The Greatest Books Since 1900


How is this list generated?


This list is generated from 130 "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. 451 . A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

    Originally published in 1968, Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea marks the first of the six now beloved Earthsea titles. Ged was the greatest sorcerer in Earthsea, but in his youth he was the...

    - Google
  2. 452 . Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

    Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (1993) is a novel by Irish writer Roddy Doyle. It won the Booker Prize in 1993. The story is about a 10 year old boy and events that happen within his age group. He also has t...

  3. 453 . Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener

    Tales of the South Pacific is a Pulitzer Prize winning collection of sequentially related short stories about World War II, written by James A. Michener in 1946. The stories were based on observati...

  4. 454 . Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

    Hiro Protagonist—yeah, that's his name—is a freelance hacker and unemployed pizza deliveryman lost in a post-lapsarian, hyper-capitalist future America in which the central government has withered ...

    - Time
  5. 455 . The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

    The Bridge of San Luis Rey is American author Thornton Wilder's second novel, first published in 1927 to worldwide acclaim. It tells the story of several interrelated people who die in the collapse...

  6. 456 . History by Elsa Morante

    History: A Novel is a novel by Italian author Elsa Morante, largely seen to be her most famous and controversial work. Published in 1974, it narrates the story of a woman, Ida Ramundo, and her two ...

  7. 457 . The Flamethrowers: A Novel by Rachel Kushner

    Arriving in New York to pursue a creative career in the raucous 1970s art scene, Reno joins a group of dreamers and raconteurs before falling in love with the estranged son of an Italian motorcycle...

    - Google
  8. 458 . Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

    Ruth narrates the story of how she and her younger sister Lucille are raised by a succession of relatives in the fictional town of Fingerbone, Idaho (some details are similar to Robinson's hometown...

  9. 459 . Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh

    Sent down from Oxford in outrageous circumstances, Paul Pennyfeather is oddly surprised to find himself qualifying for the position of schoolmaster at Llanabba Castle. His colleagues are an assortm...

    - Google
  10. 460 . Mother's Milk by Edward St Aubyn

    First published in 2006, Mother’s Milk is the fourth novel in the critically acclaimed Patrick Melrose series. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize that year and won the 2007 Prix Femina Étr...

    - Google
  11. 461 . Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

    Bel Canto is a 2001 novel by American author Ann Patchett, published by Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. It was awarded both the Orange Prize for Fiction and PEN/Faulkner Award fo...

  12. 462 . Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

    Anne of Green Gables is a bestselling novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery published in 1908. It was written as fiction for readers of all ages, but in recent decades has been considered a...

  13. 463 . Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

    Interpreter of Maladies is a 2000 collection of nine short stories by Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. It was also...

  14. 464 . Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

    For almost four decades Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City has blazed its own trail through popular culture—from a groundbreaking newspaper serial to a classic novel, to a television event that e...

    - Google
  15. 465 . Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

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  16. 466 . Waiting by Ha Jin

    Waiting: a Novel is a novel by award-winning author Ha Jin. It received the 1999 National Book Award. Lin Kong (the protagonist), a soldier in the Revolutionary Army, finds himself waiting 18 years...

  17. 467 . Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian

    Master and Commander is a historical naval novel by Patrick O'Brian. First published in 1969 (US) (1970 in UK), it is first in the Aubrey-Maturin series of stories of Captain Jack Aubrey and the na...

  18. 468 . Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

    What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant dete...

  19. 469 . The Swimming-Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst

    A literary sensation and bestseller both in England and America, The Swimming-Pool Library is an enthralling, darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS; an elegy, possessed of...

    - Google
  20. 470 . Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

    Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of susp...

    - Google
  21. 471 . Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

    Peter Pan (Peter And Wendy) is the original fantasy story that takes you to Neverland and everlasting youth. This is the story the Disney movie is based on and it is still very popular today. Set y...

    - Google
  22. 472 . Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

    Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant is a 1982 novel by Anne Tyler set in Baltimore, Maryland. It is Anne Tyler's ninth novel. In 1983 it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize,[1] the National Book Aw...

  23. 473 . Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara

    Appointment in Samarra, published in 1934, is the first novel by John O'Hara. It concerns the self-destruction of Julian English, once a member of the social elite of Gibbsville (O'Hara's fictional...

  24. 474 . Kokoro by Sōseki Natsume

    Haunted by tragic secrets, Sensei slowly opens up to his young disciple, confessing indiscretions from his own student days that have left him reeling with guilt.

    - Google
  25. 475 . Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    One of the great allegorical masterpieces of world literature, Cancer Ward is both a deeply compassionate study of people facing terminal illness and a brilliant dissection of the 'cancerous' Sovie...

    - Google
  26. 476 . First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    At the height of Stalin's postwar terror, Innokenty, a young diplomat and scion of a corrupt ruling class, discovers an earlier and more spiritual tradition than that adopted by the October Revolut...

    - Google
  27. 477 . The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley

    “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” Summering with a fellow schoolboy on a great English estate, Leo, the hero of L. P. Hartley’s finest novel, encounters a world of ...

