The Lists

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  • Top 100 Works in World Literature

    Norwegian Book Clubs, with the Norwegian Nobel Institute, 102 Books

    The editors of the Norwegian Book Clubs, with the Norwegian Nobel Institute, polled a panel of 100 authors from 54 countries on what they considered the “best and most central works in world literature.” Among the authors polled were Milan Kundera, Doris Lessing, Seamus Heaney, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka, John Irving, Nadine Gordimer, and Carlos Fuentes. The list of 100 works appears alphabetically by author. Although the books were not ranked, the editors revealed that Don Quixote received 50% more votes than any other book.

    Weight: 100%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • The Top 10: The Greatest Books of All Time

    The Top 10 (Book), 103 Books

    The Top 10 book chosen by 125 top writers from the book "The Top 10" edited by J. Peder Zane.

    Weight: 87%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

    The Book, 998 Books

    A book edited by Peter Boxall, and written by over 100 hundred international critics.

    Weight: 87%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • 100 Life-Changing Books

    National Book Award, 97 Books

    National Book Award-winning authors got together to select what was, in their opinions, 100 life-changing books.

    Weight: 87%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • Biblioteca

    Argentina, 41 Books

    38 Argentinean Authors were polled by the Argentinean government for their favorite books. This is a tally of all books with more than 1 vote.

    Weight: 87%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • For The Love of Books

    For The Love of Books, 95 Books

    Ronald Schwartz polled 115 major writers about their favorite books, and published each of their ballots in the book “For the Love of Books”.

    Weight: 87%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • The Ideal Library

    Book, 118 Books

    100 prominent cultural figures, mostly writers, were polled for their choice of an "ideal library". The following list is a tally of every book that received at least 2 votes.

    Weight: 87%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • Pour une Bibliothèque Idéale

    Raymond Queneau, 111 Books

    "In the early 1950s Raymond Queneau asked several dozen French authors and critics to list the hundred books they would choose if they had to limit themselves to that number. He reproduced all their responses in the book Pour une Bibliothèque Idéale (Gallimard, 1956), along with the overall top 100 list reproduced above."

    Weight: 87%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • El Pais Favorite Books of 100 Spanish Authors

    El Pais, 135 Books

    El Pais ran A Poll of 100 Spanish Authors and Their Favorite Books. This is summary of all the books

    Weight: 80%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • The 100 Best Books of World Literature, 100 Books

    A Spanish based list made by Fifty writers, critics and personalities from the world of culture have chosen their literary preferences to compile this list.

    Weight: 80%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • The 25 Favorite Books of 100 Francophone Writers

    Telerama, 26 Books

    Télérama, a weekly French magazine, asked 100s of french authors to list their top 10 favorite books of all time.

    Weight: 80%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • The 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century

    National Review, 100 Books

    The 100 best non-fiction books of all time judged by a panel of historians, authors, publishers, and experts for the National Review Magazine.

    Weight: 80%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • The New York Public Library's Books of the Century

    New York Public Library, 173 Books

    The following is a complete list of the titles included in the exhibition Books of the Century at The New York Public Library's Center for the Humanities, May 20, 1995-July 13, 1996, and in The New York Public Library's Books of the Century, published by Oxford University Press.

    A celebration of the NYPL's centenary. The books were selected by public service and research librarians

    Weight: 74%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • The 100 Greatest British Novels

    BBC, 104 Books

    BBC Culture polled book critics outside the UK, to give an outsider’s perspective on the best in British literature.

    Weight: 70%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • Best Foreign Work of Fiction Chosen by Francophone Writers

    French literary magazine Transfuge, 135 Books

    The French literary magazine Transfuge asked a group of francophone writers to pick their best foreign work of fiction.

