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. 2551 . Restless by William Boyd

    Restless, an espionage novel by William Boyd, was published in 2006 and won the Costa Prize for fiction. It is the story of a mother revealing to her daughter, in a series of written accounts, that...

  2. 2552 . Saturday by Ian McEwan

    In his triumphant new novel, Ian McEwan, the bestselling author of Atonement, follows an ordinary man through a Saturday whose high promise gradually turns nightmarish. Henry Perowne–a neurosurgeon...

  3. 2553 . The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf

    Using an ocean voyage as the setting, this novel shows people's lack of understanding of each other.

    - Google
  4. 2554 . A Sorrow Beyond Dreams by Peter Handke

    Peter Handke (born 6 December 1942, in Griffen, Austria) is an avant-garde Austrian novelist and playwright.

  5. 2555 . Day by A. L. Kennedy

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  6. 2556 . The Diary of Anais Nin, 1931-1934 by Anaïs Nin

    Anaïs Nin (Spanish: [anaˈis ˈnin]; born Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell; February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977) was an author born to Cuban parents in France, where she was a...

    - Google
  7. 2557 . How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

    How the García Girls Lost Their Accents is a 1991 novel written by Dominican-American poet, novelist, and essayist Julia Alvarez. Told in reverse chronological order and narrated from shifting pers...

  8. 2558 . The Pearl by John Steinbeck

    “There it lay, the great pearl, perfect as the moon.” One of Steinbeck’s most taught works, The Pearl is the story of the Mexican diver Kino, whose discovery of a magnificent pearl from the Gulf be...

    - Google
  9. 2559 . Best Science Fiction Stories of H. G. Wells by H. G. Wells

    Eighteen supernatural tales deal with such phenomena as an invisible man, a crystal egg from Mars, a blood-sucking orchid

    - Google
  10. 2560 . Landing Light by Don Paterson

  11. 2561 . The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

    The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel is the first book by American author David Wroblewski. It became a New York Times Best Seller on June 29, 2008, and Oprah Winfrey chose it for her book club on ...

  12. 2562 . Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane

    First published in 1893, this realistic tale of a young girl in the slums of New York shocked readers. With five other stories, from the local color of small-town life to war stories full of irony ...

    - Google
  13. 2563 . Theory of War by Joan Brady

  14. 2564 . Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak

    With Papa off to sea and Mama despondent, Ida must go outside over there to rescue her baby sister from goblins who steal her to be a goblin's bride.

    - Google
  15. 2565 . Rivers and Mountains by John Ashbery

  16. 2566 . Behind of the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson

    Behind the Scenes at the Museum is the first novel of Kate Atkinson. The book covers the experiences of Ruby Lennox from a middle-class English family.

  17. 2567 . The Children of Dynmouth by William Trevor

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  18. 2568 . Kruger's Alp by Christopher Hope

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  19. 2569 . The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

    The Dharma Bums is a 1958 novel by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. The semi-fictional accounts in the novel are based upon events that occurred years after the events of On the Road. The main ...

  20. 2570 . Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin

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  21. 2571 . Picture Palace by Paul Theroux

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  22. 2572 . Wild at Heart: The Story of Sailor and Lula by Barry Gifford

    Despite her mother's disapproval, Lula Pace Fortune joins her boyfriend, Sailor Ripley, when he finishes serving his prison sentence for murder

    - Google
  23. 2573 . Searching for Caleb by Anne Tyler

    Searching for Caleb is Anne Tyler's sixth novel. It was originally published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1975.

  24. 2574 . The Box Man by Kobo Abé

    Kōbō Abe (安部公房, Abe Kōbō?), pseudonym of Kimifusa Abe (Abe Kimifusa, March 7, 1924 – January 22, 1993) was a Japanese writer, playwright, photographer and inventor.

  25. 2575 . Thank You and Other Poems by Kenneth Koch

  26. 2576 . Joy in the Morning by P. G. Wodehouse

    “To dive into a Wodehouse novel is to swim in some of the most elegantly turned phrases in the English language.”—Ben Schott Follow the adventures of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman’s gentleman, J...

    - Google
  27. 2577 . Hagoromo: A Celestial Robe by Japan

    Hagoromo (羽衣 The Feather Mantle?) is among the most-performed Japanese Noh plays. It is an example of the traditional swan maiden motif. - Wikipedia

    - Google
  28. 2578 . Christina Rossetti: The Complete Poems by Christina Georgina Rossetti

    Presents a complete collection of poems by the English author along with a chronology, further reading, and notes.

