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. 2151 . Now in November by Josephine Winslow Johnson

    Johnson's (1910-1990) Pulitzer Prize-winning first novel, a combination of social protest and naturalism originally published in 1934, is narrated by the second of three daughters in a farming fami...

  2. 2152 . The Waters of Kronos by Conrad Richter

    From the time of its first publication in 1960, Conrad Richter's The Waters of Kronos sparked lively debate about the extent to which its story of a belated return to childhood scenes mirrored key ...

  3. 2153 . The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro

    The Love of a Good Woman is a collection of short stories by Canadian writer Alice Munro, published by McClelland and Stewart in 1998. The eight stories of this collection (one of which was origin...

  4. 2154 . Dragon's Teeth by Upton Sinclair

    The Pulitzer prize-winning novel by a great American writer portrays the men and women caught in an onslaught of terror, a holocaust from which few escape. Lanny Budd became involved in what the...

  5. 2155 . The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

    Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize and Governor General’s Award for Fiction, and set during the heady days of New Zealand’s Gold Rush, The Luminaries is a magnificent novel of love, lust, murder, ...

    - Google
  6. 2156 . The Good Lord Bird: A Novel by James McBride

    Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction Soon to be a major motion picture starring Liev Shreiber and Jaden Smith A Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Oprah Magazine Top 10 Book of the Y...

    - Google
  7. 2157 . Blood Tie by Mary Lee Settle

    -
  8. 2158 . Philadelphia fire by John Edgar Wideman

    -
  9. 2159 . The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter

    In this brilliantly imagined novel, Angela Carter explores the tormented world of adolescence and the heart's ability to withstand even the deepest sorrows. "A tour de force . . . put out shoots of...

    - Google
  10. 2160 . Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

    Shuggie Bain is the debut novel by Scottish-American writer Douglas Stuart, published in 2020. It tells the story of the youngest of the three children, Shuggie, growing up with his alcoholic mothe...

  11. 2161 . The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos

    It is about the lives of two Cuban brothers and musicians, Cesar and Nestor Castillo, who immigrate to the United States and settle in New York City in the early 1950s. The novel won the Pulitze...

  12. 2162 . Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald

    Offshore (1979) is a novel by Penelope Fitzgerald. It won the Booker Prize for that year. It recalls her time spent on boats in Battersea by the Thames. The novel centralizes around the idea of lim...

  13. 2163 . Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

    Hamnet is a 2020 novel by Maggie O'Farrell. It is a fictional account of Shakespeare's son, Hamnet, who died at age 11 in 1596. It won the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction and the Fiction Prize at th...

  14. 2164 . The Year of the French by Thomas Flanagan

    In 1798, Irish patriots, committed to freeing their country from England, landed with a company of French troops in County Mayo, in westernmost Ireland. They were supposed to be an advance guard, f...

  15. 2165 . A Perfect Spy by John le Carré

    A Perfect Spy (1986) by British author John le Carré is a novel about the mental and moral dissolution of a high level secret agent.

  16. 2166 . The Field of Vision by Wright Morris

    Winner of the National Book Award "Wright Morris seems to me the most important novelist of the American middle generation. Through a large body of work --which, unaccountably, has yet to receive t...

  17. 2167 . Resurrection: A Novel by Leo Tolstoy

    A rich, visual record of the vices of petty officialdom, Tolstoy's novel of spiritual regeneration recounts the sins of a young Russian nobleman and his attempts in later life to redress those tran...

    - Google
  18. 2168 . Collected Poems by Jane Kenyon

    Jane Kenyon (May 23, 1947 – April 22, 1995) was an American poet and translator. Her work is often characterized as simple, spare, and emotionally resonant. Kenyon was the second wife of poet, edit...

  19. 2169 . Three Junes by Julia Glass

    Three Junes follows the McLeods, a Scottish family, throughout their lives and relationships. Its members are Paul and Maureen, and their sons: Fenno, and twins David and Dennis. At the opening of ...

  20. 2170 . The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner

    The Spectator Bird is a 1976 novel by Wallace Stegner. The book tells the story of retired literary agent Joe Allston, who receives a postcard from an old friend, a Danish countess named Astrid. Jo...

  21. 2171 . Seaview by Toby Olson

    Publisher Comments: The action of Toby Olson's PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novel "Seaview" sweeps eastward, following three men and two women across a wasted American continent to an apocalyptic co...

  22. 2172 . Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

    The first ten lies they tell you in high school. "Speak up for yourself--we want to know what you have to say." From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this i...

    - Google
  23. 2173 . Rites of Passage by William Golding

    To the Ends of the Earth is a trilogy of novels by William Golding, consisting of Rites of Passage (1980), Close Quarters (1987), and Fire down Below (1989).

  24. 2174 . The Old Forest by Peter Taylor

    From the grand master of the American short story, these fourteen tales of domestic life in the South during the thirties and forties explore that extraordinary world of manners, expectations and u...

  25. 2175 . Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth

    Sacred Hunger is a historical novel by Barry Unsworth first published in 1992. It was joint winner of the Booker Prize that year, sharing the position with Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient. ...