    The authors polled are: Pierre Assouline, Frédéric Beigbeder, Nina Bouraoui, Michel Butor, Eric Chevillard, Claro, Charles Dantzig, Jacques Darras, Florence Delay, Jean-Paul Dubois, Eric Faye, Alain Finkielkraut, Eric Fottorino, Jérôme Garcin, Régis Jauffret, Jacques Julliard, Philippe Labro, Linda Lê, Gilles Lipovetsky, Richard Morgiève, Marie Ndiaye, Claude Pirotte, Lydie Salvayre, Jean-François Sirinelli, Alain-Gérard Slama, Phillipe Sollers, Tzvetan Todorov, Michel Tournier

    Weight: 70%, Added 13 days ago.
  • "Our Readable Century", The Best Books of the 20th Century

    January Magazine, 17 Books

    Literary publication January Magazine polled writers for their favorite works of 2oth century fiction. These were the most mentioned books.

    Weight: 67%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • 50 Classics You Must Read Before You Die

    Gyldendal (Denmark Publisher), 50 Books

    This list is from Gyldendal, the largest publisher in Denmark. This is what the translated description says:

    We asked Gyldendal's fiction editors about their greatest reading experiences. Here are their picks for 50 classics you should read before you die. Find out which ones you have already read, which ones you should re-read and, not least, which ones you should read for the first time. Happy reading!

    Weight: 67%, Added 3 days ago.
  • Finest Works of Fiction

    Martin Seymour-Smith and Editors, 55 Books

    In Novels and Novelists, A Guide to the World of Fiction (1980) Seymour-Smith and the other contributors selected about 55 works of fiction as receiving full marks on the four criteria used for evaluation: Readability, Characterization, Plot, and Literary Merit. These represent, for the contributors, the finest works of fiction that have been written.

    Weight: 67%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • Great Books of the Western World

    Great Books Foundation, 131 Books

    Great Books of the Western World is a series of books originally published in the United States in 1952 by Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. to present the western canon in a single package of 54 volume...

    Weight: 67%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • International Dublin Literary Award

    International Dublin Literary Award, 28 Books

    The International Dublin Literary Award (Irish: Duais Liteartha Idirnáisiúnta Bhaile Átha Chliath), established as the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 1996, is presented each year for a novel written or translated into English. It promotes excellence in world literature and is solely sponsored by Dublin City Council, Ireland. At €100,000, the award is one of the richest literary prizes in the world.

    Weight: 67%, Added 2 months ago.
  • The New Lifetime Reading Plan

    The New Lifetime Reading Plan, 202 Books

    Clifton Paul "Kip" Fadiman (May 15, 1904 – June 20, 1999) was an American intellectual, author, editor, radio and television personality.

    The New Lifetime Reading Plan provides readers with brief, informative and entertaining introductions to more than 130 classics of world literature. From Homer to Hawthorne, Plato to Pascal, and Shakespeare to Solzhenitsyn, the great writers of Western civilization can be found in its pages. In addition, this new edition offers a much broader representation of women authors, such as Charlotte Bront%, Emily Dickinson and Edith Wharton, as well as non-Western writers such as Confucius, Sun-Tzu, Chinua Achebe, Mishima Yukio and many others.
    This fourth edition also features a simpler format that arranges the works chronologically in five sections (The Ancient World; 300-1600; 1600-1800; and The 20th Century), making them easier to look up than ever before. It deserves a place in the libraries of all lovers of literature.

    Weight: 67%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • The 50 Best Books of the Century

    Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 50 Books

    ISI defined "best" as "volumes of extraordinary reflection and creativity in a traditional form, which heartens us with the knowledge that fine writing and clear-mindedness are perennially possible."

    All the books are non-fiction.

    The first 5 are ranked, the rest are alphabetical.

    Weight: 64%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • The Greatest 20th Century Novels

    Waterstone, 23 Books

    Waterstone’s 1999 poll of the greatest 20th century novels, according to British writers. This appeared to be the result of muddle in the way questions were put to and answered by the 47 authors, critics and media personalities who voted in the poll.

    Weight: 60%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels

    David Pringle, 100 Books

    Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels, An English-Language Selection, 1949-1984 is a nonfiction book by David Pringle, published by Xanadu in 1985 with a foreword by Michael Moorcock. Primarily, the book comprises 100 short essays on the selected works, covered in order of publication, without any ranking. It is considered an important critical summary of the science fiction field.

