The Greatest Books of All Time


How is this list generated?


This list is generated from 130 "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. 2101 . The Bear Comes Home by Rafi Zabor

    The Bear Comes Home is a novel written by Rafi Zabor. It won the 1998 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. It was selected as an alternate for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. The novel tells ...

  2. 2102 . Collected Poems by Jack Gilbert

    Jack Gilbert (February 18, 1925 – November 13, 2012) was an American poet. Born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania neighborhood of East Liberty, he attended Peabody High School before fa...

  3. 2103 . My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

    My Name is Lucy Barton is a 2016 New York Times Bestselling novel and the fifth novel by the American writer Elizabeth Strout.[1] It was first published in the United States on January 12, 2016 thr...

  4. 2104 . How German Is It by Walter Abish

    The question How German Is It underlies the conduct and actions of the characters in Walter Abish's novel, an icy panorama of contemporary Germany, in which the tradition of order and obedience, th...

  5. 2105 . Middle Passage by Charles R. Johnson

    Middle Passage is a 1990 historical novel by Charles R. Johnson about the final voyage of an illegal American slave ship. Set in 1830, it speaks of a freed slave named Rutherford Calhoun. The novel...

  6. 2106 . The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

    The Testaments is a 2019 novel by Margaret Atwood. It is a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale (1985). The novel is set 15 years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale. It is narrated by Aunt Lydia, a c...

  7. 2107 . The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau

    Entrenched on the same land since the early 1800s, the Howlands have, for seven generations, been pillars of their Southern community. Extraordinary family lore has been passed down to Abigail Howl...

  8. 2108 . George Mills by Stanley Elkin

    a 1982 novel by U.S. author Stanley Elkin

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  9. 2109 . Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

    Presents a collection of short stories about contradiction and conflict in the lives of those who reside on the border lands around the Rio Grande.

    - Google
  10. 2110 . The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl

    Seven superb stories, from the world's no. 1 storyteller Meet the boy who can talk to animals and the man who can see with his eyes closed. And find out about the treasure buried deep underground. ...

    - Google
  11. 2111 . The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

    Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his t...

    - Google
  12. 2112 . Saville by David Storey

    Saville is a Booker Prize-winning novel by English author David Storey. The novel centers around Colin, a young boy growing up in the fictional Yorkshire mining village of Saxton during WWII and...

  13. 2113 . October Light by John Gardner

    October Light is one of John Gardner's masterworks. The penniless widow of a once-wealthy dentist, Sally Abbot now lives in the Vermont farmhouse of her older brother, 72-year-old James Page. Polar...

  14. 2114 . Early Autumn by Louis Bromfield

    Early Autumn is a 1926 novel by Louis Bromfield. It won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1927.

  15. 2115 . Lord of Misrule: The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine

    In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans coexist in (relatively) bloodless harmony. Then comes Bishop, the master vampire who threatens to abolish all order, revive the forces of the...

    - Google
  16. 2116 . Ten North Frederick by John O'Hara

    Ten North Frederick is a 1955 novel by John O'Hara. It focuses on the life of an ambitious American named Joe Chapin, who desires to become President of the United States. The novel tells Chapin's ...

  17. 2117 . His Family by Ernest Poole

    His Family tells the story of a middle class family in New York City in the 1910s. The family's patriarch, widower Roger Gale, struggles to deal with the way his daughters and grandchildren respond...

  18. 2118 . Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

    Girl, Woman, Other is the eighth novel written by Bernardine Evaristo, published in 2019 by Hamish Hamilton. It follows the lives of 12 characters in the United Kingdom over the course of several d...

  19. 2119 . The Middleman and Other Stories by Bharati Mukherjee

    The Middleman and Other Stories, (1988) is a collection of short stories by Bharati Mukherjee. Stories from this volume are frequently anthologized, particularly Orbiting, A Wife's Story, and The M...

  20. 2120 . Postcards by E. Annie Proulx

    ards is E. Annie Proulx's 1992 novel about the life and travels of Loyal Blood across the American West. The critically acclaimed predecessor to Proulx's award-winning The Shipping News, it cuts be...

  21. 2121 . Something to Answer For by P. H. Newby

    Something to Answer For (1969) is a novel by the English author P. H. Newby. Its chief claim to fame is that it was the winner of the inaugural Booker Prize, which would go on to become one of the ...

  22. 2122 . Paris Trout by Pete Dexter

    Paris Trout, an unrepentant racist in 1949 Georgia. a greedy and paranoid shopkeeper who murders the sister of a black man who refuses to repay Trout’s IOU. When Trout is arrested for the crime, he...

  23. 2123 . Lila by Marilynne Robinson

    Lila is a novel written by Marilynne Robinson that was published in 2014. Her fourth novel, it is the third installment of the Gilead series, after Gilead and Home. The novel focuses on the courtsh...

  24. 2124 . The Overstory by Richard Powers

    The Overstory is a novel by Richard Powers published in 2018 by W.W. Norton. It is Powers's twelfth novel. The novel is about nine Americans whose unique life experiences with trees bring them toge...

