The Greatest Books of All Time


How is this list generated?


This list is generated from 128 "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. 201 . American Pastoral by Philip Roth

    American Pastoral is a Philip Roth novel concerning Seymour "Swede" Levov, a Jewish-American businessman and former high school athlete from Newark, New Jersey. Levov's happy and conventional upper...

  2. 202 . Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    Love in the Time of Cholera is a novel by Nobel Prize winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez that was first published in Spanish in 1985, with an English translation released in 1988 by Al...

  3. 203 . Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

    Ayn Rand's epochal novel, first published in 1957, has been a bestseller for more than four decades as well as an intellectual landmark. It is the story of a man who said that he would stop the mot...

  4. 204 . Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

    This is the epic saga of an earthling, Valentine Michael Smith, born and educated on Mars, who arrives on our planet with "psi" powers--telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, and the ability to take...

    - Google
  5. 205 . Winnie the Pooh by A. A Milne

    Winnie-the-Pooh, commonly shortened to Pooh Bear and once referred to as Edward Bear, is a fictional bear created by A. A. Milne. The first collection of stories about the character was the book Wi...

  6. 206 . Kim by Rudyard Kipling

    Kim is an orphan, living from hand to mouth in the teeming streets of Lahore. One day he meets a man quite unlike anything in his wide experience, a Tibetan lama on a quest. Kim's life suddenly acq...

  7. 207 . The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil

    The Man without Qualities (1930-42) is a novel in three books by the Austrian novelist and essayist Robert Musil. The main issue of this "story of ideas", which takes place in the time of the Au...

  8. 208 . A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

    A Doll's House is an 1879 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Written one year after The Pillars of Society, the play was the first of Ibsen's to create a sensation and is now perhaps his mo...

  9. 209 . Rabbit at Rest by John Updike

    In John Updike's fourth and final novel about ex-basketball player Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, the hero has acquired heart trouble, a Florida condo, and a second grandchild. His son, Nelson, is behavi...

  10. 210 . Hunger by Knut Hamsun

    Hunger is a novel by the Norwegian author Knut Hamsun and was published in its final form in 1890. Parts of it had been published anonymously in the Danish magazine Ny Jord in 1888. The novel is ha...

  11. 211 . Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar

    Memoirs of Hadrian is a novel by the French writer Marguerite Yourcenar about the life and death of Roman Emperor Hadrian. The book was first published in France in French in 1951 as Mémoires d'Had...

  12. 212 . Dune by Frank Herbert

    Dune is a science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert, published in 1965. It won the Hugo Award in 1966, and also the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel. Dune was also the first bestselling h...

  13. 213 . Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin

    The story concerns a small-time criminal, Franz Biberkopf, fresh from prison, who is drawn into the underworld. When his criminal mentor murders the prostitute whom Biberkopf has been relying on as...

  14. 214 . The Tempest by William Shakespeare

    The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare, estimated to have been written in 1610–11, (although some researchers have argued for an earlier dating). The play's protagonist is the banished sorcer...

  15. 215 . The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

    The Three Musketeers is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, père. It recounts the adventures of a young man named d'Artagnan after he leaves home to become a guard of the musketeers. D'Artagnan is not one ...

  16. 216 . The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

    The Book Of Disquietude or The Book of Disquiet (Livro do Desassossego in Portuguese), published posthumously, is one of the greatest works by Fernando Pessoa. It is signed under the semi-heteronym...

  17. 217 . The Road by Cormac McCarthy

    The Road is a 2006 novel by American writer Cormac McCarthy. It is a post-apocalyptic tale of a journey taken by a father and his young son over a period of several months, across a landscape blast...

  18. 218 . If on a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino

    Calvino's anti-novel is about the efforts of his two characters — a man called only The Reader, and the Other Reader, a woman named Ludmilla — to read ten very different novels. They are never able...

  19. 219 . The Long Goodbye: A Novel by Raymond Chandler

    Marlowe befriends a down on his luck war veteran with the scars to prove it. Then he finds out that Terry Lennox has a very wealthy nymphomaniac wife, who he's divorced and re-married and who ends ...

    - Google
  20. 220 . An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

    Clyde Griffiths is a young man with ambitions. He's in love with a rich girl, but it's a poor girl he has gotten pregnant, Roberta Alden, who works with him at his uncle's factory. One day he takes...

    - Time
  21. 221 . 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 ...

  22. 222 . The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a 2000 novel by American author Michael Chabon that won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001. The novel follows the lives of the title characters, a C...

  23. 223 . Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

    Set sometime around 1950, Lucky Jim follows the exploits of the eponymous James (Jim) Dixon, a reluctant Medieval history lecturer at an unnamed provincial English university. Having made a bad fir...

  24. 224 . A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

    A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With 200 million copies sold, it is the most printed original English boo...