    Weight: 60%, Added 17 days ago.
  • 100 Greatest Childrens Books of All Time

    BBC, 98 Books

    BBC Culture polled 177 books experts from 56 countries in order to find the greatest children's books ever. From Where the Wild Things Are to Haroun and the Sea of Stories, here's the top 100.

    Weight: 60%, Added 5 months ago.
  • Recommended Books

    Academy of Achievement, 72 Books

    Here, in their own words, are the answers to the question, What book did you read when you were young that most influenced your life? The answers reflect the wonderfully varied power of books, and remind us of some neglected timeless classics and other works we may want to take into our own lives.

    This seems to be recommendations from celebrities, authors, critics, and other famous people

    Weight: 60%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels

    Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels (Book), 102 Books

    This collection of 100 brief (2-3 page) essays by British sf magazine editor Pringle offers an informed and admittedly subjective guided tour of a genre that encompasses such widely divergent titles as Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (1954-55), Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman (1967), and Stephen King's Salem's Lot (1975). Following the format of his earlier collection, Science The 100 Best Novels (LJ 7/86), Pringle presents his selections in chronological order and includes a synopsis of the story, a discussion of the author's overall contribution to fantasy literature, critical commentary on the title's significance, and a brief publishing history. An introductory essay tackles the difficulty of defining fantasy, while a "Brief Bibliography" directs readers to other discussions of the genre. By no means a definitive subject guide, this entertaining volume should serve as a solid introduction to the elusive field of imaginative literature.

    Weight: 60%, Added 17 days ago.
  • A Hundred Novels to Change Your Life

    The Daily Mail, 95 Books

    The Daily Mail's response to the BBC's list of 100 novels that 'shaped our world' is sharply critical, pointing out significant omissions and questioning the selection's focus on political correctness over literary merit. The critique highlights the absence of literary giants such as Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, and Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses," suggesting the list leans towards appealing to younger audiences at the expense of timeless classics. It also criticizes the BBC's thematic categories, like 'Identity' and 'Politics, Power and Protest,' for potentially diluting the complex essence of literature.

    The article calls out specific inclusions and exclusions as misjudgments, arguing for a list that better represents enduring works that have truly impacted generations of readers. In an alternative approach, the Daily Mail invites its writers to share their personal, impactful reads, emphasizing the subjective nature of literary value and the lasting significance of books that resonate on a deeply personal level. This serves as a reminder of the power of literature to influence individually and collectively, beyond contemporary trends.

    Weight: 60%, Added 3 days ago.
  • 100 Novels That Shaped Our World

    BBC, 100 Books

    Stories have the power to change us. We asked a panel of leading writers, curators and critics to choose 100 genre-busting novels that have had an impact on their lives, and this is the result. These English language novels, written over the last 300 years, range from children’s classics to popular page turners. Organised into themes, they reflect the ways books help shape and influence our thinking.

    Weight: 60%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • Horror: The 100 Best Books

    "Horror: The 100 Best Books" Book by Stephen Jones (Editor) and Kim Newman (Editor), 100 Books

    First published in 1988, Horror: The 100 Best Books has remained the only book of its kind: a solid (and entertaining) annotated reading list spanning the range of horror fiction from the 16th to the 20th century. The device of asking 100 horror, fantasy,and science fiction writers to write about their favorite horror books might seem at first to capture an idiosyncratic sample, but through diplomacy and diligence, editors Stephen Jones and Kim Newman succeeded in obtaining short essays on most (if not all) of the well-known classics, as well as many more lesser-knowns that are well worth discovering. Readers who follow up on these recommendations will find tips about books by writers mostly known for other genres--such as Iain Banks, Robert Holdstock, Lisa Tuttle, and David Morrell.

    Weight: 60%, Added 4 months ago.
  • The Celebrity Reading List

    Gardiner Public Library, 72 Books

    The Gardiner Public Library, from 1988 to 2007, polled various famous figures from all around the world (writers, artists, filmmakers, politicians, actors, etc.) to ask for their book recommendations. This list is based on the books that received at least two mentions.

