NPR "Great Reads" Book, a Chicago Tribune Best Book, a Washington Post Notable...

    - Google
  29. 529 . Blindness by José Saramago

    Blindness is a novel by Portuguese author José Saramago. Blindness is the story of an unexplained mass epidemic of blindness afflicting nearly everyone in an unnamed city, and the social breakdo...

  30. 530 . The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

    The Moonstone (1868) by Wilkie Collins is a 19th-century British epistolary novel, generally considered the first detective novel in the English language. The story was originally serialised in Cha...

    - Google
  31. 531 . Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel by Ben Fountain

    A ferocious firefight with Iraqi insurgents at "the battle of Al-Ansakar Canal"—three minutes and forty-three seconds of intense warfare caught on tape by an embedded Fox News crew—has transformed ...

    - Google
  32. 532 . The Collected Stories of William Faulkner by William Faulkner

    This magisterial collection of short works by Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner reminds readers of his ability to compress his epic vision into narratives as hard and wounding as bullets....

  33. 533 . The Code of the Woosters by P. G. Wodehouse

    “To dive into a Wodehouse novel is to swim in some of the most elegantly turned phrases in the English language.”—Ben Schott Follow the adventures of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman’s gentleman, J...

    - Google
  34. 534 . Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

    Death Comes for the Archbishop is a 1927 novel by Willa Cather. It concerns the attempts of a Catholic bishop and a priest to establish a diocese in New Mexico Territory.

  35. 535 . The Odes by Horace

    The Odes (Latin: Carmina) are a collection in four books of Latin lyric poems by Horace. The Horatian ode format and style has been emulated since by other poets. Books 1 to 3 were published in 23 ...

  36. 536 . Small Island by Andrea Levy

    Hortense Joseph arrives in London from Jamaica in 1948 with her life in her suitcase, her heart broken, her resolve intact. Her husband, Gilbert Joseph, returns from the war expecting to be receive...

  37. 537 . Hippolytus by Euripides

    Hippolytus (Ancient Greek: Ἱππόλυτος, Hippolytos) is an Ancient Greek tragedy by Euripides, based on the myth of Hippolytus, son of Theseus. The play was first produced for the City Dionysia of Ath...

  38. 538 . Oranges are not the only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

    Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a novel by Jeanette Winterson published in 1985, which she subsequently adapted into a BBC television drama. It is a bildungsroman about a lesbian girl who grows u...

  39. 539 . Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor

    Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor's astonishing and haunting first novel, is a classic of twentieth-century literature. It is the story of Hazel Motes, a twenty-two-year-old caught in an unending strug...

  40. 540 . Life & Times of Michael K by J M Coetzee

    Life & Times of Michael K is a 1983 novel by South African-born author J. M. Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for the year 2003. The book itself won the Booker Prize for 1983. The n...

  41. 541 . Don Juan: A Poem by Lord Byron

    Don Juan (JEW-ən; see below) is a satiric poem by Lord Byron, based on the legend of Don Juan, which Byron reverses, portraying Juan not as a womaniser but as someone easily seduced by women. It is...

    - Google
  42. 542 . Voss by Patrick White

    Set in nineteenth-century Australia, a sweeping novel about a secret passion between the explorer Voss and the young orphan Laura. As Voss is tested by hardship, mutiny, and betrayal during his cro...

    - Google
  43. 543 . Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille

    Bataille’s first novel, published under the pseudonym ‘Lord Auch’, is still his most notorious work. In this explicit pornographic fantasy, the young male narrator and his lovers Simone and Marcell...

    - Google
  44. 544 . The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

    The Turn of the Screw, originally published in 1898, is a gothic ghost story novella written by Henry James. Due to its ambiguous content, it became a favourite text of academics who subscribe t...

  45. 545 . World's End by T. C. Boyle

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  46. 546 . The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith, Weedon Grossmith

    Weedon Grossmith's 1892 book presents the details of English suburban life through the anxious and accident-prone character of Charles Porter. Porter's diary chronicles his daily routine, which inc...

  47. 547 . The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

    In The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), the best-known of his thrillers (made into a popular movie by Alfred Hitchcock), John Buchan introduces his most enduring hero, Richard Hannay, who, despite claimin...

  48. 548 . The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

    The novel tells the story of a Roman Catholic priest in the state of Tabasco in Mexico during the 1930s, a time when the Mexican government, still effectively controlled by Plutarco Elías Calles, s...

  49. 549 . A Separate Peace by John Knowles

    It would be inconceivable for an American author to write a coming-of-age novel in a comedic vein without reckoning with J.D. Salinger's A Catcher in the Rye; and it would be equally impossible to ...

  50. 550 . Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor

    Andersonville is a novel by MacKinlay Kantor concerning the Confederate prisoner of war camp, Andersonville prison, during the American Civil War (1861–1865). The novel was originally published in ...