  26. 2176 . Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington

    This is the story of a middle-class family living in the industrialized midland country at the turn of the 20th century. It is against this dingy backdrop that Alice Adams seeks to distinguish hers...

  27. 2177 . Charming Billy by Alice McDermott

    Billy Lynch's family and friends have gathered at a small Bronx bar. They have come to comfort his widow and to eulogize one of the last great romantics, trading tales of his famous humor, immense ...

  28. 2178 . Ship Fever and Other Stories by Andrea Barrett

    The elegant short fictions gathered hereabout the love of science and the science of love are often set against the backdrop of the nineteenth century. Interweaving historical and fictional charact...

  29. 2179 . Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen

    Shadow Country is actually a trilogy of books about Florida sugar cane planter and outlaw Edgar Watson all collected in one volume, re-edited, and retitled. Set in Florida's Ten Thousand Islands re...

  30. 2180 . The Late George Apley by John P. Marquand

    The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that charts the diminishing fortunes of a distinguished Boston family in the early years of the 20th century. Sweeping us into the inner sanctum of Boston society, ...

  31. 2181 . The Collected Stories by Grace Paley

    Here are all of Grace Paley's classic stories collected in one volume. Her quirky, boisterous characters and rich use of language have won her readers' hearts and secured her place as one of Americ...

    - Google
  32. 2182 . The Centaur by John Updike

    The Centaur is a 1963 novel by John Updike. It won the National Book Award in 1964. The story concerns George Caldwell, a school teacher, and his son Peter, outside of Alton (i.e., Reading), Pennsy...

  33. 2183 . Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens

    Guard of Honor is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by James Gould Cozzens published in 1948. The novel is set during World War II, with most of the action occurring on or near a fictional Army Air Fo...

  34. 2184 . One of Ours by Willa Cather

    Willa Cather's Pulitzer Prize-winning narrative of the making of a young American soldier Claude Wheeler, the sensitive, aspiring protagonist of this beautifully modulated novel, resembles the y...

  35. 2185 . The Barracks Thief by Tobias Wolff

    The Barracks Thief is a novella by Tobias Wolff, first published in 1984. The story concerns paratroopers in training during the time of the Vietnam war.

  36. 2186 . Dart by Alice Oswald

    -
  37. 2187 . The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

    The Fifth Season is a 2015 science fantasy novel by N. K. Jemisin. It was awarded the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2016. It is the first volume in the Broken Earth series and is followed by The Obe...

  38. 2188 . The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    Based on Dostoevsky's own troubled experiences at the gaming tables, 'The Gambler' is a brilliant and telling portrayal of a man crippled by the overwhelming powers of addiction and obsession.

    - Google
  39. 2189 . The Voyeur by Alain Robbe-Grillet

    Mathias, the voyeur, returns to the island of his birth and wanders about for several days. When a thirteen-year-old girl is found drowned, murder is suspected. Did Mathias do it?

    - Google
  40. 2190 . The Dying Earth by Jack Vance

    New races of man had evolved, new species of beast; science had vanished and magic had arisen to dominate the twilight of our world as it dominated the earth's morning. The Dying Earth is Jack Vanc...

    - Google
  41. 2191 . Galileo by Bertolt Brecht

    Dramatizes Galileo's conflict with the church over his assertion that the Earth revolves around the sun.

    - Google
  42. 2192 . The American by Henry James

    The American is a novel by Henry James, originally published as a serial in The Atlantic Monthly in 1876–1877 and then as a book in 1877. The novel is an uneasy combination of social comedy and mel...

    - Google
  43. 2193 . Cane by Jean Toomer

    Cane is a 1923 novel by noted Harlem Renaissance figure and author Jean Toomer. The novel is structured as a series of vignettes revolving around the origins and experiences of African Americans in...

  44. 2194 . Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway

    First published in 1927, Men Without Women represents some of Hemingway's most important and compelling early writing. In these fourteen stories, Hemingway begins to examine the themes that would o...

  45. 2195 . Libra by Don DeLillo

    Libra (1988) is a novel written by Don DeLillo. It focuses on the life of Lee Harvey Oswald and offers a speculative account of the events that shaped the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

  46. 2196 . The Trickster of Seville and His Guest of Stone by Tirso de Molina

    The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest (Spanish: El burlador de Sevilla y convidado de piedra) is a play by Tirso de Molina. Its title varies according to the English translation, and it has ...

    - Google
  47. 2197 . Mensagem by Fernando Pessoa

    Mensagem in Portuguese is a very unusual twentieth century book: it is a symbolist epic made up of 44 short poems organized in three parts or Cycles. - Wikipedia

    - Google
  48. 2198 . Roots by Alex Haley

  49. 2199 . Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin

    Winter's Tale is a 1983 novel by author Mark Helprin. It takes place in a mythical New York City near the turn of the 20th century, markedly different from the world we live in.

  50. 2200 . The Pursuit Of Love by Nancy Mitford

    ew aristocratic English families of the twentieth century enjoyed the glamorous notoriety of the infamous Mitford sisters. Nancy Mitford's most famous novels, The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold...