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. 1751 . L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy

    Los Angeles in the 1950s: from its fabulous mansions to its sizzling nightclubs, it is a sprawling center of corruption and dangerous passions. Now a horrific mass murder invades the bleak cityscap...

  2. 1752 . Stoner by John Williams

    William Stoner is born at the end of the nineteenth century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to the state university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literatur...

    - Google
  3. 1753 . Cold Nights by Ba Jin

  4. 1754 . The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe

    The Woman in the Dunes, by celebrated writer and thinker Kobo Abe, combines the essence of myth, suspense and the existential novel. After missing the last bus home following a day trip to the seas...

    - Google
  5. 1755 . The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

    Voted greatest mystery novel of all time by the Crime Writers’ Association in 1990, Josephine Tey recreates one of history’s most famous—and vicious—crimes in her classic bestselling novel, a must ...

    - Google
  6. 1756 . VALIS by Philip K. Dick

    “Dick is one of the ten best American writers of the twentieth century, which is saying a lot. Dick was a kind of Kafka steeped in LSD and rage.”—Roberto Bolaño What is VALIS? This question is at t...

    - Google
  7. 1757 . The Black Swan by Thomas Mann

    Thomas Mann's bold and disturbing novella, written in 1952, is the feminine counterpart of his masterpiece Death in Venice. Written from the point of view of a woman in what we might now call mid-l...

    - Google
  8. 1758 . Falconer by John Cheever

    It tells the story of Ezekiel Farragut, a university professor and drug addict who is serving time in Falconer State Prison for the murder of his brother. Farragut struggles to retain his humanity ...

  9. 1759 . The Short Stories Of Thomas Hardy by Thomas Hardy

    This is the extended annotated edition including a rare biographical essay on the life and works of the author. This compilation of Thomas Hardy's short stories is one of the most complete on the b...

    - Google
  10. 1760 . A Spy In The House Of Love by Anaïs Nin

    Beautiful, bored and bourgeoise, Sabina leads a double life inspired by her relentless desire for brief encounters with near-strangers. Fired into faithlessness by a desperate longing for sexual fu...

    - Google
  11. 1761 . Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court by Patrick Hamilton

    London 1939, and in the grimy publands of Earls Court, George Harvey Bone is pursuing a helpless infatuation. Netta is cool, contemptuous and hopelessly desirable to George. George is adrift in a d...

    - Google
  12. 1762 . The Subterraneans by Jack Kerouac

    Written over the course of three days and three nights, The Subterraneans was generated out of the same ecstatic flash of inspiration that produced another one of Kerouac's early classic, On The Ro...

    - Google
  13. 1763 . Early Novels and Stories by James Baldwin

    A collection of stories penned by one of the greatest African-American writers of the postwar era includes such works as Go Tell It on the Mountain, Giovanni's Room, Another Country, and Going to M...

    - Google
  14. 1764 . Ubik by Philip K. Dick

    An accident has occurred. Joe Chip and his colleagues—all but one of them—have narrowly escaped an explosion at a moon base. Or is it the other way round? Did Joe and the others die, and did the on...

    - Time
  15. 1765 . The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov by Vladimir Nabokov

    From the writer who shocked and delighted the world with his novels Lolita, Pale Fire, and Ada, or Ardor, and so many others, comes a magnificent collection of stories. Written between the 1920s an...

    - Google
  16. 1766 . The Hearts and Lives of Men: A Novel by Fay Weldon

    It’s 1960s London, and the sexual revolution is in full swing in Fay Weldon’s enduring story of lust, marriage, family, art, avarice, ambition, betrayal, and true love Clifford Wexford and Helen La...

    - Google
  17. 1767 . Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters

    Spoon River Anthology (1915), by Edgar Lee Masters, is a collection of short free-form poems that collectively narrates the epitaphs of the residents of a fictional small town of Spoon River, named...

  18. 1768 . The Bridge by Hart Crane

    "Hart Crane's long poem The Bridge has steadily grown in stature since it was published in 1930. This book is a guide to the poem. It's detailed and far-reaching annotations make [the poem] fully a...

    - Google
  19. 1769 . Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

    In the years following the First World War a new generation emerged, wistful and vulnerable beneath the glitter. The Bright Young Things of 1920s London, with their paradoxical mix of innocence and...

    - Google
  20. 1770 . The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski

    The Painted Bird describes the world as seen by a young boy, "considered a Gypsy or Jewish stray," who wanders about small towns scattered around Central or Eastern Europe during World War II. Due ...

  21. 1771 . The Unicorn by Iris Murdoch

    A brilliant mythical drama about well-meaning people trapped in a war of spiritual forces Marian Taylor, who has come as a “companion” to a lovely woman in a remote castle, becomes aware that her e...

    - Google
  22. 1772 . The Protocols of the Elders of Zion by Unknown

    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion or The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion is an antisemitic hoax purporting to describe a Jewish plan for global domination.[1] It was first...

  23. 1773 . Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming

    British Secret Service agent James Bond, a.k.a. 007, is sent to investigate a diamond smuggling ring on a mission that takes him from Sierra Leone all the way to Las Vegas.

    - Google
  24. 1774 . The Collected Poems of A. E. Housman by A. E. Housman

    Presents the texts, authorized in 1939, of the modern British writer's poems and classical translations, providing insight into his literary style and concerns.

