Elif Batuman

Elif Batuman is an American author, academic, and journalist. She is known for her novels 'The Idiot' and 'The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them'. Batuman's work often explores themes of identity, culture, and literature.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Possessed

    "The Possessed" is a compelling narrative that combines memoir, criticism, and travel writing to explore the author's deep fascination with Russian literature. Through her experiences as a graduate student at Stanford, her travels to Turkey, Russia, and Uzbekistan, and her encounters with other scholars, the author delves into the works of great Russian authors such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov, while also reflecting on the nature of literature, identity, and the human condition.

    The 5867th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Idiot

    The novel follows the experiences of Selin, a daughter of Turkish immigrants, during her freshman year at Harvard University in the mid-1990s. As she navigates the complexities of language, love, and her own identity, Selin begins an email correspondence with Ivan, a senior mathematics student. This digital romance and her quest for understanding lead her through various intellectual and emotional adventures, from teaching in Hungary to grappling with the nuances of communication and the nature of storytelling. The book is a coming-of-age tale that humorously captures the challenges of self-discovery and the transition into adulthood.

    The 8377th Greatest Book of All Time