  25. 225 . Light in August by William Faulkner

    Lght in August is an exploration of racial conflict in the society of the Southern United States.

  26. 226 . A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell

    A Dance to the Music of Time is a twelve-volume cycle of novels by Anthony Powell, inspired by the painting of the same name by Nicolas Poussin. One of the longest works of fiction in literature, i...

  27. 227 . The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

    1906 best-seller shockingly reveals intolerable labor practices and unsanitary working conditions in the Chicago stockyards as it tells the brutally grim story of a Slavic family that emigrates to ...

  28. 228 . Herzog by Saul Bellow

    Herzog is a novel set in 1964, in the United States, and is about the midlife crisis of a Jewish man named Moses E. Herzog. He is just emerging from his second divorce, this one particularly acrimo...

  29. 229 . The Poems of Robert Frost by Robert Frost

    Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in America. He is highly regarded for his realistic de...

  30. 230 . The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

    When the Time Traveler courageously stepped out of his machine for the first time, he found himself in the year 802,700--and everything had changed. H.G. Wells's famous novel of one man's astonishi...

  31. 231 . Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford

    In creating his acclaimed masterpiece Parade's End, Ford Madox Ford "wanted the Novelist in fact to appear in his really proud position as historian of his own time . . . The 'subject' was the worl...

  32. 232 . Epic of Gilgamesh by Unknown

    The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from Ancient Iraq and is among the earliest known works of literary writings. Scholars believe that it originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems abo...

  33. 233 . Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

    It follows the life of Macon "Milkman" Dead III, an African-American male living in Michigan, from birth to adulthood. The main theme in the novel is Milkman's quest for identity as a black man in ...

  34. 234 . Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth

    Of course it's vulgar. How could it not be? The sustained cry of a ferociously perplexed, ferociously lucid New York City Jew—you expected maybe Jane Austen? Roth's barbaric yawp of a book was a li...

    - Time
  35. 235 . A House for Mr. Biswas by V. S. Naipaul

    It is the story of Mr Mohun Biswas, an Indo-Trinidadian who continually strives for success and mostly fails, who marries into the Tulsi family only to find himself dominated by it, and who finally...

  36. 236 . Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

    The narrative is set primarily in Europe at the end of World War II and centers on the design, production and dispatch of V-2 rockets by the German military, and, in particular, the quest undertake...

  37. 237 . Dubliners by James Joyce

    Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. The fifteen stories were meant to be a naturalistic depiction of the Irish middle class life in and around Dub...

  38. 238 . Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

    Pinkie, a boy gangster in pre-war Brighton, is a Catholic dedicated to evil and damnation. In a dark setting of double crossing and razor slashes, his ambition and hatreds are horribly fulfilled, u...

    - Google
  39. 239 . Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

    Middlesex is a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides. It was published in 2002 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2003. The narrator and protagonist, Calliope Stephanides (later called "Cal"), an in...

  40. 240 . Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

    Steppenwolf (orig. German Der Steppenwolf) is the tenth novel by German-Swiss author Hermann Hesse. Originally published in Germany in 1927, it was first translated into English in 1929. Combining ...

  41. 241 . Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee

    Disgrace is a 1999 novel by South African-born author J. M. Coetzee, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature; the book itself won the Booker Prize in 1999, the year in which it was published. ...

  42. 242 . Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger

    "DeDaumier-Smith's Blue Period," "Teddy," and "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" are among the nine works in a collection of Salinger's perceptive and realistic short stories

    - Google
  43. 243 . Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

    Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) is a novel by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), the sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Set some six months later...

  44. 244 . The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

    The End of the Affair (1951) is a novel by British author Graham Greene, as well as the title of two feature films (released in 1955 and 1999) that were adapted for the screen based on the novel. ...

  45. 245 . Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

    Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None (German: Also sprach Zarathustra: Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen) is a philosophical novel by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, composed in four ...

  46. 246 . The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

    The Mill on the Floss is a novel by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), first published in three volumes in 1860 by William Blackwood. The first American edition was published by Thomas Y. Crowell Co., ...

  47. 247 . Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

    Tragic story of wasted lives, set against a bleak New England background. A poverty-stricken New England farmer, his ailing wife and a youthful housekeeper are drawn relentlessly into a deep-rooted...

  48. 248 . The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

    The story centers on Quoyle, a newspaper worker from upstate New York whose father had emigrated from Newfoundland. Shortly after the suicide of his parents, Quoyle's unfaithful and abusive wife Pe...

  49. 249 . Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus

    Prometheus Bound is an Ancient Greek tragedy. In Antiquity, this drama was attributed to Aeschylus, but is now considered by some scholars to be the work of another hand, perhaps one as late as ca....

  50. 250 . The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

    The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984), by Milan Kundera, is a philosophic novel about a man and his two women and their lives in the Prague Spring of the Czechoslovak Communist period in 1968. ...