The Greatest Books of All Time


How is this list generated?


This list is generated from 129 "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. 101 . Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

    Violated by one man, forsaken by another, Tess Durbeyfield is the magnificent and spirited heroine of Thomas Hardy’s immortal work. Of all the great English novelists, no one writes more eloquently...

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  2. 102 . Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

    Waiting for Godot (pronounced /ˈɡɒdoʊ/) is a play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait for someone named Godot. Godot's absence, as well as numerous other aspects...

  3. 103 . Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

    A shipwreck’s sole escapee, Robinson Crusoe endures 28 years of solitude on a Caribbean island and manages not only to survive but also to prevail. A warm humanity, evocative details of his struggl...

  4. 104 . Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

    The main character, an African American woman in her early forties named Janie Crawford, tells the story of her life and journey via an extended flashback to her best friend, Pheoby, so that Pheoby...

  5. 105 . Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

    A foundling of mysterious parentage brought up by Mr. Allworthy on his country estate, Tom Jones is deeply in love with the seemingly unattainable Sophia Western, the beautiful daughter of the neig...

  6. 106 . King Lear by William Shakespeare

    King Lear is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1603 and 1606. It is considered one of his greatest works. The play is based on the legend of Leir of Britain, a...

  7. 107 . A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

    The title is taken from an old Cockney expression, "as queer as a clockwork orange" and alludes to the prevention of the main character's exercise of his free will through the use of a classical co...

  8. 108 . The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

    The Master and Margarita (Russian: Ма́стер и Маргари́та) is a novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, woven around the premise of a visit by the Devil to the fervently atheistic Soviet Union. Many critics consi...

  9. 109 . Father Goriot by Honoré de Balzac

    Le Père Goriot (English: Father Goriot or Old Goriot) is an 1835 novel by French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850), included in the Scènes de la vie privée section of his novel s...

  10. 110 . The Tin Drum by Günter Grass

    Acclaimed as the greatest German novel written since the end of World War II, The Tin Drum is the autobiography of thirty-year-old Oskar Matzerath, who has lived through the long Nazi nightmare and...

  11. 111 . Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence

    Sons and Lovers is one of the landmark novels of the twentieth century. When it appeared in 1913, it was immediately recognized as the first great modern restatement of the oedipal drama, and it is...

  12. 112 . The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    Since 1943, the wise little boy from Asteroid B-612 has led children and their adults to deeper understandings of love, friendship, and responsibility. The Little Prince is a cherished story, read ...

    - Google
  13. 113 . Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

    Fathers and Sons is an 1862 novel by Ivan Turgenev, his best known work. The fathers and children of the novel refers to the growing divide between the two generations of Russians, and the chara...

  14. 114 . Oresteia by Aeschylus

    The Oresteia is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus which concerns the end of the curse on the House of Atreus. When originally performed it was accompanied by Proteus, a satyr play t...

  15. 115 . Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

    In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Bertha is the madwoman locked in the attic by her husband Rochester, the simmering Englishman whose children Jane has been hired to tutor. In Bronte's novel we lear...

    - Time
  16. 116 . Bleak House by Charles Dickens

    Bleak House is the ninth novel by Charles Dickens, published in twenty monthly instalments between March 1852 and September 1853. It is held to be one of Dickens's finest novels, containing one of ...

  17. 117 . A Season in Hell by Arthur Rimbaud

    "With skill and imagination, Bertrand Mathieu gives us an intimacy of the spoken American that allows readers to absorb themselves in Rimbaud's private drama as in an obsessive dream of our own.......

    - Google
  18. 118 . Howards End by E. M. Forster

    "Only Connect," Forster's key aphorism, informs this novel about an English country house, Howards End, and its influence on the lives of the wealthy and materialistic Wilcoxes; the cultured, ideal...

  19. 119 . Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

    Written and set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts, it was published in two parts in 1868 and 1869. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Am...

  20. 120 . Fairy Tales and Stories by Hans Christian Anderson

    a Danish author and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", "The Snow Queen", "The Little Mermaid", "Thumbelina", "The Little Match Girl", and the "The Ugl...

  21. 121 . The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor by Flannery O'Connor

    The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O'Connor's monumental contribution to American fiction. There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do n...

  22. 122 . Rabbit, Run by John Updike

    Rabbit, Run depicts five months in the life of a 26-year-old former high school basketball player named Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom, and his attempts to escape the constraints of his life.

  23. 123 . Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

    Conrad's great novel of guilt and redemption follows the first mate on board the Patna, a raw youth with dreams of heroism who, in an act of cowardice, abandons his ship. His unbearable guilt and i...

  24. 124 . A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

    A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel written by John Kennedy Toole, published in 1980, 11 years after the author's suicide. The book was published through the efforts of writer Walker Perc...

