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. 1901 . Eva Luna by Isabel Allende

    Eva Luna is a novel written by Chilean novelist Isabel Allende in 1985 and translated from Spanish to English by Margaret Sayers Peden. Eva Luna takes us into the life of the eponymous protagonist,...

  2. 1902 . Double Or Nothing by Raymond Federman

    Double or Nothing challenges the way we read fiction and the way we see words, and in the process, gives us back more of our own world and our real dilemmas than we are used to getting.

    - Google
  3. 1903 . The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

    The Wise Man's Fear, also called The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two, is a fantasy novel written by American author Patrick Rothfuss and the second volume in The Kingkiller Chronicle. It was publish...

  4. 1904 . Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

    Commonwealth is the seventh novel by American author Ann Patchett, published in 2016. The novel begins with an illicit kiss that leads to an affair that destroys two marriages and creates a relucta...

  5. 1905 . The Joke by Milan Kundera

    All too often, this brilliant novel of thwarted love and revenge miscarried has been read for its political implications. Now, a quarter century after The Joke was first published and several years...

    - Google
  6. 1906 . The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor

    ' "Here I am!" Flora called to Richard as she went downstairs. For a second, Meg felt disloyalty. It occurred to her of a sudden that Flora was always saying that, and that it was in the tone of on...

    - Google
  7. 1907 . Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym

    This classic novel holds the mirror up to human nature and the battle between the sexes as it explores the love lives of a group of anthropologists Catherine Oliphant writes for women’s magazines a...

    - Google
  8. 1908 . The Cannibal: Novel by John Hawkes

    The Cannibal was John Hawkes's first novel, published in 1949.

    - Google
  9. 1909 . The Ghost by Robert Harris

    The Ghost is a contemporary political thriller by the best-selling English novelist and journalist Robert Harris.

  10. 1910 . Aurélien by Louis Aragon

  11. 1911 . The Destroyers by Christopher Bollen

    When Charlie and I were young, we played a game called Destroyers. . . . We were sharpening our instincts, jettisoning attachments. We were honing strategies for survival. . . . Arriving on the Gre...

    - Google
  12. 1912 . Youth by J M Coetzee

    Youth (or Youth: Scenes from Provincial Life II) (2002) is a semi-fictionalised autobiographical novel by J. M. Coetzee, recounting his struggles in 1960s London after fleeing the political unrest ...

  13. 1913 . Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan

  14. 1914 . The Satin Slipper by Paul Claudel

    The Satin Slipper (Le Soulier de satin) is a long play by the French dramatist and poet Paul Claudel. It was written in 1929, but first performed on stage in 1943. Today it is rarely staged because...

  15. 1915 . Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

    The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness is a series of fantasy books by Michelle Paver, her first books for children. Set 6000 years ago in the pre-agricultural Stone Age, the Chronicles are about a boy...

  16. 1916 . Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

    Boy, Snow, Bird is a 2014 novel by British author Helen Oyeyemi. The novel, Oyeyemi's fifth, was a loose retelling of the fairytale Snow White. Oyeyemi also cited the novel Passing as an inspiratio...

  17. 1917 . The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht

    Described by Brecht as 'a gangster play that would recall certain events familiar to us all', The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui is a witty and savage satire of the rise of Hitler – recast by Brech...

    - Google
  18. 1918 . Friday by Michel Tournier

    Friday, winner of the 1967 Grand Prix du Roman of the Académie Française, is a sly, enchanting retelling of the legend of Robinson Crusoe by the man the New Yorker calls "France's best and probably...

    - Google
  19. 1919 . The Night Manager by John le Carré

    The Night Manager is an espionage/detective novel by John le Carré, published in 1993. It is his first post-Cold War novel, detailing an undercover operation to nab an international criminal.

  20. 1920 . If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor

    If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things is author Jon McGregor's first novel, first published by Bloomsbury in 2002. It centres around a day in the life of a suburban British street, with the plot al...

  21. 1921 . The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride

    The Lesser Bohemians is the second novel by Eimear McBride. It was published on 1 September 2016 and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 2017.

  22. 1922 . Fleshmarket Close by Ian Rankin

    Fleshmarket Close is a 2004 crime novel by Ian Rankin, and is named after a real close off Edinburgh's Cockburn Street. It is the fifteenth of the Inspector Rebus novels. "Fleshmarket" is the Scots...

  23. 1923 . Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin

    Ursula K. Le Guin's Always Coming Home is a major work of the imagination from one of America's most respected writers. More than five years in creation, it is a novel unlike any other. A rich and ...

    - Google
  24. 1924 . Drop City by T. Coraghessan Boyle

    Drop City is a 2003 novel by American author T. Coraghessan Boyle. The novel describes the social evolution of a group of free spirits, not unlike the inhabitants of the real Drop City in Colorado....

