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. 151 . A House for Mr. Biswas by V. S. Naipaul

    It is the story of Mr Mohun Biswas, an Indo-Trinidadian who continually strives for success and mostly fails, who marries into the Tulsi family only to find himself dominated by it, and who finally...

  2. 152 . Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

    The narrative is set primarily in Europe at the end of World War II and centers on the design, production and dispatch of V-2 rockets by the German military, and, in particular, the quest undertake...

  3. 153 . Dubliners by James Joyce

    Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. The fifteen stories were meant to be a naturalistic depiction of the Irish middle class life in and around Dub...

  4. 154 . Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

    Pinkie, a boy gangster in pre-war Brighton, is a Catholic dedicated to evil and damnation. In a dark setting of double crossing and razor slashes, his ambition and hatreds are horribly fulfilled, u...

    - Google
  5. 155 . Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

    Middlesex is a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides. It was published in 2002 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2003. The narrator and protagonist, Calliope Stephanides (later called "Cal"), an in...

  6. 156 . Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

    Steppenwolf (orig. German Der Steppenwolf) is the tenth novel by German-Swiss author Hermann Hesse. Originally published in Germany in 1927, it was first translated into English in 1929. Combining ...

  7. 157 . Disgrace by J M Coetzee

    Disgrace is a 1999 novel by South African-born author J. M. Coetzee, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature; the book itself won the Booker Prize in 1999, the year in which it was published. ...

  8. 158 . Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger

    "DeDaumier-Smith's Blue Period," "Teddy," and "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" are among the nine works in a collection of Salinger's perceptive and realistic short stories

    - Google
  9. 159 . The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

    The End of the Affair (1951) is a novel by British author Graham Greene, as well as the title of two feature films (released in 1955 and 1999) that were adapted for the screen based on the novel. ...

  10. 160 . Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

    Tragic story of wasted lives, set against a bleak New England background. A poverty-stricken New England farmer, his ailing wife and a youthful housekeeper are drawn relentlessly into a deep-rooted...

  11. 161 . The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

    The story centers on Quoyle, a newspaper worker from upstate New York whose father had emigrated from Newfoundland. Shortly after the suicide of his parents, Quoyle's unfaithful and abusive wife Pe...

  12. 162 . The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

    The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984), by Milan Kundera, is a philosophic novel about a man and his two women and their lives in the Prague Spring of the Czechoslovak Communist period in 1968. ...

  13. 163 . Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

    The novel describes the life of Kathy H., a young woman of 31, focusing at first on her childhood at an unusual boarding school and eventually her adult life. The story takes place in a dystopian B...

  14. 164 . 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

    2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is a science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke. It was developed concurrently with Stanley Kubrick's film version and published after the release of the film. The story...

  15. 165 . Henderson The Rain King by Saul Bellow

    Bellow's glorious, spirited story of an eccentric American millionaire who finds a home of sorts in deepest Africa.

  16. 166 . The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

    The Bell Jar is American writer and poet Sylvia Plath's only novel, which was originally published under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas" in 1963. The novel is semi-autobiographical with the names of...

  17. 167 . The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

    Written in Charlotte, North Carolina in a house on East Blvd, it is about a deaf man named John Singer and the people he encounters in a 1930s mill town in the U.S. state of Georgia.

  18. 168 . White Noise by Don DeLillo

    Set at a bucolic midwestern college known only as The-College-on-the-Hill, White Noise follows a year in the life of Jack Gladney, a professor who has made his name by pioneering the field of Hitle...

  19. 169 . Molloy by Samuel Beckett

    Molloy is a novel by Samuel Beckett. The English translation is by Beckett and Patrick Bowles.

  20. 170 . The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

    The Fountainhead's protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision. The book follows hi...

  21. 171 . Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

    Classic novel that has inspired generations of seekers. Blending Eastern mysticism and psychoanalysis, Hesse presents a strikingly original view of man and culture and the arduous process of self-d...

    - Google
  22. 172 . Season of Migration to the North by Al-Tayyib Salih

    Season of Migration to the North is a classic post-colonial Sudanese novel by the late novelist Al-Tayyib Salih. The novel charts individuation of the (un-named) narrator, who has returned to hi...

  23. 173 . The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

    Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize By an acclaimed writer at the height of his powers, The Sense of an Ending extends a streak of extraordinary books that began with the best-selling Arthur & Geor...

    - Google
  24. 174 . The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

    The Line of Beauty is a 2004 Booker Prize-winning novel by Alan Hollinghurst. Set in the United Kingdom in the early to mid-1980s, the story surrounds the post-Oxford life of the young gay prota...

  25. 175 . I, Claudius by Robert Graves

    I, Claudius deals sympathetically with the life of the Roman Emperor Claudius and cynically with the history of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and Roman Empire, from Julius Caesar's assassination in 44...

  26. 176 . Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

    Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder is a novel by the English writer Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1945. Waugh wrote that the novel "deals with what is t...

