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. 401 . Collected Poems of T.S. Eliot by T. S. Eliot

    Thomas Stearns Eliot was an American poet, playwright, and literary critic, arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century.

  2. 402 . Life of Pi by Yann Martel

    Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel written by Canadian author Yann Martel. In the story, the protagonist Piscine "Pi" Molitor Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spiritua...

  3. 403 . Watchmen by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons

    Watchmen is a graphic novel—a book-length comic book with ambitions above its station—starring a ragbag of bizarre, damaged, retired superheroes: the paunchy, melancholic Nite Owl; the raving dooms...

    - Time
  4. 404 . Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Malory

    Le Morte d'Arthur (spelled Le Morte Darthur in the first printing and also in some modern editions, Middle French for la mort d'Arthur, "the death of Arthur") is Sir Thomas Malory's compilation of ...

  5. 405 . Anniversaries by Uwe Johnson

    A translation of the first two volumes of Uwe Johnson's Jahrestage.

    - Google
  6. 406 . Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

    Love Medicine is Louise Erdrich’s first novel, published in 1984. Each chapter is narrated by a different character. These narratives are very conversational, as if the narrators were telling a st...

  7. 407 . The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

    The story is set in the British province of New York during the French and Indian War, and concerns—in part—a Huron massacre (with passive French acquiescence) of between 500 to 1,500 Anglo-America...

  8. 408 . Poems of W. H. Auden by W. H. Auden

    Wystan Hugh Auden[1] (/ˈwɪstən ˈhjuː ˈɔːdən/;[2] 21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973), who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet,[3][4] born in England, later an American citizen, a...

  9. 409 . Thérèse Raquin by Emile Zola

    Thérèse Raquin [teʁɛz ʁakɛ̃] is a novel (first published in 1867) and a play (first performed in 1873) by the French writer Émile Zola. The novel was originally published in serial format in the jo...

  10. 410 . Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow

    Ragtime is a 1975 novel by E. L. Doctorow. This work of historical fiction is mostly set in New York City from about 1900 until the United States entry into World War I in 1917. A unique adaptation...

  11. 411 . His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

    The story involves fantasy elements such as witches and armoured polar bears, and alludes to a broad range of ideas from fields such as physics, philosophy, theology and spirituality. It follows th...

  12. 412 . The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth

    The Radetzky March, Joseph Roth's classic saga of the privileged von Trotta family, encompasses the entire social fabric of the Austro-Hungarian Empire just before World War I. The author's greates...

    - Google
  13. 413 . Germinal by Émile Zola

    Germinal is the thirteenth novel in Émile Zola's twenty-volume series Les Rougon-Macquart. Often considered Zola's masterpiece and one of the most significant novels in the French tradition, the no...

  14. 414 . Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

    Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel had a profound effect on attitudes toward African America...

  15. 415 . Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

    Before Raymond Carver, John Cheever, and Richard Ford, there was Sherwood Anderson, who, with Winesburg, Ohio, charted a new direction in American fiction — evoking with lyrical simplicity quiet mo...

  16. 416 . The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    The Sorrows of Young Werther is an epistolary and loosely autobiographical novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first published in 1774; a revised edition of the novel was published in 1787. Werthe...

  17. 417 . The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope

    The Last Chronicle of Barset concerns an indigent but learned clergyman, the Reverend Josiah Crawley, the curate of Hogglestock, as he stands accused of stealing a cheque. The novel is notable for...

  18. 418 . The Bacchae by Euripides

    Electra or Elektra (Ancient Greek: Ἠλέκτρα, Ēlektra) is a Greek tragedy by Sophocles. Its date is not known, but various stylistic similarities with the Philoctetes (409 BC) and the Oedipus at Colo...

  19. 419 . Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick first published in 1968. The main plot follows Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter of androids, while the secondary plot ...

  20. 420 . The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

    The Betrothed is an Italian historical novel by Alessandro Manzoni, first published in 1827, in three volumes. It has been called the most famous and widely read novel of the Italian language. S...

  21. 421 . A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov

    A Hero of Our Time is a novel by Mikhail Lermontov published in 1840. It tells the story of a young officer, Pechorin, sent to the Caucasus after a duel. This is what the author himself wrote about...

    - Google
  22. 422 . The Moon and the Bonfires by Cesare Pavese

    An orphan rescued from death by a farm family returns to Italy from America after World War II with money in his pockets, but wealth cannot protect him from the harsh realities of life. Original.

    - Google
  23. 423 . We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

    Translated by Natasha Randall Foreword by Bruce Sterling Written in 1921, We is set in the One State, where all live for the collective good and individual freedom does not exist. The novel takes t...

    - Google
  24. 424 . The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett

    The Unnamable is a 1953 novel by Samuel Beckett. It is the third and final entry in Beckett's "Trilogy" of novels, which begins with Molloy followed by Malone Dies. It was originally published in F...