  25. 1925 . Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

    "Gorgeous, moving…A story of love—romantic and familial—and alienation, grief and triumph, disaster and surviva." —Nylon "For those still mourning the loss of Toni Morrison, it’s essential that you...

    - Google
  26. 1926 . Tendrils of Vines by Colette

    Tendrils of vines is a collection of news from Colette published in 1908 . Tendrils of vines brings new short biographical origin in which the author expresses his love for nature and the nostal...

  27. 1927 . Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat

    Krik? Krak! (ISBN 0-679-76657-X) is a book written by Edwidge Danticat. It consists of nine short stories plus an epilogue. The stories are tied together by similar plots of struggle and survival w...

  28. 1928 . Capital of Pain by Paul Éluard

    Capital of Pain, is considered one of the key texts of surrealism. This is the first new translation into English of this work in over 30 years and the only edition available in the English languag...

    - Google
  29. 1929 . Martin Eden by Jack London

    Moving tale of an ambitious young man who struggles hard to fulfil his dreams only to realize that they were just an illusion. The significance of this novel is enhanced by its autobiographical con...

    - Google
  30. 1930 . Ballad of the Salt Sea by Hugo Pratt

  31. 1931 . Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

    Eileen is a 2015 novel by Ottessa Moshfegh, published by Penguin Press. It is Moshfegh's first novel.In September 2016, it was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.

  32. 1932 . Staying Alive by Neil Astley

  33. 1933 . Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

    ‘Walker is my name and I am the same. Riddley Walker. Walking my riddels where ever theyve took me and walking them now on this paper the same. There aint that many sir prizes in life if you take n...

    - Google
  34. 1934 . The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

    The Poppy War is a 2018 novel by R. F. Kuang, published by Harper Voyager. The Poppy War, a grimdark fantasy, draws its plot and politics from mid-20th-century China, with the conflict in the novel...

  35. 1935 . Portrait of an Artist with 26 Horses by William Eastlake

    "But," Rabbit Stockings said, "don't blame the white women. This is kind of an unusual happening. Just one of those weird things that happen through a misunderstanding." "Maybe civilization is base...

    - Google
  36. 1936 . The Bronc People by William Eastlake

  37. 1937 . The Kindly One by Jonathan Littell

    The Kindly Ones (French: Les Bienveillantes) is a novel, in the form of historical fiction, written in French by the American-born author Jonathan Littell. It tells the story of a former SS officer...

  38. 1938 . Go in Beauty by William Eastlake

  39. 1939 . The Franchiser by Stanley Elkin

    The comic story of a man’s obsessive quest to build a fast food empire across America For the better part of the 1970s, entrepreneur Ben Flesh could expand his business kingdom with the snap of his...

    - Google
  40. 1940 . The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf

    A selfish young boy learns humility when he is made small by an elf and flies on a long trip with wild geese.

    - Google
  41. 1941 . Lady into Fox by David Garnett

    A husband and wife venture outdoors for a walk in the Oxfordshire woodlands when the woman is suddenly, unaccountably, and irrevocably transformed into a fox. This simply told modern folktale offer...

    - Google
  42. 1942 . The PowerBook by Jeanette Winterson

  43. 1943 . Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins

    SKINNY LEGS AND ALL: An Arab and a Jew open a restaurant together across the street from the United Nations.... It sounds like the beginning of an ethnic joke, but it's the axis around which spins ...

    - Google
  44. 1944 . The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

    Ray Bradbury's poignant and deeply insightful account of the attempts of humanity to colonize our nearest neighbour remains unmatched for its openness to the possibility of something new under the ...

    - Google
  45. 1945 . The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon

    The Incendiaries is a 2018 novel by R. O. Kwon, published by Riverhead Books. The novel was inspired by Kwon's own loss of faith in God at the age of 17, and it took her 10 years to finish.The nove...

  46. 1946 . The Age of Wire and String by Ben Marcus

    In The Age of Wire and String Ben Marcus welds together a new reality from the scrapheap of the past. Dogs, birds, horses, automobiles, and the weather are some of the recycled elements in Marcus's...

    - Google
  47. 1947 . The Interrogation by J. M. G. Le Clezio

    From the original Atheneum edition jacket, 1964. "J.M.G. Le Clézio, revelation of the literary year" ran the headline of the Paris Express after last year's prizes had been awarded. The Goncourt ju...

    - Google
  48. 1948 . Tropisms by Nathalie Sarraute

    "Tropisms" are "movements of which we are hardly cognizant, [they] slip through us on the frontiers of consciousness in the form of undefinable, extremely rapid sensations. They hide behind our ges...

    - Google
  49. 1949 . Tlooth by Harry Mathews

    This novel begins in a Russian prison camp at a baseball game featuring the defective Baptists versus the Fideists. There is a plot (of sorts), one of revenge surrounding a doctor who, in removing ...

    - Google
  50. 1950 . Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

    Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a collection of short stories by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.