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. 2351 . Alberta empfängt einen Liebhaber by Birgit Vanderbeke

    no translation. Original is in German

    - Google
  2. 2352 . Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

    Cat's Eye is the story of Elaine Risley, a controversial painter who returns to Toronto, the city of her youth, for a retrospective of her art. Engulfed by vivid images of the past, she reminisces ...

    - Google
  3. 2353 . The Hunting Gun by Yasushi Inoue

    A tragedy in three letters: THE masterpiece of one of Japan's greatest writers The Hunting Gun follows the consequences of a tragic love affair. Told from the viewpoints of three different women, t...

    - Google
  4. 2354 . The Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht

    Brecht's parable of good and evil was first performed in 1943 and remains one of his most popular and frequently produced plays worldwide. This unique bilingual edition allows students to compare t...

    - Google
  5. 2355 . The Animals' Conference by Erich Kästner

    FOR a long time the animals had been watching the strange doings of people, and the day finally came when it was just too much for them!" Something had to be done for the world's children caught in...

  6. 2356 . Der Fall Mauritius by Jakob Wassermann

  7. 2357 . Die neuen Leiden des jungen W. by Ulrich Plenzdorf

    Die neuen Leiden des jungen W. (The new Sorrows of Young W.) is an analytic collage-style novel (montage novel) and play by Ulrich Plenzdorf. - Wikipedia

    - Google
  8. 2358 . Don Carlos: Infante of Spain, a Drama in Five Acts by Friedrich Schiller

    Don Carlos (German: Don Karlos, Infant von Spanien) is a (historical) tragedy in five acts by Friedrich Schiller; it was written between 1783 and 1787 and first produced in Hamburg in 1787. The tit...

    - Google
  9. 2359 . South of the Border, West of the Sun: A Novel by Haruki Murakami

    Following the massive complexity of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle--Haruki Murakami's best-selling, award-winning novel--comes this deceptively simple love story, a contemporary rendering of the romanc...

    - Google
  10. 2360 . Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

    Little Fires Everywhere is a 2017 novel by American author Celeste Ng. It is her second novel and takes place in Shaker Heights, Ohio where Ng grew up. She described writing about her hometown as "...

  11. 2361 . The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

    The Secret Scripture is a 2008 novel written by Irish playwright Sebastian Barry.

  12. 2362 . Clockers by Richard Price

    Clockers is a 1992 novel by American author Richard Price.

  13. 2363 . Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is the first novel by British writer Susanna Clarke. An alternate history set in 19th-century England around the time of the Napoleonic Wars, it is based on the premis...

  14. 2364 . Edward Lear's Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear

    A collection of over 100 limericks with the author's original illustrations

    - Google
  15. 2365 . A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter

  16. 2366 . Circe by Madeline Miller

    "A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess's story," this #1 New York Times bestseller is "both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a ...

    - Google
  17. 2367 . The Public Burning by Robert Coover

    The Public Burning reimagines the three fateful days in 1953 that culminated with the execution of alleged atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Vice President Richard Nixon—the voraciously ambi...

    - Google
  18. 2368 . Masterworks of the Classical Haida Mythtellers by Robert Bringhurst

    Robert Bringhurst (born October 16, 1946) is a Canadian poet, typographer and author. He is the author of The Elements of Typographic Style – a reference book of typefaces, glyphs and the visual an...

  19. 2369 . Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

    Mystic River is a novel by Dennis Lehane that was published in 2001. It won the 2002 Dilys Award and was made into an Academy Award-winning film in 2003.

  20. 2370 . The Ticket That Exploded by William S. Burroughs

    In The Ticket That Exploded, William S. Burroughs’s grand “cut-up” trilogy that starts with The Soft Machine and continues through Nova Express reaches its climax as inspector Lee and the Nova Poli...

    - Google
  21. 2371 . The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs

    In Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs revealed his genius. In The Soft Machine he begins an adventure that will take us even further into the dark recesses of his imagination, a region where nothing...

    - Google
  22. 2372 . Nova Express by William S. Burroughs

    The Soft Machine introduced us to the conditions of a universe where endemic lusts of the mind and body pray upon men, hook them, and turn them into beasts. Nova Express takes William S. Burroughs’...

    - Google
  23. 2373 . Take It Or Leave It by Raymond Federman

    Moving freely from past to present and place to place leap-frogging from digression to digression, "Take It or Leave It" recounts the hilarious and amourous adventures of Frenchy, a young man who s...

    - Google
  24. 2374 . Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan

    Uwem Akpan, born the 19 May 1971, is a Nigerian Jesuit priest and the author of Say You’re One of Them (2008), a collection of five stories (each set in a different African country) published by Li...

  25. 2375 . Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

    Swamplandia! is a 2011 novel by Karen Russell. Set in the Ten Thousand Islands, off the southwest coast of Florida, it is the story of the Bigtree family of alligator wrestlers who live on Swamplan...

  26. 2376 . Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates

    Black Water is a 1992 novella by Joyce Carol Oates.