    - Google
  28. 478 . Platero by Juan Ramón Jiménez

    Platero is the eponymous donkey of the 1914 story Platero y yo (Spanish for Platero and I). The book is one of the most popular works by Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez, the recipient of the 1956 N...

  29. 479 . Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

    Ryünosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) is one of Japan’s foremost stylists - a modernist master whose short stories are marked by highly original imagery, cynicism, beauty and wild humour. ‘Rashömon’ and ...

    - Google
  30. 480 . Salvage the Bones: A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

    Winner of the 2011 National Book Award A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. A hard dri...

    - Google
  31. 481 . Ironweed by William Kennedy

    Ironweed is set during the Great Depression and tells the story of Francis Phelan, an alcoholic vagrant originally from Albany, New York, who left his family after accidentally killing his infant s...

  32. 482 . The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

    A prophet has is about to board a ship home after 12 years in exile, when he is stopped by a group of people. His teachings to them, discussing love, marriage, crime, freedom and law among many oth...

    - Google
  33. 483 . The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

    Shifting in time, the novel tells the story of Penelope Keeling, the daughter of unconventional parents (an artist father and his much-younger French wife), examining her past and her relationships...

  34. 484 . The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

    The story centers on Port and Kit Moresby, a married couple originally from New York who travel to the North African desert accompanied by their friend Tunner. The journey, initially an attempt by ...

  35. 485 . Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

    The number one bestseller in Mexico and America for almost two years, and subsequently a bestseller around the world, Like Water For Chocolate is a romantic, poignant tale, touched with moments of ...

    - Google
  36. 486 . East of Eden by John Steinbeck

    A masterpiece of Biblical scope, and the magnum opus of one of America’s most enduring authors In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden "the first book," and indeed it ...

    - Google
  37. 487 . Alcools by Guillaume Apollinaire

    Guiilaume Apollinaire, a leading figure amongst the young writers and artists in France until his death in 1918, published 'Alcools', his first book of poems, in 1913. With its wide range of verse ...

    - Google
  38. 488 . Excellent Women by Barbara Pym

    Excellent Women is probably the most famous of Barbara Pym's novels. The acclaim a few years ago for this early comic novel, which was hailed by Lord David Cecil as one of 'the finest examples of h...

    - Google
  39. 489 . At Swim Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien

    At Swim-Two-Birds is a 1939 novel by Irish author Brian O'Nolan, writing under the pseudonym Flann O'Brien. It is widely considered to be O'Brien's masterpiece, and one of the most sophisticated ex...

  40. 490 . The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

    The stirring saga of a man’s journey to free his sister—and himself—from a tragic family history Tom Wingo has lost his job, and is on the verge of losing his marriage, when he learns that his twin...

    - Google
  41. 491 . Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

    On July 5, 1906, scandal breaks in the small town of Cold Sassy, Georgia, when the proprietor of the general store, E. Rucker Blakeslee, elopes with Miss Love Simpson. He is barely three weeks a wi...

    - Google
  42. 492 . The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi

    "My name is Karim Amir, and I am an Englishman born and bred, almost..."The hero of Hanif Kureishi's debut novel is dreamy teenager Karim, desperate to escape suburban South London and experience t...

    - Google
  43. 493 . JR by William Gaddis

    A great masterpiece by William Gaddis, with a new introduction by Rick Moody. Winner of the 1976 National Book Award, J R is a biting satire about the many ways in which capitalism twists the Ameri...

    - Google
  44. 494 . There But For The by Ali Smith

    When a dinner-party guest named Miles locks himself in an upstairs room and refuses to come out, he sets off a media frenzy. He also sets in motion a mesmerizing puzzle of a novel, one that harness...

    - Google
  45. 495 . The Unknown Soldier by Väinö Linna

    The Unknown Soldier (Tuntematon sotilas) is author Väinö Linna's first major novel and his other major work besides Under the North Star. Published in 1954, it is a story about the Continuation War...

  46. 496 . Barabbas by Par Lagerkvist

    Barabbas is the acquitted; the man whose life was exchanged for that of Jesus of Nazareth, crucified upon the hill of Golgotha. Barabbas is a man condemned to have no god. "Christos Iesus" is carve...

    - Google
  47. 497 . Simon and the Oaks by Marianne Fredriksson

    The friendship of two Swedish boys and the way they are influenced by each other's families. One boy descends from wealthy Jewish intellectuals, the other is the son of a craftsman working with his...

    - Google
  48. 498 . The Alberta Trilogy by Cora Sandel

    Imaginative and intelligent, Alberta is a misfit trapped in a stiflingly provincial town in the far north of Norway whose only affinity is for her extrovert brother Jacob.

    - Google
  49. 499 . Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm

    Zuleika Dobson is a highly accomplished and superbly written book whose spirit is farcical," said E. M. Forster. "It is a great work--the most consistent achievement of fantasy in our time . . . so...

  50. 500 . Gimpel the Fool by Isaac B Singer

    "Gimpel the Fool" (1953) is a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, translated into English by Saul Bellow in 1953. It tells the story of Gimpel, a simple bread maker who is the butt of many of his...