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. 251 . Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

    The novel describes the life of Kathy H., a young woman of 31, focusing at first on her childhood at an unusual boarding school and eventually her adult life. The story takes place in a dystopian B...

  2. 252 . 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

    2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is a science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke. It was developed concurrently with Stanley Kubrick's film version and published after the release of the film. The story...

  3. 253 . Henderson The Rain King by Saul Bellow

    Bellow's glorious, spirited story of an eccentric American millionaire who finds a home of sorts in deepest Africa.

  4. 254 . Persuasion by Jane Austen

    Of all Jane Austen’s great and delightful novels, Persuasion is widely regarded as the most moving. It is the story of a second chance. Anne Elliot, daughter of the snobbish, spendthrift Sir Walte...

  5. 255 . The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

    The Bell Jar is American writer and poet Sylvia Plath's only novel, which was originally published under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas" in 1963. The novel is semi-autobiographical with the names of...

  6. 256 . The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

    Written in Charlotte, North Carolina in a house on East Blvd, it is about a deaf man named John Singer and the people he encounters in a 1930s mill town in the U.S. state of Georgia.

  7. 257 . White Noise by Don DeLillo

    Set at a bucolic midwestern college known only as The-College-on-the-Hill, White Noise follows a year in the life of Jack Gladney, a professor who has made his name by pioneering the field of Hitle...

  8. 258 . Molloy by Samuel Beckett

    Molloy is a novel by Samuel Beckett. The English translation is by Beckett and Patrick Bowles.

  9. 259 . The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

    The Fountainhead's protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision. The book follows hi...

  10. 260 . Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo

    Pedro Páramo is a short novel written by Juan Rulfo, originally published in 1955. In just the 23 FCE editions and reprintings, it had sold by November 1997 1,143,000 copies. Other editions in Mexi...

  11. 261 . Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

    Classic novel that has inspired generations of seekers. Blending Eastern mysticism and psychoanalysis, Hesse presents a strikingly original view of man and culture and the arduous process of self-d...

    - Google
  12. 262 . Season of Migration to the North by Al-Tayyib Salih

    Season of Migration to the North is a classic post-colonial Sudanese novel by the late novelist Al-Tayyib Salih. The novel charts individuation of the (un-named) narrator, who has returned to hi...

  13. 263 . The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

    Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize By an acclaimed writer at the height of his powers, The Sense of an Ending extends a streak of extraordinary books that began with the best-selling Arthur & Geor...

    - Google
  14. 264 . The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

    The Line of Beauty is a 2004 Booker Prize-winning novel by Alan Hollinghurst. Set in the United Kingdom in the early to mid-1980s, the story surrounds the post-Oxford life of the young gay prota...

  15. 265 . I, Claudius by Robert Graves

    I, Claudius deals sympathetically with the life of the Roman Emperor Claudius and cynically with the history of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and Roman Empire, from Julius Caesar's assassination in 44...

  16. 266 . The Suppliants by Aeschylus

    The Suppliants (Greek: Ικέτιδες / Hiketides; also translated as "The Suppliant Maidens") is a play by Aeschylus. It was probably first performed sometime after 470 BC as the first play in a trilogy...

  17. 267 . The Persians by Aeschylus

    The Persians is an Athenian tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus. First produced in 472 BCE, it is the oldest surviving play in the history of theatre. It dramatises the Persian respon...

  18. 268 . Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus

    The Seven against Thebes (Greek: Ἑπτά ἐπί Θήβας, Hepta epi Thēbas) is the third play in an Oedipus-themed trilogy produced by Aeschylus in 467 BC. It concerns the battle between an Argive army led ...

  19. 269 . Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

    Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder is a novel by the English writer Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1945. Waugh wrote that the novel "deals with what is t...

  20. 270 . Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

    The first and most autobiographical of Maugham's masterpieces. It is the story of Philip Carey, an orphan eager for life, love and adventure. After a few months studying in Heidelberg, and a brief ...

  21. 271 . Malone Dies by Samuel Beckett

    Malone Dies is a novel by Samuel Beckett. It was first published in 1951, in French, as Malone Meurt, and later translated into English by the author.

  22. 272 . The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow

    The Adventures of Augie March (1953) is a novel by Saul Bellow. It centers on the eponymous character who grows up during the Great Depression. This picaresque novel is an example of bildungsroman,...

  23. 273 . Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

    Cloud Atlas (published in the United States as Cloud Atlas: A Novel) is a 2004 novel, the third book by British author David Mitchell. It won the British Book Awards Literary Fiction Award and the ...

  24. 274 . The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead

    The novel tells the story of a highly dysfunctional family, the Pollits. The story centers on the family's impoverishment, the failure of the father Sam to provide for them, the parents' marital ba...

  25. 275 . Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

    An Oprah Book Club selection, Cry, the Beloved Country, the most famous and important novel in South Africa’s history, was an immediate worldwide bestseller in 1948. Alan Paton’s impassioned novel ...