    Weight: 60%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • Ten brilliant authors reveal their all-time classic reads

    Women & Home, 10 Books

    Woman & Home got 10 authors to pick their favorite book of all time. Their description says:

    Your favorite writers, including Bernardine Evaristo and Richard Osman, share their all-time classic reads and why they love them

    the writers include: Isabel Allende, Linwood Barclay, Erin Kelly, Lucinda Riley, Deborah Moggach, Paula Hawkins, Celia Imrie, Sebastian Faulks, Richard Osman, Bernardine Evaristo

    Weight: 57%, Added 3 days ago.
  • The Main Works of Russian literature

    Polka Academy, 108 Books

    These are books that left a mark on history, expanded the possibilities of literature, influenced the development of language, thought and society, reported something new about the world and man - and entered the Russian literary canon.

    We turned to authoritative writers, literary scholars, publishers, critics, and teachers and offered to name any number of the most important, in their opinion, literary works (without specifying the criteria of importance).

    Weight: 57%, Added about 1 month ago.
  • The Modern Library | 100 Best Nonfiction

    The Modern Library, 100 Books

    Weight: 54%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • 25 acclaimed international writers choose 25 of the best books from the last 25 years

    Wasafiri Magazine, 23 Books

    The 25 books were chosen by 25 respected names in international writing, many of whom have contributed over the years to Wasafiri magazine, including Indra Sinha, Blake Morrison and Fred D’Aguiar.

    Note: I don't think the voters understood "the last 25 years" bit. There are many books that are much much older.

    Weight: 54%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • 100 Best Books

    Montana State University, 106 Books

    Michael Sexson, English teacher at Montana State University, in 2000 had his class of 45 students compose a list of the 100 greatest works of literature ever written, in their collective opinions.

    Weight: 54%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • ZEIT-Bibliothek der 100 Bücher

    Die Zeit, 94 Books

    The Time Library of 100 Books was an educationally ambitious series of articles by the features editorial team of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit . Starting in 1978, over the next two years a review of a work of world literature was published week after week.

    The works were selected by a six-member jury ( Rudolf Walter Leonhardt , Hans Mayer , Rolf Michaelis , Fritz J. Raddatz , Peter Wapnewski and Dieter E. Zimmer ), who also invited the reviewers. Some of the works were presented by the jury members themselves, but most of the reviewers were not professional literary critics , but rather well-known writers themselves. Their subjective perspective on the works based on their own reading experience and enthusiasm is part of the appeal of the collection for many readers.

    Weight: 54%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • Radcliffe's 100 Best Novels

    Radcliffe Publishing Course, 100 Books

    Weight: 54%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • A Premature Attempt at the 21st Century Canon

    Vulture, 100 Books

    A panel of critics tells us what belongs on a list of the 100 most important books of the 2000s … so far.

    Weight: 54%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • Best Books Listed for High School Students

    William J. Bennett, 35 Books

    In 1984, William J. Bennett, then chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, conducted an informal and unscientific survey among scholars, journalists, teachers, and leaders in government and culture to identify essential readings for high school students. Prompted by a query during a press meeting, Bennett sought to determine a core list of literary works deemed vital for every student to study before graduation. The survey garnered responses from 325 individuals, including feedback through a syndicated column by George F. Will and input from high school teachers participating in seminars sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation. The resulting list of thirty most frequently mentioned works, highlighted by Shakespeare's oeuvre, the Declaration of Independence, Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn," and the Bible, aimed to elevate the standard of reading material in high schools, suggesting that a selection of any ten from the list would offer significant educational value.

    I did not include any of the documents of United States history since they are not books. I also only included the top 3 highest rated William Faulkner novels, since including every one of his novels seems excessive.

    Weight: 50%, Added 17 days ago.
  • Best German Novels of the Twentieth Century

    Wikipedia, 10 Books

    The Best German Novels of the Twentieth Century is a list of books compiled in 1999 by Literaturhaus München and Bertelsmann, in which 99 prominent German authors, literary critics, and scholars of German ranked the most significant German-language novels of the twentieth century.

    The group brought together 33 experts from each of the three categories. Each was allowed to name three books as having been the most important of the century.

