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. 2251 . The Twelve Labours of Hercules by Unknown

    The twelve labours of Hercules or dodekathlon (Greek: δωδέκαθλον, dodekathlon) are a series of episodes concerning a penance carried out by Heracles, the greatest of the Greek heroes, whose name wa...

  2. 2252 . The Hearts and Lives of Men: A Novel by Fay Weldon

    It’s 1960s London, and the sexual revolution is in full swing in Fay Weldon’s enduring story of lust, marriage, family, art, avarice, ambition, betrayal, and true love Clifford Wexford and Helen La...

    - Google
  3. 2253 . The Quest for the Golden Fleece by Unknown

    "The Argonautika", the only surviving epic of the Hellenistic era, is a retelling of the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece, probably the oldest extant Greek myth.

    - Google
  4. 2254 . A Reckless Character and Other Stories by Ivan Turgenev

    This fine collection of Turgenev's shorter works includes "A Reckless Character," "The Dream," "Father Alexyei's Story," "Odd Portraits," "The Song of Love Triumphant," "Clara Militch," and a large...

    - Google
  5. 2255 . The Song of Roland by Unknown

    The Song of Roland (French: La Chanson de Roland) is a heroic poem based on the Battle of Roncevaux in 778, during the reign of Charlemagne. It is the oldest surviving major work of French literatu...

  6. 2256 . An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

    An Enemy of the people (original Norwegian title: En folkefiende) is an 1882 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen wrote it in response to the public outcry against his play Ghosts, whic...

  7. 2257 . Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters

    Spoon River Anthology (1915), by Edgar Lee Masters, is a collection of short free-form poems that collectively narrates the epitaphs of the residents of a fictional small town of Spoon River, named...

  8. 2258 . The Bridge by Hart Crane

    "Hart Crane's long poem The Bridge has steadily grown in stature since it was published in 1930. This book is a guide to the poem. It's detailed and far-reaching annotations make [the poem] fully a...

    - Google
  9. 2259 . Works and Days by Hesiod

    The Works and Days is a didactic poem of some 800 lines written by the ancient Greek poet Hesiod around 700 BCE. At its center, the Works and Days is a farmer's almanac in which Hesiod instructs hi...

  10. 2260 . Reynard the Fox by Unknown

    Reynard (French: Renart; German: Reineke; Dutch: Reinaert) is a literary cycle of allegorical French, Dutch, English, and German fables largely concerned with Reynard, an anthropomorphic red fox an...

  11. 2261 . Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

    In the years following the First World War a new generation emerged, wistful and vulnerable beneath the glitter. The Bright Young Things of 1920s London, with their paradoxical mix of innocence and...

    - Google
  12. 2262 . Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Forty-four poems examine the depth and complexities of married love and shares a wife's feelings for her husband

    - Google
  13. 2263 . The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale by Robert Louis Stevenson

    The Master of Ballantrae: A Winter's Tale is a book by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, focusing upon the conflict between two brothers, Scottish noblemen whose family is torn apart by t...

    - Google
  14. 2264 . Poem of the Cid by Unknown

    Few works have shaped a national literature as thoroughly as the Poem of the Cid has shaped the Spanish literary tradition. Tracing the life of the eleventh-century military commander Rodrigo Diaz ...

    - Google
  15. 2265 . The Poems of Emily Bronte by Emily Brontë

    This new edition of Emily Bronte's poetryóthe first for 50 yearsócontains all those poems which she herself chose to keep. It is based on the texts of the three notebooks into which she transcribed...

    - Google
  16. 2266 . An Essay on Man by Alexander Pope

    An Essay on Man is a poem published by Alexander Pope in 1734. It is a rationalistic effort to use philosophy in order to "vindicate the ways of God to man" (l.16), a variation of John Milton's cla...

  17. 2267 . The Father by August Strindberg

    The Father (Swedish: Fadren) is a Naturalistic tragedy by Swedish playwright August Strindberg, written in 1887.

  18. 2268 . The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski

    The Painted Bird describes the world as seen by a young boy, "considered a Gypsy or Jewish stray," who wanders about small towns scattered around Central or Eastern Europe during World War II. Due ...

  19. 2269 . The Orlando Furioso by Lodovico Ariosto

    Orlando Furioso (The Frenzy of Orlando, more literally Mad Orlando) (in Italian furioso is seldom capitalized) is an Italian epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto which has exerted a wide influence on late...

  20. 2270 . The Unicorn by Iris Murdoch

    A brilliant mythical drama about well-meaning people trapped in a war of spiritual forces Marian Taylor, who has come as a “companion” to a lovely woman in a remote castle, becomes aware that her e...

    - Google
  21. 2271 . The Protocols of the Elders of Zion by Unknown

    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion or The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion is an antisemitic hoax purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination.[1] It was first...

  22. 2272 . The Works of Walter Savage Landor by Walter Savage Landor

    Walter Savage Landor (30 January 1775 – 17 September 1864) was an English writer and poet. His best known works were the prose Imaginary Conversations, and the poem Rose Aylmer, but the critical ac...

    - Google
  23. 2273 . Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming

    British Secret Service agent James Bond, a.k.a. 007, is sent to investigate a diamond smuggling ring on a mission that takes him from Sierra Leone all the way to Las Vegas.

    - Google
  24. 2274 . The Collected Poems of A. E. Housman by A. E. Housman

    Presents the texts, authorized in 1939, of the modern British writer's poems and classical translations, providing insight into his literary style and concerns.

