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. 1851 . Clockers by Richard Price

    Clockers is a 1992 novel by American author Richard Price.

  2. 1852 . Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is the first novel by British writer Susanna Clarke. An alternate history set in 19th-century England around the time of the Napoleonic Wars, it is based on the premis...

  3. 1853 . A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter

  4. 1854 . Circe by Madeline Miller

    "A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess's story," this #1 New York Times bestseller is "both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a ...

    - Google
  5. 1855 . The Public Burning by Robert Coover

    The Public Burning reimagines the three fateful days in 1953 that culminated with the execution of alleged atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Vice President Richard Nixon—the voraciously ambi...

    - Google
  6. 1856 . Masterworks of the Classical Haida Mythtellers by Robert Bringhurst

    Robert Bringhurst (born October 16, 1946) is a Canadian poet, typographer and author. He is the author of The Elements of Typographic Style – a reference book of typefaces, glyphs and the visual an...

  7. 1857 . Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

    Mystic River is a novel by Dennis Lehane that was published in 2001. It won the 2002 Dilys Award and was made into an Academy Award-winning film in 2003.

  8. 1858 . The Ticket That Exploded by William S. Burroughs

    In The Ticket That Exploded, William S. Burroughs’s grand “cut-up” trilogy that starts with The Soft Machine and continues through Nova Express reaches its climax as inspector Lee and the Nova Poli...

    - Google
  9. 1859 . The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs

    In Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs revealed his genius. In The Soft Machine he begins an adventure that will take us even further into the dark recesses of his imagination, a region where nothing...

    - Google
  10. 1860 . Nova Express by William S. Burroughs

    The Soft Machine introduced us to the conditions of a universe where endemic lusts of the mind and body pray upon men, hook them, and turn them into beasts. Nova Express takes William S. Burroughs’...

    - Google
  11. 1861 . Take It Or Leave It by Raymond Federman

    Moving freely from past to present and place to place leap-frogging from digression to digression, "Take It or Leave It" recounts the hilarious and amourous adventures of Frenchy, a young man who s...

    - Google
  12. 1862 . Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan

    Uwem Akpan, born the 19 May 1971, is a Nigerian Jesuit priest and the author of Say You’re One of Them (2008), a collection of five stories (each set in a different African country) published by Li...

  13. 1863 . Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

    Swamplandia! is a 2011 novel by Karen Russell. Set in the Ten Thousand Islands, off the southwest coast of Florida, it is the story of the Bigtree family of alligator wrestlers who live on Swamplan...

  14. 1864 . Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates

    Black Water is a 1992 novella by Joyce Carol Oates.

  15. 1865 . Words by Jacques Prévert

  16. 1866 . The Blue Lotus by Hergé

    While Tintin is in India, he gets drawn into a dangerous mystery revolving around a madness-inducing poison. He traces the poison to Shanghai, and discovers a nefarious web of opium traffickers. Bu...

    - Google
  17. 1867 . The Leavers by Lisa Ko

    Lisa Ko is an American writer. Her debut novel, The Leavers, won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction. She has ...

  18. 1868 . The Wife of Martin Guerre by Janet Lewis

    The Wife of Martin Guerre (first published 1941) is a short novel by an American writer Janet Lewis based on the story of Martin Guerre, the 16th century peasant who apparently returned home to his...

  19. 1869 . Asterix the Gaul by Rene Goscinny

    When a Roman Centurion discovers the secret of Getafix's magic potion, Asterix has to intervene to save his druid friend. Simultaneous.

    - Google
  20. 1870 . The Bald Soprano by Eugène Ionesco

    La Cantatrice Chauve (Romanian: Cântăreața Cheală) — translated from French as The Bald Soprano or The Bald Prima Donna — is the first play written by Romanian-French playwright Eugène Ionesco.

  21. 1871 . The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

    The Way of Kings is an epic fantasy novel written by American author Brandon Sanderson and the first book in The Stormlight Archive series. The novel was published on August 31, 2010 by Tor Books. ...

  22. 1872 . The Abyss by Marguerite Yourcenar

    The Abyss (French: L'Œuvre au noir) is a novel by the Belgian-French writer Marguerite Yourcenar. Its narrative centers on the life and death of Zeno, a physician, philosopher, scientist and alchem...

  23. 1873 . The Rifles by William T. Vollmann

    When Sir John Franklin defies the warnings of native peoples and embarks on his fourth Arctic voyage in the 1840s, his journey ends in tragedy in a novel of America's ongoing tragedy of greed, igno...

    - Google
  24. 1874 . Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

    Wolf in White Van is the first novel by the American author and singer-songwriter John Darnielle. Wolf in White Van tells the story of Sean Phillips, a reclusive game designer whose face has been s...

  25. 1875 . The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel by Amy Hempel

    Amy Hempel (born December 14, 1951) is an American short story writer, journalist, and university professor at Brooklyn College.

  26. 1876 . The Horseman on the Roof by Jean Giono

    Perhaps no other of his novels better reveals Giono's perfect balance between lyricism and narrative, description and characterization, the epic and the particular, than The Horseman on the Roof. T...

