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. 301 . Macbeth by William Shakespeare

    The Tragedy of Macbeth, commonly just Macbeth, is a play by William Shakespeare about a regicide and its aftermath. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy and is believed to have been written sometim...

  2. 302 . The Once and Future King by T. H. White

    The world's greatest fantasy classic is "richly imagined and unfailingly eloquent and entertaining" (Booklist). The Once and Future King is T.H. White's masterful retelling of the saga of King Arth...

    - Google
  3. 303 . Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

    Our Mutual Friend (written in the years 1864–65) is the last novel completed by Charles Dickens and is in many ways one of his most sophisticated works, combining deep psychological insight with ri...

  4. 304 . Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow

    Humboldt's Gift is a 1975 novel by Saul Bellow, which won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and contributed to Bellow's winning the Nobel Prize in Literature the same year. The novel, which Bell...

  5. 305 . The Secret History by Donna Tartt

    The Secret History, the first novel by Mississippi-born writer Donna Tartt, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1992. A 75,000 print order was made for the first edition (as opposed to the usual 10...

  6. 306 . The Known World by Edward P. Jones

    The Known World is a 2003 historical novel by Edward P. Jones. It was his first novel and second book. Set in antebellum Virginia, it examines issues regarding the ownership of black slaves by free...

  7. 307 . The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

    The God of Small Things is a politically charged novel by Indian author Arundhati Roy. It is a story about the childhood experiences of a pair of fraternal twins who become victims of circumstance....

  8. 308 . All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

    All the Pretty Horses is a novel by U.S. author Cormac McCarthy published in 1992. Its romanticism (in contrast to the bleakness of McCarthy's earlier work) brought the writer much public attention...

  9. 309 . Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

    Darkness At Noon stands as an unequaled fictional portrayal of the nightmare politics of our time. Its hero is an aging revolutionary, imprisoned and psychologically tortured by the Party to which ...

  10. 310 . Stories of Guy de Maupassant by Guy de Maupassant

    Guy de Maupassant was a master of the short story. This collection displays his lively diversity, with tales that vary in theme and tone, ranging from tragedy and satire to comedy and farce. In a l...

    - Google
  11. 311 . The Man of Property by John Galsworthy

    The first novel of the Forsyte Saga

  12. 312 . To Let by John Galsworthy

    The third book of the Forsyte saga. Continues the decline of the Forsyte family, from the 1880s to the 1930s.

    - Google
  13. 313 . Indian Summer of a Forsyte by John Galsworthy

    The little spirits of the past which throng an old man's days had never pushed their faces up to his so seldom as in the seventy hours elapsing before Sunday came. The spirit of the future, with th...

    - Google
  14. 314 . Awakening by John Galsworthy

    A book from The Forsyte Saga. The subject of the second interlude is the naive and exuberant lifestyle of eight-year-old Jon Forsyte. He loves and is loved by his parents. He has an idyllic youth, ...

    - Google
  15. 315 . In Chancery by John Galsworthy

    In this second book in the family's saga, Old Jolyon, in his Indian Summer, meets Irene and his own peace.

    - Google
  16. 316 . The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

    Written for publication as a serial, The Pickwick Papers is a sequence of loosely-related adventures. The novel's main character, Mr. Samuel Pickwick, Esquire, is a kind and wealthy old gentleman, ...

  17. 317 . Call It Sleep by Henry Roth

    Call It Sleep is the story of an Austrian-Jewish immigrant family in New York in the early part of the twentieth century. Six-year-old David Schearl has a close and loving relationship with his mot...

  18. 318 . Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin

    The novel examines the role of the Christian Church in the lives of African-Americans, both as a source of repression and moral hypocrisy and as a source of inspiration and community. It also, more...

  19. 319 . Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs

    The book is structured as a series of loosely-connected vignettes. Burroughs himself stated that the chapters are intended to be read in any order. The reader follows the narration of junkie Willia...

  20. 320 . Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia by C. S. Lewis

    A prince denied his rightful throne gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honor between two men alone that will decide the fate o...

    - Google
  21. 321 . The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

    A king and some unexpected companions embark on a voyage that will take them beyond all known lands. As they sail farther and farther from charted waters, they discover that their quest is more tha...

    - Google
  22. 322 . The Silver Chair: The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

    Illustrations in this ebook appear in vibrant full color on a full color ebook device, and in rich black and white on all other devices. Narnia . . . where giants wreak havoc . . . where evil weave...

    - Google
  23. 323 . The Horse and His Boy: The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

    On a desperate journey, two runaways meet and join forces. Though they are only looking to escape their harsh and narrow lives, they soon find themselves at the center of a terrible battle. It is a...

    - Google
  24. 324 . The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis, Clive Staples Lewis

    Completed in February 1954[20] and published by Bodley Head in London on 2 May 1955, the prequel The Magician's Nephew brings the reader back to the origins of Narnia where we learn how Aslan creat...