    - Google
  25. 2275 . Poems of Matsuo Bashō by Matsuo Bashō

    Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉?, 1644 – 1694), born 松尾 金作, then Matsuo Chūemon Munefusa (松尾 忠右衛門 宗房?),[2][3] was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for ...

  26. 2276 . Penguin Island by Anatole France

    Penguin Island (1908; French: L'Île des Pingouins) is a satirical fictional history by Nobel Prize–winning French author Anatole France.

  27. 2277 . From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming

    A beautiful Soviet spy. A brand-new Spektor cipher machine. SMERSH has set an irresistible trap that threatens the entire Secret Service. Fleming's fifth 007 novel reveals a different side to Bond ...

    - Google
  28. 2278 . Two Essays on Analytical Psychology by Carl Jung

    This volume from the Collected Works of C.G. Jung has become known as perhaps the best introduction to Jung's work. In these famous essays he presented the essential core of his system. This is the...

    - Google
  29. 2279 . Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

    Tennessee Williams's second Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof confronts homosexuality, father and son relationships, greed, manipulation, aging, and death.

    - Google
  30. 2280 . Orpheus and Eurydice by Unknown

    Orpheus and Eurydice is a tale from Greek legend.

  31. 2281 . Water Music by T. C. Boyle

    Set in 1795, "Water Music" is the rambunctious account of two men's wild adventures through the gutters of London and the Scottish Highlands to their unlikely meeting in darkest Africa.

    - Google
  32. 2282 . The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood

    The Berlin Stories is a book comprising two short novels by Christopher Isherwood: Goodbye to Berlin and Mr. Norris Changes Trains. It was published in 1946.

  33. 2283 . Benito Cereno by Herman Melville

    Benito Cereno is a novella by Herman Melville. It was first serialized in Putnam's Monthly in 1855 and later included a slightly revised version in his collection The Piazza Tales (1856).

  34. 2284 . Stories of Nikolai Gogol by Nikolai Gogol

    Nikolai Vasilievich was a Ukrainian dramatist, novelist and short story writer. Considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of the natural school of Russian literary realism, ...

  35. 2285 . The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch

    Full of suspense, humor, and symbolism, this magnificently crafted and magical novel replays biblical and medieval themes in contemporary London. An attempt by the sharp, feral, and uncommonly inte...

    - Google
  36. 2286 . The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke by Theodore Roethke

    This paperback edition contains the complete text of Roethke's seven published volumes plus sixteen previously uncollected poems. Included are his Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners The...

    - Google
  37. 2287 . The Poetry of Alexander Pushkin by Alexander Pushkin

    Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin was a Russian author of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Pushkin was born in...

  38. 2288 . The Remorseful Day by Colin Dexter

    For a year, the murder of Mrs. Yvonne Harrison at her home in Oxfordshire had baffled the Thames Valley CID. The manner of her death--her naked handcuffed body left lying in bed--matched her reputa...

    - Google
  39. 2289 . Thyestes by Seneca

    Written in Nero's Rome in about AD62, Seneca's "Thyestes" is one of the greatest and most influential of classical tragedies. As the bloodiest work in the Greco-Roman canon, "Thyestes" was long rev...

  40. 2290 . She by H. Rider Haggard

    The story is a first-person narrative that follows the journey of Horace Holly and his ward Leo Vincey to a lost kingdom in the African interior. There, they encounter a primitive race of natives a...

    - Google
  41. 2291 . I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere by Anna Gavalda

    Collects eleven short stories about individuals longing to connect with others.

    - Google
  42. 2292 . Autumn by Ali Smith

    Autumn is a 2016 novel by Scottish author Ali Smith, first published by Hamish Hamilton. It is projected to be the first of four seasonal ‘state of the nation’ works. Written rapidly after the Unit...

  43. 2293 . Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon

    Chabon’s extraordinary story of one turbulent weekend in the life of a struggling writer, a satire of the permanent adolescence of the creative class A wildly successful first novel made Grady Trip...

    - Google
  44. 2294 . Earth Abides by George Rippey Stewart

    Returning from a field trip, Isherwood Williams discovers that a mysterious plague has destroyed human civilization during his absence and makes his way to San Francisco, where he finds a few survi...

    - Google
  45. 2295 . House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

    A family relocates to a small house on Ash Tree Lane and discovers that the inside of their new home seems to be without boundaries.

    - Google
  46. 2296 . The Green Road by Anne Enright

    The Green Road is a 2015 novel by Irish author Anne Enright. It is the sixth novel by Enright and concerns the lives of the Madigan family - four children and their mother Rosaleen. A critical succ...

  47. 2297 . Levels of Life by Julian Barnes

    Part history, part fiction, part memoir, Levels of Life is a powerfully personal and unforgettable book, and an immediate classic on the subject of grief. Levels of Life opens in the nineteenth cen...

    - Google
  48. 2298 . The Notebook: The Proof ; The Third Lie : Three Novels by Agota Kristof

    These three internationally acclaimed novels have confirmed Agota Kristof's reputation as one of the most provocative exponents of new-wave European fiction. With all the stark simplicity of a frac...

    - Google
  49. 2299 . Human Chain by Seamus Heaney

    Human Chain (2010) is the twelfth and final poetry collection by Seamus Heaney, who received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. It won the Forward Poetry Prize Best Collection 2010 award, the Iris...

  50. 2300 . Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

    Night Watch is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, the 29th book in his Discworld series, published in 2002. The protagonist of the novel is Sir Samuel Vimes, commander of the Ankh-M...