    - Google
  27. 1877 . Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany

    In Bellona, reality has come unglued, and a mad civilization takes root A young half–Native American known as the Kid has hitchhiked from Mexico to the midwestern city Bellona—only something is wro...

    - Google
  28. 1878 . The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    The Water Dancer is a 2019 novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It is his first novel and was published on September 24, 2019, by One World, an imprint of Random House. It is a surrealist story set in the pr...

  29. 1879 . The Arrival by Shaun Tan

  30. 1880 . The Stain: A Novel by Rikki Ducornet

    In The Stain Rikki Ducornet tells the story of a young girl named Charlotte, branded with a furry birthmark in the shape of a dancing hare, regarded as the mark of Satan. "Sadistic nuns, scatology,...

    - Google
  31. 1881 . A Personal Matter by Kenzaburō Ōe

    Kenzaburo Oe, the winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature, is internationally acclaimed as one of the most important and influential post-World War II writers, known for his powerful accounts...

    - Google
  32. 1882 . The Jade Cabinet by Rikki Ducornet

    Continues the author's "Tetrology of the Elements" with an air-themed novel set in Victorian England

    - Google
  33. 1883 . The Fountains of Neptune by Rikki Ducornet

    A lyrical exploration of memory and imagination. "My sleep began in the spring of 1914. I slept through both World Wars and the tainted calm between. It was as if I had been cursed by an evil fairy...

    - Google
  34. 1884 . Entering Fire by Rikki Ducornet

    This startling and brilliantly comic novel tells the stories of two men: a father and his estranged son. Lamprias de Bergerac is a gentle mystic and amateur botanist who spends his middle-aged year...

  35. 1885 . Thérèse Desqueyroux by François Mauriac

    Francois Mauriac's masterpiece and one of the greatest Catholic novels, Therese Desqueyroux is the haunting story of an unhappily married young woman whose desperation drives her to thoughts of mur...

    - Google
  36. 1886 . Count Zero by William Gibson

    In the future world of the Sprawl, an urban complex that extends from Boston to Houston, a sentient computer data base known as the Cyberspace matrix dominates humanity's fate

    - Google
  37. 1887 . How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

    How I Live Now is a young adult novel by Meg Rosoff, first published in 2004. The book won three notable awards including the Michael L. Printz Award and received generally positive reviews.

  38. 1888 . Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson

    William Gibson, author of the extraordinary multiaward-winning novel Neuromancer, has written his most brilliant and thrilling work to date . . .The Mona Lisa Overdrive. Enter Gibson's unique world...

    - Google
  39. 1889 . William Trevor: The Collected Stories by William Trevor

  40. 1890 . Confusion by Stefan Zweig

    Upon hearing his rousing lecture, a college student grows close to his professor, and he becomes a regular visitor to the professor and his younger wife's apartment, where his teacher alternately e...

    - Google
  41. 1891 . The Eye in the Door by Pat Barker

    The Eye in the Door is the second novel in Pat Barker's classic Regeneration trilogy. WINNER OF THE 1993 GUARDIAN FICTION PRIZE. London, 1918. Billy Prior is working for Intelligence in the Ministr...

    - Google
  42. 1892 . The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    The Night Circus is a 2011 fantasy novel by Erin Morgenstern. It was originally written for the annual writing competition NaNoWriMo over the span of three NaNoWriMos. The novel has a nonlinear nar...

  43. 1893 . Runaway by Alice Munro

    Runaway is a book of short stories by Alice Munro. First published in 2004 by McClelland and Stewart, it was awarded that year's Giller Prize.

  44. 1894 . Lookout cartridge by Joseph McElroy

    Cartwright is determined to discover why someone would wish to have DiGorro's innocent cinema verité film destroyed, searching through a host of clues that lie scattered from London, Stonehenge, an...

    - Google
  45. 1895 . The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

    The House on Mango Street is a coming-of-age novel by Mexican-American writer Sandra Cisneros, published in 1984. It deals with a young Latina girl, Esperanza Cordero, growing up in the Chicago Chi...

  46. 1896 . Silence de la Mer by Vercors

    This first bilingual edition of France's most enduring wartime novel introduces Vercors's famous tale to a generation without personal experience of World War II who may not be able to read it in i...

    - Google
  47. 1897 . Thursbitch by Alan Garner

    Thursbitch is a novel by English writer Alan Garner, named after the valley in the Pennines of England where the action occurs (also listed in the 1841 OS map as "Thursbatch"). It was published in ...

  48. 1898 . Genoa: a telling of wonders by Paul C. Metcalf

    First published in 1965, this remarkable novel is Paul Metcalf's purging of the burden of his relationship to Herman Melville (his great-grandfather), but it is much broader than that. In the extra...

    - Google
  49. 1899 . A Mirror for Witches by Esther Forbes

    A Mirror for Witches in which is reflected the life, machinations and death of famous Doll Bilby, who, with a more than feminine perversity, preferred a demon to a mortal lover. Here is also told h...

    - Google
  50. 1900 . Swing Time by Zadie Smith

    Swing Time is a novel by British writer Zadie Smith, released in November 2016. The story takes place in London, New York and West Africa, and focuses on two girls who can tap dance.