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. 151 . A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

    In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mo...

  2. 152 . One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

    Narrated by the gigantic but docile half-Indian "Chief" Bromden, who has pretended to be a deaf-mute for several years, the story focuses on the antics of the rebellious Randle Patrick McMurphy, a ...

  3. 153 . Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike

    Rabbit Is Rich is a 1981 novel by John Updike. It is the third novel of the four-part series which begins with Rabbit, Run and Rabbit Redux, and concludes with Rabbit At Rest. There is also a relat...

  4. 154 . Metamorphoses by Ovid

    The Metamorphoses by the Roman poet Ovid is a narrative poem in fifteen books that describes the creation and history of the world. Completed in 8 AD, it has remained one of the most popular works ...

  5. 155 . Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats by W. B. Yeats

    William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet, dramatist, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature.

  6. 156 . The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) is a best-selling novel written by Dominican-American author Junot Díaz. Although a work of fiction, the novel is set in New Jersey where Díaz was raised...

  7. 157 . The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

    World War II has just begun and four children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, are evacuated from London in 1940 to escape the Blitz. They are sent to live with Professor Digory Kirke, who ...

  8. 158 . Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles

    Oedipus at Colonus is one of the three Theban plays of the Athenian tragedian Sophocles. It was written shortly before Sophocles' death in 406 BC and produced by his grandson (also called Sophocles...

  9. 159 . The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

    The Moviegoer tells the story of Binx Bolling, a young stockbroker in post-war New Orleans. The decline of Southern traditions, the problems of his family and his traumatic experiences in the Korea...

  10. 160 . Medea by Euripides

    Medea is an ancient Greek tragedy written by Euripides, based upon the myth of Jason and Medea and first produced in 431 BC. The plot centers on the barbarian protagonist as she finds her position ...

  11. 161 . Macbeth by William Shakespeare

    The Tragedy of Macbeth, commonly just Macbeth, is a play by William Shakespeare about a regicide and its aftermath. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy and is believed to have been written sometim...

  12. 162 . Lost Illusions by Honoré de Balzac

    Illusions perdues was written by the French writer Honoré de Balzac between 1837 and 1843. It consists of three parts, starting in the provinces, thereafter moving to Paris, and finally returning t...

    - Google
  13. 163 . Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo

    Pedro Páramo is a short novel written by Juan Rulfo, originally published in 1955. In just the 23 FCE editions and reprintings, it had sold by November 1997 1,143,000 copies. Other editions in Mexi...

  14. 164 . The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

    A slender novel but far from flimsy, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie enrolls the reader at Edinburgh's fictional Marcia Blaine School for Girls under the tutelage of one Jean Brodie, a magnetic, unco...

    - Time
  15. 165 . A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

    The American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century. This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended ...

    - Google
  16. 166 . Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

    Doctor Zhivago is a 20th century novel by Boris Pasternak, first published in 1957. The novel is named after its protagonist, Yuri Zhivago, a medical doctor and poet. It tells the story of a man to...

  17. 167 . The Ambassadors by Henry James

    This dark comedy, one of the masterpieces of James' final period, follows the trip of protagonist Lewis Lambert Strether to Europe in pursuit of his widowed fiancée's supposedly wayward son. Streth...

  18. 168 . The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

    The Remains of the Day (1989) is the third published novel by Japanese-British author Kazuo Ishiguro. The Remains of The Day is one of the most highly-regarded post-war British novels. It won the B...

  19. 169 . Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald

    Austerlitz, the internationally acclaimed masterpiece by "one of the most gripping writers imaginable" (The New York Review of Books), is the story of a man?s search for the answer to his life?s ce...

  20. 170 . Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo

    Zeno's Conscience is a novel by Italian businessman and author Italo Svevo. The main character is Zeno Cosini and the book is the fictional character's memoirs that he keeps at the insistence of hi...

  21. 171 . Dracula by Bram Stoker

    Dracula is an 1897 novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, featuring as its primary antagonist the vampire Count Dracula. Dracula has been attributed to many literary genres including vampire literat...

  22. 172 . Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence

    Perhaps no other of the world’s great writers lived and wrote with the passionate intensity of D. H. Lawrence. And perhaps no other of his books so explores the mysteries between men and women–both...

  23. 173 . Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

    Published in 1937, it tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California. Based on Steinbeck's own experiences a...

  24. 174 . The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

    Since his first appearance in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved fictional characters ever created.

  25. 175 . The Waves by Virginia Woolf

    The Waves, first published in 1931, is Virginia Woolf's most experimental novel. It consists of soliloquies spoken by the book's six characters: Bernard, Susan, Rhoda, Neville, Jinny, and Louis.[1]...

  26. 176 . Rabbit Redux by John Updike

    Rabbit Redux finds the former high-school basketball star, Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, working a dead-end job and approaching middle age in the downtrodden and fictional city of Brewer, Pennsylvania, ...