    - Google
  29. 2579 . The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

    The Book of Strange New Things is a 2014 science fiction novel by Dutch-born author Michel Faber. The work was first published in the United States on October 28, 2014 and concerns an English pasto...

  30. 2580 . Injury Time by Beryl Bainbridge

    Injury Time is a novel by English author Beryl Bainbridge and first published in 1977 by Duckworth. It won the 1977 Whitbread Book of the Year Award.

  31. 2581 . The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

    When an Englishwoman receives mysterious gifts of pearls and a letter promising to right wrongs done to her, she calls upon Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to investigate.

    - Google
  32. 2582 . English Passengers by Matthew Kneale

  33. 2583 . The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

    The Time Traveler's Wife, published in 2003, is the debut novel of American author Audrey Niffenegger. It is a love story about a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredic...

  34. 2584 . Apu Ollontay by Peru

    Ollantay is a dramatic play, originally written in the Quechua language. It is considered by some to be of Incan origin---and as such the oldest and deepest expression of Quechua literature---while...

    - Google
  35. 2585 . Struwwelpeter, Or, Merry Rhymes and Funny Pictures... by Heinrich Hoffmann

    Der Struwwelpeter (1845) (or Shockheaded Peter) is a German children's book by Heinrich Hoffmann. It comprises ten illustrated and rhymed stories, mostly about children. Each has a clear moral that...

    - Google
  36. 2586 . Home to Harlem by Claude McKay

    With sensual, often brutal accuracy, Claude McKay traces the parallel paths of two very different young men struggling to find their way through the suspicion and prejudice of American society. At ...

    - Google
  37. 2587 . Cheri by Colette

    Cheri and The Last Of Cheri involve a tragic/comic love affair. Colette (1873-1954) is the pseudonym for Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known in English speaking countries for her novel Gig...

    - Google
  38. 2588 . Poems: Selected and New, 1950-1974 by Adrienne Rich

    Adrienne Cecile Rich is an American poet, essayist and feminist. She has been called "one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the [20th] century."

  39. 2589 . Savages: A Novel by Don Winslow

    Running a lucrative marijuana operation in Laguna Beach, environmentalist Ben and mercenary Chon confront an adversary in the Mexican Baja cartel who kidnaps their playmate and confidante Ophelia, ...

    - Google
  40. 2590 . Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby

    The decadence and violence of the urban streets is graphically portrayed in a novel set in a New York slum

    - Google
  41. 2591 . Young Shoulders by John Wain

    Young Shoulders is a 1982 novel by John Wain. It portrays incompatibility in a marital relationship and how such a flawed marriage affects the children born out of it.

  42. 2592 . The Three Hundred Tang Poems by China

    The Three Hundred Tang Poems (simplified Chinese: 唐诗三百首; traditional Chinese: 唐詩三百首; pinyin: Tángshī sānbǎi shǒu) is an anthology of poems from the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618 - 907) first compiled a...

    - Google
  43. 2593 . Elegies by Douglas Dunn

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  44. 2594 . Hard Times by Charles Dickens

    The world of Hard Times For These Times revolves around a small industrial town firmly in the grip of one businessman. Bounderby is owner of the local mill and Gradgrind, his employee, is the schoo...

    - Google
  45. 2595 . The Terror by Dan Simmons

    The Terror is the name of a 2007 novel by American author Dan Simmons. The novel is a fictionalized account of Franklin's lost expedition of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror under Captain Sir John Frankli...

  46. 2596 . The Complete Stories by Zora Neale Hurston

    This landmark gathering of Zora Neale Hurston's short fiction—most of which appeared only in literary magazines during her lifetime—reveals the evolution of one of the most important African Americ...

    - Google
  47. 2597 . The Lime Twig by John Hawkes

    The Lime Twig is a 1961 novella by American writer John Hawkes.

  48. 2598 . The Natural by Bernard Malamud

    Introduction by Kevin Baker The Natural, Bernard Malamud’s first novel, published in 1952, is also the first—and some would say still the best—novel ever written about baseball. In it Malamud, usua...

    - Google
  49. 2599 . A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley

    A Fan's Notes is a novel by Frederick Exley, first published in 1968. Subtitled "A Fictional Memoir" and categorized as fiction, the book is somewhat autobiographical. In a brief "Note to the reade...

  50. 2600 . Poor Things by Alasdair Gray

    Poor Things is a novel by Scottish writer Alasdair Gray, published in 1992. It won the Whitbread Novel Award in 1992 and the Guardian Fiction Prize for 1992.