  25. 125 . Atonement by Ian McEwan

    Atonement is a 2001 novel by British author Ian McEwan. It tells the story of protagonist Briony Tallis's crime and how it changes her life, as well as those of her sister Cecilia and her lover Rob...

  26. 126 . Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac

    La Cousine Bette (English: Cousin Betty or Cousin Bette) is an 1846 novel by French author Honoré de Balzac. Set in mid-19th century Paris, it tells the story of an unmarried middle-aged woman who ...

  27. 127 . White Teeth by Zadie Smith

    This may be the first novel ever written that truly feels at home in our borderless, globalized, intermarried, post-colonial age, populated by "children with first and last names on a direct collis...

    - Time
  28. 128 . The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

    The Tale of Genji is a classic work of Japanese literature attributed to the Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in the early eleventh century, around the peak of the Heian Period. It is sometimes...

  29. 129 . The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

    This book, as well as the couple that followed it, enters the realm of what Margaret Drabble in The Oxford Companion to English Literature has called Lessing's "inner space fiction", her work that ...

  30. 130 . Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that ha...

    - Google
  31. 131 . Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, it is an adventure tale known for its superb atmosphere, character and action, and also a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality—as seen in Long...

  32. 132 . All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

    All the King's Men portrays the dramatic political ascent and governorship of Willie Stark, a driven, cynical populist in the American South during the 1930s.

  33. 133 . The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil

    The Man without Qualities (1930-42) is a novel in three books by the Austrian novelist and essayist Robert Musil. The main issue of this "story of ideas", which takes place in the time of the Au...

  34. 134 . Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann

    Doctor Faustus is a German novel written by Thomas Mann, begun in 1943 and published in 1947 as Doktor Faustus: Das Leben des deutschen Tonsetzers Adrian Leverkühn, erzählt von einem Freunde ("Doct...

  35. 135 . The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

    Set against the tumultuous years of the post-Napoleonic era, The Count of Monet Cristo recounts the swashbuckling adventures of Edmond Dantes, a dashing young sailor falsely accused of treason. The...

  36. 136 . Epic of Gilgamesh by Unknown

    The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from Ancient Iraq and is among the earliest known works of literary writings. Scholars believe that it originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems abo...

  37. 137 . Stories of Ernest Hemingway by Ernest Hemingway

    Before he gained wide fame as a novelist, Ernest Hemingway established his literary reputation with his short stories. This collection, The Short Stories, originally published in 1938, is definitiv...

    - Google
  38. 138 . Nostromo by Joseph Conrad

    Edited with an introduction and notes by Martin Seymour-Smith. In his evocation of the republic of Costaguana, set amid the exotic and grandiose scenery of South America, Conrad reveals not only th...

  39. 139 . The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

    The Big Sleep (1939) is a crime novel by Raymond Chandler, the first in his acclaimed series about hardboiled detective Philip Marlowe. The work has been adapted twice into film, once in 1946 and a...

  40. 140 . The Tempest by William Shakespeare

    The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, estimated to have been written in 1610–11, (although some researchers have argued for an earlier dating). The play's protagonist is the banished sorcer...

  41. 141 . Dangerous Liaison by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

    The complex moral ambiguities of seduction and revenge make Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature. Its prime movers, the Vicomte...

  42. 142 . All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

    All Quiet on the Western Front (German: Im Westen nichts Neues) is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I. The book describes the German soldiers' extreme physical and men...

  43. 143 . Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    Love in the Time of Cholera is a novel by Nobel Prize winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez that was first published in Spanish in 1985, with an English translation released in 1988 by Al...

  44. 144 . Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann

    Buddenbrooks was Thomas Mann's first novel, published in 1901 when he was twenty-six years old. It portrays the downfall (already announced in the subtitle, Decline of a family) of a wealthy mer...

  45. 145 . My Antonia by Willa Cather

    In Willa Cather's own estimation, My Antonia, first published in 1918, was "the best thing I've ever done." An enduring paperback bestseller on Houghton Mifflin's literary list, this hauntingly elo...

  46. 146 . Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

    Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West is a 1985 Western novel by American author Cormac McCarthy. It was McCarthy's fifth book, and was published by Random House. The narrative foll...

  47. 147 . The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

    The Corrections is a 2001 novel by American author Jonathan Franzen. It revolves around the troubles of an elderly Midwestern couple and their three adult children, tracing their lives from the mid...

  48. 148 . The Call of the Wild by Jack London

    The plot concerns a previously domesticated and even somewhat pampered dog named Buck, whose primordial instincts return after a series of events finds him serving as a sled dog in the treacherous...

  49. 149 . Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    The story is that of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychoanalyst and his wife, Nicole, who is also one of his patients. It would be Fitzgerald's first novel in nine years, and ...

  50. 150 . The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

    A classic in children's literature The Wind in the Willow is alternately slow moving and fast paced. The book focuses on four anthropomorphised animal characters in a pastoral version of England. T...