  25. 425 . Sophie's Choice by William Styron

    It concerns a young American Southerner, an aspiring writer, who befriends the Jewish Nathan Landau and his beautiful lover Sophie, a Polish (but non-Jewish) survivor of the Nazi concentration camp...

  26. 426 . The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

    The Day of the Locust is a 1939 novel by American author Nathanael West, set in Hollywood, California during the Great Depression, depicting the alienation and desperation of a disparate group of i...

  27. 427 . The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton

    The Custom of the Country is a 1913 novel by Edith Wharton. It tells the story of Undine Spragg, a Midwestern girl who attempts to ascend in New York City society.

  28. 428 . Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

    Cat's Cradle explores issues of science, technology, and religion, satirizing the arms race and many other targets along the way. After turning down his original thesis, the University of Chicago, ...

  29. 429 . The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

    Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she ...

    - Google
  30. 430 . Carry On, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

    A classic collection of Jeeves and Wooster stories from P.G. Wodehouse, the great comic writer of the 20th century In his new role as valet to Bertie Wooster, Jeeves's first duty is to create a mir...

    - Google
  31. 431 . Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

    The character of the chief protagonist of The Satanic Verses is based on Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan and a bit of Rama Rao. The title refers to what are known as the satanic verses, a group o...

  32. 432 . The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov

  33. 433 . The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

    Illustrated in black-and-white. We're celebrating the thirty-fifth anniversary (1996) of this modern kids' classic with a special hardcover edition! This ingenious fantasy centeres around Milo, a b...

    - Google
  34. 434 . The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham

    Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the absolute. The progress of his spiritual odyssey involves him with some of Maugham's most brilliant characters - his fiancée Isabel whose choice be...

    - Google
  35. 435 . And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

    And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by Agatha Christie, widely considered her masterpiece and described by her as the most difficult of her books to have written.

  36. 436 . The Naked Dead by Norman Mailer

    The Naked and the Dead is a 1948 novel by Norman Mailer. It was based on his experiences and exaggerations of that experience with the 112th Cavalry Regiment during the Philippines Campaign (1944–4...

  37. 437 . New Grub Street: A Novel by George Gissing

    New Grub Street is a novel by George Gissing published in 1891, which is set in the literary and journalistic circles of 1880s London. Gissing revised and shortened the novel for a French edition o...

    - Google
  38. 438 . The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

    "My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky." Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering...

    - Google
  39. 439 . The Poems of John Keats by John Keats

    John Keats (/ˈkiːts/; 31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) was an English Romantic poet. He was one of the main figures of the second generation of Romantic poets along with Lord Byron and Percy Bys...

  40. 440 . Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

    Invisible Cities (Italian: Le città invisibili) is a novel by Italian writer Italo Calvino. It was published in Italy in 1972 by Giulio Einaudi Editore.

  41. 441 . Phèdre by Jean Racine

    Phèdre (originally Phèdre et Hippolyte) is a dramatic tragedy in five acts written in alexandrine verse by Jean Racine, first performed in 1677.

  42. 442 . Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Edward FitzGerald

    The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (Persian: رباعیات عمر خیام‎) is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his translation of a selection of poems, originally written in Persian and numbering about a th...

  43. 443 . Silas Marner by George Eliot

    Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe is the third novel by George Eliot, published in 1861. An outwardly simple tale of a linen weaver, it is notable for its strong realism and its sophisticated tre...

  44. 444 . The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope

    'Trollope did not write for posterity,' observed Henry James. 'He wrote for the day, the moment; but these are just the writers whom posterity is apt to put into its pocket.' Considered by contempo...

  45. 445 . Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

    Cold Mountain is a 1997 historical fiction novel by Charles Frazier. It tells the story of W. P. Inman, a wounded deserter from the Confederate army near the end of the American Civil War who walks...

  46. 446 . Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello

    Six Characters in Search of an Author (Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore) is the most famous and celebrated play by the Italian writer Luigi Pirandello. The play is a satirical tragicomedy. It was ...

  47. 447 . The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño

    New Year's Eve, 1975: Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima, founders of the visceral realist movement in poetry, leave Mexico City in a borrowed white Impala. Their quest: to track down the obscure, vanis...

    - Google
  48. 448 . The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima

    Mizoguchi has been mentally troubled since he witnessed his mother's infidelity in the presence of his dying father. Mizoguchi feels utterly abandoned and alone until he becomes a pdest at Kinka-ku...

    - Google
  49. 449 . De Rerum Natura by Lucretius

    De rerum natura is a first century BC epic poem by the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius with the goal of explaining Epicurean philosophy to a Roman audience. The poem, written in dactylic hexam...

  50. 450 . The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

    In a corrupt London underworld of criminals, terrorists, and fanatics, Mr. Verloc is assigned to plant a bomb. The tragic repercussions for his family show how Conrad's ironic voice is concerned no...