  27. 2377 . Words by Jacques Prévert

  28. 2378 . The Blue Lotus by Hergé

    While Tintin is in India, he gets drawn into a dangerous mystery revolving around a madness-inducing poison. He traces the poison to Shanghai, and discovers a nefarious web of opium traffickers. Bu...

    - Google
  29. 2379 . The Leavers by Lisa Ko

    Lisa Ko is an American writer. Her debut novel, The Leavers, won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction. She has ...

  30. 2380 . The Wife of Martin Guerre by Janet Lewis

    The Wife of Martin Guerre (first published 1941) is a short novel by an American writer Janet Lewis based on the story of Martin Guerre, the 16th century peasant who apparently returned home to his...

  31. 2381 . Asterix the Gaul by Rene Goscinny

    When a Roman Centurion discovers the secret of Getafix's magic potion, Asterix has to intervene to save his druid friend. Simultaneous.

    - Google
  32. 2382 . The Bald Soprano by Eugène Ionesco

    La Cantatrice Chauve (Romanian: Cântăreața Cheală) — translated from French as The Bald Soprano or The Bald Prima Donna — is the first play written by Romanian-French playwright Eugène Ionesco.

  33. 2383 . The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

    The Way of Kings is an epic fantasy novel written by American author Brandon Sanderson and the first book in The Stormlight Archive series. The novel was published on August 31, 2010 by Tor Books. ...

  34. 2384 . The Abyss by Marguerite Yourcenar

    The Abyss (French: L'Œuvre au noir) is a novel by the Belgian-French writer Marguerite Yourcenar. Its narrative centers on the life and death of Zeno, a physician, philosopher, scientist and alchem...

  35. 2385 . The Rifles by William T. Vollmann

    When Sir John Franklin defies the warnings of native peoples and embarks on his fourth Arctic voyage in the 1840s, his journey ends in tragedy in a novel of America's ongoing tragedy of greed, igno...

    - Google
  36. 2386 . Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

    Wolf in White Van is the first novel by the American author and singer-songwriter John Darnielle. Wolf in White Van tells the story of Sean Phillips, a reclusive game designer whose face has been s...

  37. 2387 . The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel by Amy Hempel

    Amy Hempel (born December 14, 1951) is an American short story writer, journalist, and university professor at Brooklyn College.

  38. 2388 . The Horseman on the Roof by Jean Giono

    Perhaps no other of his novels better reveals Giono's perfect balance between lyricism and narrative, description and characterization, the epic and the particular, than The Horseman on the Roof. T...

    - Google
  39. 2389 . Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany

    In Bellona, reality has come unglued, and a mad civilization takes root A young half–Native American known as the Kid has hitchhiked from Mexico to the midwestern city Bellona—only something is wro...

    - Google
  40. 2390 . The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    The Water Dancer is a 2019 novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It is his first novel and was published on September 24, 2019, by One World, an imprint of Random House. It is a surrealist story set in the pr...

  41. 2391 . The Arrival by Shaun Tan

  42. 2392 . The Stain: A Novel by Rikki Ducornet

    In The Stain Rikki Ducornet tells the story of a young girl named Charlotte, branded with a furry birthmark in the shape of a dancing hare, regarded as the mark of Satan. "Sadistic nuns, scatology,...

    - Google
  43. 2393 . A Personal Matter by Kenzaburō Ōe

    Kenzaburo Oe, the winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature, is internationally acclaimed as one of the most important and influential post-World War II writers, known for his powerful accounts...

    - Google
  44. 2394 . The Jade Cabinet by Rikki Ducornet

    Continues the author's "Tetrology of the Elements" with an air-themed novel set in Victorian England

    - Google
  45. 2395 . The Fountains of Neptune by Rikki Ducornet

    A lyrical exploration of memory and imagination. "My sleep began in the spring of 1914. I slept through both World Wars and the tainted calm between. It was as if I had been cursed by an evil fairy...

    - Google
  46. 2396 . Entering Fire by Rikki Ducornet

    This startling and brilliantly comic novel tells the stories of two men: a father and his estranged son. Lamprias de Bergerac is a gentle mystic and amateur botanist who spends his middle-aged year...

  47. 2397 . Thérèse Desqueyroux by François Mauriac

    Francois Mauriac's masterpiece and one of the greatest Catholic novels, Therese Desqueyroux is the haunting story of an unhappily married young woman whose desperation drives her to thoughts of mur...

    - Google
  48. 2398 . Count Zero by William Gibson

    In the future world of the Sprawl, an urban complex that extends from Boston to Houston, a sentient computer data base known as the Cyberspace matrix dominates humanity's fate

    - Google
  49. 2399 . How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

    How I Live Now is a young adult novel by Meg Rosoff, first published in 2004. The book won three notable awards including the Michael L. Printz Award and received generally positive reviews.

  50. 2400 . Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson

    William Gibson, author of the extraordinary multiaward-winning novel Neuromancer, has written his most brilliant and thrilling work to date . . .The Mona Lisa Overdrive. Enter Gibson's unique world...

    - Google