    Weight: 50%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • Great Books

    The Learning Channel, 47 Books

    "Great Books is an hour-long documentary and biography program that aired on The Learning Channel. The series was a project co-created by Walter Cronkite and former child actor Jonathan Ward under a deal they had with their company Cronkite-Ward, the The Discovery Channel, and The Learning Channel. Premiering on September 8, 1993, to coincide with International Literacy Day, the series took in-depth looks into some of literature's greatest fictional and nonfictional books and the authors who created them. The series is mostly narrated by Donald Sutherland." - Wikipedia

    Weight: 50%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time

    Crime Writers' Association, 100 Books

    The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time is a list published in book form in 1990 by the British-based Crime Writers' Association.

    Weight: 47%, Added 2 months ago.
  • 30 Books Every Adult Should Read Before They Die

    The British Museums, Libraries, and Archives Society, 30 Books

    The list of books recommended by Britain's librarians as must-reads before one dies was compiled through a World Book Day poll by the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). Librarians across the country were asked to select books they believe every adult should read, culminating in a diverse selection that highlights both classic literature and contemporary favorites. The initiative reflects the insights of librarians who, through their professional experience and personal tastes, guide readers towards works that are not only culturally significant but also enriching on a personal level. This endeavor underscores the value of librarian recommendations in navigating the vast world of literature, offering a blend of historical importance, narrative excellence, and thematic depth across various genres and eras.

    Weight: 47%, Added 14 days ago.
  • Koen Book Distributors Top 100 Books of the Past Century, 100 Books

    Intended as a companion to the infamous Modern Library ranking of the top 100 books of the past century, this list represents a different viewpoint--that of the booksellers themselves. Compiled from the responses of over 150 Koen Book Distributors customers, the following titles represent the very best in modern literature.

    Weight: 47%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • Royal Society Prizes for Science Books

    The Royal Society, 35 Books

    The Royal Society Science Books Prize is an annual £25,000 prize awarded by the Royal Society to celebrate outstanding popular science books from around the world. It is open to authors of science books written for a non-specialist audience, and since it was established in 1988 has championed writers such as Stephen Hawking, Jared Diamond, Stephen Jay Gould and Bill Bryson. In 2015 The Guardian described the prize as "the most prestigious science book prize in Britain".

    Weight: 47%, Added 4 months ago.
  • Världsbiblioteket (The World Library)

    Tidningen Boken, 99 Books

    Världsbiblioteket (The World Library) was a Swedish list of the 100 best books in the world, made in 1991 by the Swedish literary magazine Tidningen Boken. The list was compiled through votes from members of the Svenska Akademien, Swedish Crime Writers' Academy, librarian, authors and others. Approximately 30 of the books were Swedish.

    Weight: 47%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • Select 100

    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 100 Books

    "This list was compiled by tabulating nominations by UWM faculty, staff and students for the Select 100. It includes changes which have resulted from nominations received since the original list was released. We asked you to recommend books which you have found to be so useful and important that no one could consider himself/herself an educated or enlightened person without having read them. This is your cumulative response."

    Weight: 47%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • The 16 Greatest Books of All Time

    NYU Local, 46 Books

    Two book editors for the present their list of the 16 greatest books of all time, with a list of runner-ups as well.

    Weight: 47%, Added over 1 year ago.
  • The ZORA Canon: The 100 greatest books ever written by African American women

    Zora, 100 Books

    The ZORA Canon is a distinguished list featuring the 100 greatest books by African American women, marking a first in acknowledging this specific literary group. Rooted in a deep cultural tradition, it spans 160 years of literature, from pre-emancipation times to the present. The selection includes a wide array of genres, such as fiction, nonfiction, plays, anthologies, and poetry, covering a range of topics from historical to personal narratives. This list was meticulously compiled by a panel of experts in African American women's literature. It not only celebrates the contributions of these authors but also serves as a comprehensive reference for readers. The ZORA Canon is a tribute to underrecognized writers and a gateway for exploring the rich cultural and literary history of African American women.

    Weight: 47%, Added about 1 month ago.
The Lists

These are all the lists used to generate the book rankings. There are currently 210 Lists. Each list has a weight associated with it, that is calculated based on a variety of criteria. The higher the weight the more important the list is.

We are always looking for new lists to add to the site. If you know of any that are not on the site please visit this page. Thanks!