  25. 325 . The Last Battle: The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

    During the last days of Narnia, the land faces its fiercest challenge—not an invader from without but an enemy from within. Lies and treachery have taken root, and only the king and a small band of...

    - Google
  26. 326 . Lysistrata by Aristophanes

    This classic comedy — from the 5th century BC — concerns the vow of Greek women to withhold sex from their husbands until the men agree to end the disastrous wars between Athens and Sparta. An exub...

    - Google
  27. 327 . Watership Down by Richard Adams

    Watership Down is a heroic fantasy novel about a small group of rabbits, written by British author Richard Adams. Although the animals in the story live in their natural environment, they are anthr...

  28. 328 . Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

    Set in France (primarily Paris) during the 1930s, it is the tale of Miller's life as a struggling writer. Combining fiction and autobiography, some chapters follow a strict narrative and refer to M...

  29. 329 . Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

    The lengthy and complex work takes place in a semi-parodic future version of North America. The novel touches on the topics of tennis, substance addiction and recovery programs, depression, child a...

  30. 330 . A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

    In A Handful of Dust Waugh satirises the upper class, the mercantile class and the establishments (for example: the Church) using many effective literary devices which characterise most of his work...

  31. 331 . Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally

    The book tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a Nazi Party member, who turns into the unlikely hero. By the end of the war, Schindler has saved 1,200 Jews from concentration camps all over Poland an...

  32. 332 . The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake by William Blake

    William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English painter, poet and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of t...

  33. 333 . Nausea by Jean Paul Sartre

    Sartre's greatest novel — and existentialism's key text — now introduced by James Wood. Nausea is the story of Antoine Roquentin, a French writer who is horrified at his own existence. In impressio...

    - Google
  34. 334 . Bouvard et Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert

    Bouvard et Pécuchet is an unfinished satirical work by Gustave Flaubert, published in 1881 after his death in 1880. Although conceived in 1863 as Les Deux Cloportes ("The Two Woodlice"), and par...

  35. 335 . The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa

    The War of the End of the World is one of the great modern historical novels. Inspired by a real episode in Brazilian history, Mario Vargas Llosa tells the story of an apocalyptic movement, led by ...

    - Google
  36. 336 . The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch

    The Sea, the Sea is the 19th novel by Iris Murdoch. It won the Booker Prize in 1978. The Sea, the Sea is a tale of the strange obsessions that haunt a self-satisfied playwright and director as h...

  37. 337 . Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

    Having done the longest day in literature with his monumental Ulysses (1922), James Joyce set himself an even greater challenge for his next book — the night. "A nocturnal state.... That is what I ...

  38. 338 . A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

    A Wrinkle in Time is a science fantasy novel by Madeleine L'Engle, first published in 1962. The book won a Newbery Medal, Sequoyah Book Award, and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, and was runner-up for t...

  39. 339 . The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

    Thus young Walter Hartright first meets the mysterious woman in white in what soon became one of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century. Secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelation...

  40. 340 . Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

    Maurice Bernard Sendak (born June 10, 1928) is an American writer and illustrator of children's literature. He is best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963.

  41. 341 . Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

    "I prefer not to," he respectfully and slowly said, and mildly disappeared. Academics hail it as the beginning of modernism, but to readers around the world—even those daunted by Moby-Dick—Bartleby...

    - Google
  42. 342 . The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

    It is the year 1327. Franciscans in an Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, but Brother William of Baskerville’s investigation is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths. Translated by Will...

    - Google
  43. 343 . Loving by Henry Green

    Loving tells the story of the servants in Kinalty Castle, an upper-class Irish household during World War II.

  44. 344 . Maldoror (Les Chants de Maldoror) by Comte de Lautréamont

    This macabre but beautiful work, Les Chants de Maldoror, has achieved a considerable reputation as one of the earliest and most extraordinary examples of Surrealist writing.

    - Google
  45. 345 . Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Half of a Yellow Sun is a novel that was written by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It was first published in 2006 by Knopf/Anchor and tells the story of two sisters Olanna and Kainene du...

  46. 346 . A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

    A Suitable Boy is a novel by Vikram Seth, released in 1994. At 1349 pages (1488 pages softcover) and 591,552 words, the book is one of the longest novels ever published in a single volume in the En...

  47. 347 . Regeneration by Pat Barker

    The first book of the Regeneration Trilogy and a Booker Prize nominee In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World...

    - Google
  48. 348 . The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence

    Set in the rural midlands of England, The Rainbow revolves around three generations of the Brangwen family over a period of more than sixty years, setting them against the emergence of modern Engla...

  49. 349 . Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

    The turbulent historical masterpiece of Norway’s literary master In her great historical epic Kristin Lavransdatter, set in fourteenth-century Norway, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset tells the life st...

    - Google
  50. 350 . The Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke

    Rilke's great cycle of ten elegies, perhaps his most profound poetic achievement, had its inception on the morning of January 21, 1912, but was interrupted by the First World War and not completed ...

    - Google