The Greatest Books of All Time


How is this list generated?


This list is generated from 129 "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. 2651 . The Comforts of Madness by Paul Sayer

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  2. 2652 . Native American Folktales by Thomas A. Green

    Presents thirty-one stories selected from North American native traditions, organized into such categories as origins, heroes, heroines, villains, society and conflict, and the supernatural.

    - Google
  3. 2653 . On the Bus with Rosa Parks by Rita Dove

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  4. 2654 . The Collected Works by Kahlil Gibran

    A collection of the major works of the celebrated poet, artist, and mystic features an array of stories, parables, prose poems, and essays that include "The Prophet," "The Wanderer," "Jesus the Son...

    - Google
  5. 2655 . The Ice Storm: A Novel by Rick Moody

    The year is 1973. As a freak winter storm bears down on an exclusive, affluent suburb in Connecticut, cark skid out of control, men and women swap partners, and their children experiment with sex, ...

    - Google
  6. 2656 . Flowering Judas and Other Stories by Katherine Anne Porter

    the astonishing 1930 collection that introduced a major new voice in American literature. "If Katherine Anne Porter had written nothing but these short narratives," observed the New York Times, "sh...

    - Google
  7. 2657 . Man in the Holocene by Max Frisch

    The parabolic novella Man in the Holocene (1979) is one of Max Frisch’s later works. A distinctive feature of this book’s style are the reprinted cutouts, that the protagonist, Mr. Geiser, cut out ...

  8. 2658 . Henry IV, Part I by William Shakespeare

    William Shakespeare's King Henry IV, Part I is one the playwright's classic historical English dramas. The narrative revolves around the rebellion against King Henry IV led by the Welshman Glendowe...

    - Google
  9. 2659 . Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall

    "An unforgettable novel, written with pride and anger, with rebellion and tears."—Herald Tribune Book Review"Passionate, compelling . . . an impressive accomplishment."—Saturday Review"Remarkable f...

    - Google
  10. 2660 . Spies by Michael Frayn

  11. 2661 . I, etcetera by Susan Sontag

    I, etcetera is a 1978 collection of short stories by Susan Sontag.

  12. 2662 . The Child in Time by Ian McEwan

    The Child in Time (1987) is a novel by Ian McEwan. It won the Whitbread Novel Award for that year. It concerns Stephen, an author of children's books, and his wife two years after the kidnapping of...

  13. 2663 . Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner

    In Lolly Willowes, Sylvia Townsend Warner tells of an aging spinster's struggle to break way from her controlling family—a classic story that she treats with cool feminist intelligence, while addin...

    - Google
  14. 2664 . The Complete Short Stories of Jack London by Jack London

    John Griffith "Jack" London (born John Griffith Chaney, January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916) was an American author, journalist, and social activist. He was a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world ...

    - Google
  15. 2665 . The Pure and the Impure by Colette

    Colette herself considered The Pure and the Impure her best book, "the nearest I shall ever come to writing an autobiography." This guided tour of the erotic netherworld with which Colette was so i...

  16. 2666 . Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

    Jonathan Safran Foer follows his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated, with an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting story about New York City in the period following September 11 Ext...

    - Google
  17. 2667 . Speedboat by Renata Adler

    When Speedboat burst on the scene in the late ’70s it was like nothing readers had encountered before. It seemed to disregard the rules of the novel, but it wore its unconventionality with ease. Re...

    - Google
  18. 2668 . Women by Charles Bukowski

    Women is a 1978 novel written by Charles Bukowski, starring his semi-autobiographical character Henry Chinaski. In contrast to Factotum, Post Office and Ham on Rye, Women is centered around Chinask...

  19. 2669 . The Oranging of America by Max Apple

    Max Apple (born October 22, 1941) is an American short story writer, novelist, and university professor at The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Apple, who was born in Grand...

  20. 2670 . Sybil: Or The Two Nations by Benjamin Disraeli

    Sybil was written by Benjamin Disraeli, future Prime Minister of Great Britain. He was greatly concerned with the poverty of the working classes, and this novel, with its in-depth exploration of th...