  27. 177 . Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

    The first and most autobiographical of Maugham's masterpieces. It is the story of Philip Carey, an orphan eager for life, love and adventure. After a few months studying in Heidelberg, and a brief ...

  28. 178 . Malone Dies by Samuel Beckett

    Malone Dies is a novel by Samuel Beckett. It was first published in 1951, in French, as Malone Meurt, and later translated into English by the author.

  29. 179 . The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow

    The Adventures of Augie March (1953) is a novel by Saul Bellow. It centers on the eponymous character who grows up during the Great Depression. This picaresque novel is an example of bildungsroman,...

  30. 180 . Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

    Cloud Atlas (published in the United States as Cloud Atlas: A Novel) is a 2004 novel, the third book by British author David Mitchell. It won the British Book Awards Literary Fiction Award and the ...

  31. 181 . The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead

    The novel tells the story of a highly dysfunctional family, the Pollits. The story centers on the family's impoverishment, the failure of the father Sam to provide for them, the parents' marital ba...

  32. 182 . Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

    An Oprah Book Club selection, Cry, the Beloved Country, the most famous and important novel in South Africa’s history, was an immediate worldwide bestseller in 1948. Alan Paton’s impassioned novel ...

    - Google
  33. 183 . Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

    Pippi Longstocking is a children's book written in 1945 by Astrid Lindgren. Pippi is a 9-year old that lives in an old villa in a Swedish town. (which remains unnamed for the series) She meet To...

  34. 184 . Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

    Wolf Hall (2009) is a Man Booker Prize-winning novel by English author Hilary Mantel, published by Fourth Estate. Set in the 1520s, it is about Thomas Cromwell's rise to power in the Tudor court of...

  35. 185 . Selected Stories of Alice Munro by Alice Munro

    Selected Stories is a volume of short stories by Alice Munro, published by McClelland and Stewart in 1996. It collects stories previously published in her eight previous books.

  36. 186 . The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

    A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a fat man name Gutman, and Brigid O’Shaughnessy, ...

  37. 187 . Complete Poems of Giacomo Leopardi by Giacomo Leopardi

    Giacomo Taldegardo Francesco di Sales Saverio Pietro Leopardi (June 29, 1798 – June 14, 1837) was an Italian poet, essayist, philosopher, and philologist.

  38. 188 . The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

    The Killer Angels (1974) is a historical novel by Michael Shaara that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. The book tells the story of four days of the Battle of Gettysburg in the Am...

  39. 189 . Possession by A. S. Byatt

    Part historical as well as contemporary fiction, the title Possession refers to issues of ownership and independence between lovers, the practice of collecting historically significant cultural art...

  40. 190 . The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

    The Poisonwood Bible (1998) by Barbara Kingsolver is a bestselling novel about a missionary family, the Prices, who in 1959 move from Georgia to the fictional village of Kilanga in the Belgian Cong...

  41. 191 . Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

    Tarzan of the Apes is a novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first in a series of books about the title character Tarzan. It was first published in the pulp magazine All-Story Magazine in Oct...

  42. 192 . Death of Virgil by Hermann Broch

    It is the reign of the Emperor Augustus, and Publius Vergilius Maro, the poet of the Aeneid and Caesar's enchanter, has been summoned to the palace, where he will shortly die. Out of the last hours...

    - Google
  43. 193 . The Counterfeiters by André Gide

    The Counterfeiters is a 1925 novel by French author André Gide, first published in Nouvelle Revue Française. With many characters and crisscrossing plotlines, its main theme is that of the original...

  44. 194 . Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

    Lyric and sensual, D.H. Lawrence's last novel is one of the major works of fiction of the twentieth century. Filled with scenes of intimate beauty, explores the emotions of a lonely woman trapped i...

  45. 195 . Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

    Gilead is a novel written by Marilynne Robinson and published in 2004. It won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award. The novel is the fictional auto...

  46. 196 . Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis

    Zorba the Greek is a novel written by the Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis, first published in 1946. It is the tale of a young Greek intellectual who ventures to escape his bookish life with the aid ...

  47. 197 . The Confusions of Young Törless by Robert Musil

    'between the life we live and the life we feel...there is the invisible border, like a narrow gate' Set in a boarding school in a remote area of the Habsburg Empire at the turn of the last century,...

    - Google
  48. 198 . Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

    In this classic satire of small-town America, beautiful young Carol Kennicott comes to Gopher Prairie, Minnesota, with dreams of transforming the provincial old town into a place of beauty and cult...

  49. 199 . So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

    On an Illinois farm in the 1920s, a man is murdered, and in the same moment the tenous friendship between two lonely boys comes to an end. In telling their interconnected stories, American Book Awa...

  50. 200 . The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

    The moving story of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his selfless wife O-lan, in which the author presents a graphic view of a China when the last emperor reigned and the vast political and social u...