  27. 177 . The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

    The Hound of the Baskervilles is a crime novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialized in the Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it ...

  28. 178 . The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

    The Leopard is a novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa that chronicles the changes in Sicilian life and society during the Risorgimento. Published posthumously in 1958, after two rejections by the ...

  29. 179 . 2666 by Roberto Bolaño

    2666 (2004) is the last novel written by Chilean-born novelist Roberto Bolaño. Depicting the unsolved and ongoing serial murders of Ciudad Juárez (Santa Teresa in the novel), the Eastern Front in W...

  30. 180 . Eugenie Grandet by Honoré de Balzac

    1927. Balzac is considered to be the greatest name in the post-Revolutionary literature of France. His writings display a profound knowledge of the human heart, with an extraordinary range of knowl...

    - Google
  31. 181 . A Room With a View by E. M. Forster

    British social comedy examines a young heroine's struggle against strait-laced Victorian attitudes as she rejects the man her family has encouraged her to marry and chooses, instead, a socially uns...

  32. 182 . The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch

    The Sea, the Sea is the 19th novel by Iris Murdoch. It won the Booker Prize in 1978. The Sea, the Sea is a tale of the strange obsessions that haunt a self-satisfied playwright and director as h...

  33. 183 . Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

    Tom Wolfe’s modern American satire tells the story of Sherman McCoy, a Wall Street “Master of the Universe” who has it all — a Park Avenue apartment, a job that brings wealth, power and prestige, a...

  34. 184 . The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

    The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus, 1982) is the debut novel by Isabel Allende. Initially, the novel was rejected by several Spanish-language publishers, but became an instant best ...

  35. 185 . Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

    Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (French: Vingt mille lieues sous les mers) is a classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1870. It tells the story of Captain Nem...

  36. 186 . The Princess of Cleves by Madame de La Fayette

    La Princesse de Clèves is a French novel, regarded by many as the beginning of the modern tradition of the psychological novel, and as a great classic work. Its author is generally held to be Madam...

  37. 187 . The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (ねじまき鳥クロニクル, Nejimaki-dori Kuronikuru?) is a novel by Haruki Murakami. The first published translation was by Alfred Birnbaum. The American translation and its British ad...

  38. 188 . The Plague by Albert Camus

    A haunting tale of human resilience in the face of unrelieved horror, Camus' novel about a bubonic plague ravaging the people of a North African coastal town is a classic of twentieth-century liter...

  39. 189 . The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

    Spawned by a nightmare that Stevenson had, this classic tale of the dark, primordial night of the soul remains a masterpiece of the duality of good and evil within us all.

  40. 190 . The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

    Written for publication as a serial, The Pickwick Papers is a sequence of loosely-related adventures. The novel's main character, Mr. Samuel Pickwick, Esquire, is a kind and wealthy old gentleman, ...

  41. 191 . The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever

    The Stories of John Cheever is a 1978 short story collection by American author John Cheever. It contains some of his most famous stories, including "The Enormous Radio," "Goodbye, My Brother," "Th...

  42. 192 . Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

    A totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be destroyed, but one of the book burners suddenly realizes their merit

    - Google
  43. 193 . The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

    A fantasy novel and children's book by J. R. R. Tolkien. Set in a time "Between the Dawn of Færie and the Dominion of Men", The Hobbit follows the quest of home-loving Bilbo Baggins to win a share ...

  44. 194 . Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

    In 1895 Hardy’s final novel, the great tale of Jude the Obscure, sent shock waves of indignation rolling across Victorian England. Hardy had dared to write frankly about sexuality and to indict the...

  45. 195 . Nineteen Nineteen by John Dos Passos

    With 1919, the second volume of his U.S.A. trilogy, John Dos Passos continues his "vigorous and sweeping panorama of twentieth-century America" (Forum), lauded on publication of the first volume no...

    - Google
  46. 196 . The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos

    With his U.S.A. trilogy, comprising THE 42nd PARALLEL, 1919, and THE BIG MONEY, John Dos Passos is said by many to have written the great American novel. While Fitzgerald and Hemingway were cultiva...

    - Google
  47. 197 . The Big Money by John Dos Passos

    THE BIG MONEY completes John Dos Passos's three-volume "fable of America's materialistic success and moral decline" (American Heritage) and marks the end of "one of the most ambitious projects that...

    - Google
  48. 198 . Independent People by Halldor Laxness

    Independent People is an epic novel by Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness, published in 1946. It deals with the struggle of poor Icelandic farmers in the early 20th century, only freed from debt bondag...

  49. 199 . The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

    From the esteemed author of The Age of Innocence--a black comedy about vast wealth and a woman who can define herself only through the perceptions of others. Lily Bart's quest to find a husband who...

  50. 200 . The World According to Garp by John Irving

    The story deals with the life of T. S. Garp. His mother, Jenny Fields, is a strong-willed nurse who wants a child but not a husband. She encounters a dying ball turret gunner known only as Technica...