    - Google
  21. 2671 . The Epicure's Lament by Kate Christensen

    Hugo Whittier–failed poet and former kept man–is a wily misanthrope with a taste for whiskey, women, and his own cooking. Afflicted with a rare disease that will be fatal unless he quits smoking, H...

    - Google
  22. 2672 . Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral by Gabriela Mistral

    The first Nobel Prize in literature to be awarded to a Latin American writer went to the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral. Famous and beloved during her lifetime all over Latin America and in Europe, ...

    - Google
  23. 2673 . Selected Poems by Andrew Marvell

    "The quality which [Andrew] Marvell had," T.S. Eliot remarked, "whether we call it wit or reason or even urbanity.is something precious and needed and apparently extinct." This selection does justi...

    - Google
  24. 2674 . The Dyskolos by Menander

    Dyskolos (Greek: Δύσκολος, translated as The Grouch, The Misanthrope, The Curmudgeon, The Bad-tempered Man or Old Cantankerous) is an Ancient Greek comedy by Menander, the only one of his plays, an...

    - Google
  25. 2675 . The Collected Short Stories of Maxim Gorky by Maxim Gorky

    Maxim Gorky continues to be regarded as the greatest literary representative of revolutionary Russia. Born of the people, and having experienced in his own person their sufferings and their misery,...

    - Google
  26. 2676 . The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

    The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, commonly referred to simply as Doctor Faustus, is a play by Christopher Marlowe, based on the German story Faust, in which a man sells ...

    - Google
  27. 2677 . Kabbalah by Unknown

    Kabbalah is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the mystical aspect of Judaism. It is a set of esoteric teachings that is meant to explain the relationship between an infinite, eterna...

  28. 2678 . Geek Love: A Novel by Katherine Dunn

    Geek Love is the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out–with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes–to breed their own exhibit of human oddities....

    - Google
  29. 2679 . The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

    The Yiddish Policemen's Union is a 2007 novel by American author Michael Chabon. The novel is a detective story set in an alternative history version of the present day, based on the premise that d...

  30. 2680 . If: A Father's Advice to His Son by Rudyard Kipling

    An illustrated version of one of Kipling's famous poems about a father's advice to his son.

    - Google
  31. 2681 . A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

    Welcome to sunny suburban 1960s Southern California. George is a gay middle-aged English professor, adjusting to solitude after the tragic death of his young partner. He is determined to persist in...

    - Google
  32. 2682 . The Chip Chip Gatherers by Shiva Naipaul

    The Chip-Chip Gatherers is a novel by Shiva Naipaul originally published in 1973 by Penguin Books. It was reprinted in a new edition as a Penguin Twentieth Century Classic in 1997. It is a comic st...

  33. 2683 . I Loved You More by Tom Spanbauer

    Tom Spanbauer’s first novel in seven years is a love story triangle akin to The Marriage Plot and Freedom, only with a gay main character who charms gays and straights alike. I Loved You More is a ...

    - Google
  34. 2684 . The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony, in Eight Fits by Lewis Carroll

    The Hunting of the Snark (An Agony in 8 Fits) is typically categorized as a nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll, the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Written from 1874 to 1876, the poem bor...

    - Google
  35. 2685 . The Cunning Man by Robertson Davies

    The Cunning Man, published by McClelland and Stewart in 1994, is the last novel written by Canadian novelist Robertson Davies. The Cunning Man is the memoir of the life of a doctor, Dr. Jonathan...

  36. 2686 . Advertisements for Myself by Norman Mailer

    Advertisements for Myself is an omnibus collection of short works and fragments by Norman Mailer, linked with commentaries supplied by the author himself. The collection, which was published by G.P...

  37. 2687 . Pure by Andrew Miller

    Jean-Baptiste Baratte, an engineer of modest origin, arrives in the city in 1785, charged by the King’s minister with emptying the overflowing cemetery of Les Innocents, a ancient site whose stench...

    - Google
  38. 2688 . The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick

    The Shawl is considered a modern classic - a masterpiece in two acts. The horror and desolation evoked through piercing imagery - first through the abomination of a Holocaust concentration camp mur...

    - Google