    - Google
  26. 276 . Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

    Pippi Longstocking is a children's book written in 1945 by Astrid Lindgren. Pippi is a 9-year old that lives in an old villa in a Swedish town. (which remains unnamed for the series) She meet To...

  27. 277 . Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

    Wolf Hall (2009) is a Man Booker Prize-winning novel by English author Hilary Mantel, published by Fourth Estate. Set in the 1520s, it is about Thomas Cromwell's rise to power in the Tudor court of...

  28. 278 . Selected Stories of Alice Munro by Alice Munro

    Selected Stories is a volume of short stories by Alice Munro, published by McClelland and Stewart in 1996. It collects stories previously published in her eight previous books.

  29. 279 . The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

    A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a fat man name Gutman, and Brigid O’Shaughnessy, ...

  30. 280 . Complete Poems of Giacomo Leopardi by Giacomo Leopardi

    Giacomo Taldegardo Francesco di Sales Saverio Pietro Leopardi (June 29, 1798 – June 14, 1837) was an Italian poet, essayist, philosopher, and philologist.

  31. 281 . Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

    The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five tim...

    - Google
  32. 282 . Ajax by Sophocles

    Ajax is a play by Sophocles. The date of its first performance is unknown, but most scholars regard it as an early work, about 450 BCE to 430 BCE (J. Moore, 2). It chronicles the fate of the warrio...

  33. 283 . Women of Trachis by Sophocles

    Women of Trachis (Ancient Greek: Τραχίνιαι, Trachiniai; also translated as The Trachiniae) is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles.

  34. 284 . Philoctetes by Sophocles

    Philoctetes is a play by Sophocles (Aeschylus and Euripides also each wrote a Philoctetes but theirs have not survived). It was first performed at the Festival of Dionysus in 409 BC, where it won f...

  35. 285 . The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

    The Killer Angels (1974) is a historical novel by Michael Shaara that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. The book tells the story of four days of the Battle of Gettysburg in the Am...

  36. 286 . Possession by A. S. Byatt

    Part historical as well as contemporary fiction, the title Possession refers to issues of ownership and independence between lovers, the practice of collecting historically significant cultural art...

  37. 287 . The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

    The Red Badge of Courage is an 1895 war novel by American author Stephen Crane. It is considered one of the most influential works in American literature. The novel, a depiction on the cruelty of t...

  38. 288 . The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

    The Poisonwood Bible (1998) by Barbara Kingsolver is a bestselling novel about a missionary family, the Prices, who in 1959 move from Georgia to the fictional village of Kilanga in the Belgian Cong...

  39. 289 . Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

    Tarzan of the Apes is a novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first in a series of books about the title character Tarzan. It was first published in the pulp magazine All-Story Magazine in Oct...

  40. 290 . Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch

    It is the reign of the Emperor Augustus, and Publius Vergilius Maro, the poet of the Aeneid and Caesar's enchanter, has been summoned to the palace, where he will shortly die. Out of the last hours...

    - Google
  41. 291 . The Counterfeiters by André Gide

    The Counterfeiters is a 1925 novel by French author André Gide, first published in Nouvelle Revue Française. With many characters and crisscrossing plotlines, its main theme is that of the original...

  42. 292 . Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

    Lyric and sensual, D.H. Lawrence's last novel is one of the major works of fiction of the twentieth century. Filled with scenes of intimate beauty, explores the emotions of a lonely woman trapped i...

  43. 293 . Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

    Gilead is a novel written by Marilynne Robinson and published in 2004. It won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award. The novel is the fictional auto...

  44. 294 . The Confusions of Young Törless by Robert Musil

    'between the life we live and the life we feel...there is the invisible border, like a narrow gate' Set in a boarding school in a remote area of the Habsburg Empire at the turn of the last century,...

    - Google
  45. 295 . Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis

    Zorba the Greek is a novel written by the Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis, first published in 1946. It is the tale of a young Greek intellectual who ventures to escape his bookish life with the aid ...

  46. 296 . Jacques the Fatalist and His Master by Denis Diderot

    The main subject of the book is the relationship between the valet Jacques and his master (who is never named). The two are traveling to a destination the narrator leaves insistently vague, and to ...

  47. 297 . Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

    In this classic satire of small-town America, beautiful young Carol Kennicott comes to Gopher Prairie, Minnesota, with dreams of transforming the provincial old town into a place of beauty and cult...

  48. 298 . So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

    On an Illinois farm in the 1920s, a man is murdered, and in the same moment the tenous friendship between two lonely boys comes to an end. In telling their interconnected stories, American Book Awa...

  49. 299 . War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

    When four Martian space ships land in England, masses of people flee the cities, driven by an overwhelming fear of the alien creatures devastating weapons of death and destruction. Excellently adap...

  50. 300 . The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

    The moving story of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his selfless wife O-lan, in which the author presents a graphic view of a China when the last emperor reigned and the vast political and social u...