    - Google
  25. 1775 . Penguin Island by Anatole France

    Penguin Island (1908; French: L'Île des Pingouins) is a satirical fictional history by Nobel Prize–winning French author Anatole France.

  26. 1776 . From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming

    A beautiful Soviet spy. A brand-new Spektor cipher machine. SMERSH has set an irresistible trap that threatens the entire Secret Service. Fleming's fifth 007 novel reveals a different side to Bond ...

    - Google
  27. 1777 . Two Essays on Analytical Psychology by Carl Jung

    This volume from the Collected Works of C.G. Jung has become known as perhaps the best introduction to Jung's work. In these famous essays he presented the essential core of his system. This is the...

    - Google
  28. 1778 . Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

    Tennessee Williams's second Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof confronts homosexuality, father and son relationships, greed, manipulation, aging, and death.

    - Google
  29. 1779 . Water Music by T. C. Boyle

    Set in 1795, "Water Music" is the rambunctious account of two men's wild adventures through the gutters of London and the Scottish Highlands to their unlikely meeting in darkest Africa.

    - Google
  30. 1780 . The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood

    The Berlin Stories is a book comprising two short novels by Christopher Isherwood: Goodbye to Berlin and Mr. Norris Changes Trains. It was published in 1946.

  31. 1781 . The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch

    Full of suspense, humor, and symbolism, this magnificently crafted and magical novel replays biblical and medieval themes in contemporary London. An attempt by the sharp, feral, and uncommonly inte...

    - Google
  32. 1782 . The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke by Theodore Roethke

    This paperback edition contains the complete text of Roethke's seven published volumes plus sixteen previously uncollected poems. Included are his Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners The...

    - Google
  33. 1783 . The Remorseful Day by Colin Dexter

    For a year, the murder of Mrs. Yvonne Harrison at her home in Oxfordshire had baffled the Thames Valley CID. The manner of her death--her naked handcuffed body left lying in bed--matched her reputa...

    - Google
  34. 1784 . I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere by Anna Gavalda

    Collects eleven short stories about individuals longing to connect with others.

    - Google
  35. 1785 . Autumn by Ali Smith

    Autumn is a 2016 novel by Scottish author Ali Smith, first published by Hamish Hamilton. It is projected to be the first of four seasonal ‘state of the nation’ works. Written rapidly after the Unit...

  36. 1786 . Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon

    Chabon’s extraordinary story of one turbulent weekend in the life of a struggling writer, a satire of the permanent adolescence of the creative class A wildly successful first novel made Grady Trip...

    - Google
  37. 1787 . Earth Abides by George Rippey Stewart

    Returning from a field trip, Isherwood Williams discovers that a mysterious plague has destroyed human civilization during his absence and makes his way to San Francisco, where he finds a few survi...

    - Google
  38. 1788 . House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

    A family relocates to a small house on Ash Tree Lane and discovers that the inside of their new home seems to be without boundaries.

    - Google
  39. 1789 . The Green Road by Anne Enright

    The Green Road is a 2015 novel by Irish author Anne Enright. It is the sixth novel by Enright and concerns the lives of the Madigan family - four children and their mother Rosaleen. A critical succ...

  40. 1790 . Levels of Life by Julian Barnes

    Part history, part fiction, part memoir, Levels of Life is a powerfully personal and unforgettable book, and an immediate classic on the subject of grief. Levels of Life opens in the nineteenth cen...

    - Google
  41. 1791 . The Notebook: The Proof ; The Third Lie : Three Novels by Agota Kristof

    These three internationally acclaimed novels have confirmed Agota Kristof's reputation as one of the most provocative exponents of new-wave European fiction. With all the stark simplicity of a frac...

    - Google
  42. 1792 . Human Chain by Seamus Heaney

    Human Chain (2010) is the twelfth and final poetry collection by Seamus Heaney, who received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. It won the Forward Poetry Prize Best Collection 2010 award, the Iris...

  43. 1793 . Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

    Night Watch is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, the 29th book in his Discworld series, published in 2002. The protagonist of the novel is Sir Samuel Vimes, commander of the Ankh-M...

  44. 1794 . The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

    First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly p...

    - Google
  45. 1795 . On Beauty by Zadie Smith

    On Beauty is a 2005 novel by British author Zadie Smith. It takes its title from an essay by Elaine Scarry (On Beauty and Being Just). The story follows the lives of a mixed-race British/American f...

  46. 1796 . Books of Blood by Clive Barker

    Five stories deal with an ax murderer, a race with death, a telekinetic killer, a terrifying demon, and a murderous ape.

    - Google
  47. 1797 . I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

    Robert Neville has witnessed the end of the world. The entire population has been obliterated by a vampire virus. Somehow, Neville survived. He must now struggle to make sense of everything that ha...

    - Google
  48. 1798 . Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

    Fates and Furies is a 2015 novel by American author Lauren Groff. It is Groff's third novel and fourth book. The book takes place in New York and examines how the different people in a relationship...

  49. 1799 . Tales of H. P. Lovecraft by H. P. Lovecraft

    When he died in 1937, destitute and emotionally as well as physically ruined, H. P. Lovecraft had no idea that he would one day be celebrated as the godfather of modern horror. A dark visionary, hi...

    - Google
  50. 1800 . Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

    Station Eleven is a 2014 novel by Emily St. John Mandel. It is Mandel's fourth novel. The novel takes place in the Great Lakes region after a fictional swine flu pandemic, known as the "Georgia Flu...