  25. 2125 . Plains Song by Wright Morris

    This 1981 National Book Award winner links three generations of Midwestern women to a form of unison singing in unmeasured time known as plainsong.

  26. 2126 . Soldiers in Hiding by Richard Wiley

    This remarkable novel is not only an imaginative work of the very highest order but a cross-cultural tour de force of extraordinary daring and vision. It begins in Tokyo in 1941, when Teddy Maki an...

  27. 2127 . Everything Inside: Stories by Edwidge Danticat

    A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD One of the Best Books of the Year NPR, Time, Esquire, BuzzFeed, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel A roman...

    - Google
  28. 2128 . Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

    Motherless Brooklyn is a Jonathan Lethem novel published in 1999. It is a detective story set in Brooklyn. The novel won the 1999 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction and the 2000 Gold Da...

  29. 2129 . Being Dead by Jim Crace

    Being Dead is a novel by the English writer Jim Crace, published in 1999. Its principal characters are married zoologists Joseph and Celice and their daughter Syl. The story tells of how Joseph an...

  30. 2130 . The Town by Conrad Richter

    The Town is part of the The Awakening Land trilogy, which traces the transformation of Ohio from wilderness to farmland to the site of modern industrial civilization, all in the lifetime of one cha...

  31. 2131 . The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor

    Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1962, this haunting novel shattered reigning cultural stereotypes of priests and parish life when it was first published. Father Hugh Kennedy is a recov...

  32. 2132 . The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

    The Buddha in the Attic is a 2011 novel written by American author Julie Otsuka about Japanese picture brides immigrating to America in the early 1900s.

    - Google
  33. 2133 . The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault by Charles Perrault

    An illustrated collection of eleven classic tales including such favorites as The Little Red Hen, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.

    - Google
  34. 2134 . War Dances by Sherman Alexie

    A bestselling collection of stories and poems from literary icon Sherman Alexie Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, War Dances blends short stories, poems, call-and-response, and more int...

    - Google
  35. 2135 . Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

    Olive Kitteridge (2008) is a novel by American author Elizabeth Strout. It is a collection of 13 connected short stories about a woman named Olive and her immediate family and friends in the town o...

  36. 2136 . Sent for You Yesterday by John Edgar Wideman

    Sent for You Yesterday is a novel by the American writer John Edgar Wideman set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the 1970s. The novel tells the story of Albert Wilkes, who after seven years on...

  37. 2137 . The Store by Thomas Sigismund Stribling

    The Store is a 1932 novel by Thomas Sigismund Stribling. It won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1933. It is the second book of the Viadan trilogy, comprising The Forge, The Store, and Unfinishe...

  38. 2138 . A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler

    A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain is a 1992 collection of short stories by Robert Olen Butler. It received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1993. Each story in the collection is narrated by ...

  39. 2139 . We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

    Coming of age in middle America, 18-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family ...

    - Google
  40. 2140 . In America by Susan Sontag

    In America is a 1999 novel by Susan Sontag which won the National Book Award in 2000. Although it is fiction, it is based upon the true story of the Polish actress Helena Modjeska— called Maryna Z...

  41. 2141 . The Round House by Louise Erdrich

    National Book Award Winner One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumat...

    - Google
  42. 2142 . Tinkers by Paul Harding

    An old man lies dying. As time collapses into memory, he travels deep into his past where he is reunited with his father and relives the wonder and pain of his impoverished New England youth. At on...

    - Google
  43. 2143 . The Caprices by Sabina Murray

    Winner of the PEN/Faulkner award for fiction in 2003, The Caprices is a collection of stories artfully told across the theatre of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. An Anglo-Indian cavalryman, h...

  44. 2144 . The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck

    A historical epic that tells an unusual love story, The News from Paraguay offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of nineteenth-century Paraguay, a largely untouched wilderness where Europeans and North A...

  45. 2145 . Paco's Story by Larry Heinemann

    When incoming fire lights up the sky over the good old boys at Fire Base Harriet in Vietnam, the tough soldiers just look at each other and settle in, certain that the nearly 100 of them will die. ...

  46. 2146 . The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens

    The Elected Member is a Booker Prize-winning novel by Welsh author Bernice Rubens. The novel's main character is Norman Zweck, who is addicted to amphetamines and is convinced that he sees silve...

  47. 2147 . Delicious Foods by James Hannaham

    Held captive by her employers--and by her own demons--on a mysterious farm, a widow struggles to reunite with her young son in this uniquely American story of freedom, perseverance, and survival. D...

    - Google
  48. 2148 . The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk

    The Caine Mutiny is a 1951 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Herman Wouk. The novel grew out of Wouk's personal experiences aboard a destroyer-minesweeper in the Pacific in World War II and deals wit...

  49. 2149 . Scarlet Sister Mary by Julia Peterkin

    Scarlet Sister Mary is set among the gullah people in the Low Country of South Carolina or Georgia. The date is never clearly established, but appears to be around the beginning of the twentieth ce...

  50. 2150 . Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

    A multi-award-winning middle grade novel about the author’s own coming of age as an African American in the ’60s and ’70s growing up in South Carolina and Brooklyn, N.Y.