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. 1951 . Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken

    A sweeping and enchanting new novel from the widely beloved, award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken about three generations of an unconventional New England family who own and operate a candlepin...

    - Google
  2. 1952 . War Music by Christopher Logue

  3. 1953 . The Damned Utd by David Peace

    The Damned Utd is a novel by British author David Peace which presents a fictionalised account of Brian Clough's brief spell as manager of Leeds United football club in 1974.

  4. 1954 . Matilda by Roald Dahl

    Matilda is a book by British writer Roald Dahl. It was published in 1988 by Jonathan Cape in London, with 232 pages and illustrations by Quentin Blake. It was adapted as an audio reading by actress...

  5. 1955 . A Sight for Sore Eyes by Ruth Rendell

    A Sight For Sore Eyes is a psychological thriller by British crime-writer Ruth Rendell.

  6. 1956 . An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

    An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a novel by Hank Green. It was published on September 25, 2018, and is Green's debut novel. Announced on September 19, 2017, the novel is the first of a two-book deal.

  7. 1957 . Collected Poems of Michael Donaghy by Michael Donaghy

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  8. 1958 . The Flight from the Enchanter by Iris Murdoch

    An enigmatic publisher’s sway on a circle of friends drives each to confront their most dangerous obsessions Businessman Mischa Fox has wealth, charisma, and an uncanny ability to influence those a...

    - Google
  9. 1959 . The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

    Severian is a torturer, born to the guild and with an exceptionally promising career ahead of him . . . until he falls in love with one of his victims, a beautiful young noblewoman. Her excruciatio...

    - Google
  10. 1960 . The Sword of the Lictor by Gene Wolfe

    Banished for the sin of mercy, Severian, one of the ancient guild of Torturers, flees from exile. In a mountain wilderness Severian, the disgraced apprentice torturer, has reached his place of exil...

    - Google
  11. 1961 . The Claw Of The Conciliator by Gene Wolfe

    The torturer Severian continues his journey of exile to the city Thrax, carrying with him the ancient executioner's sword and the Claw of the Conciliator, a gem of extraterrestrial power and beauty...

    - Google
  12. 1962 . The Citadel of the Autarch by Gene Wolfe

    Severian the Torturer continues his epic journey across the lands of Urth, carrying with him the Claw of the Conciliator and the great sword, Terminus Est. All his travels are leading towards a des...

    - Google
  13. 1963 . The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

    “A gripping American-on-the-run thriller . . . a brilliant coming-of-age tale and a touching exploration of father-daughter relationships.”—Newsweek “One part Quentin Tarantino, one part Scheheraza...

    - Google
  14. 1964 . Eustace and Hilda by L. P. Hartley

    The three books gathered together as Eustace and Hilda explore a brother and sister’s lifelong relationship. Hilda, the older child, is both self-sacrificing and domineering, as puritanical as she ...

    - Google
  15. 1965 . James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

    James and the Giant Peach is a popular children's novel written in 1961 by British author Roald Dahl. The original first edition published by Alfred Knopf featured illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Bur...

  16. 1966 . Legs by William Kennedy

    Legs inaugurated William Kennedy's brilliant cycle of novels (including Billy Phelan's Greatest Game and Ironweed) set in Albany, New York. True to both life and myth, Legs brilliantly evokes the f...

    - Google
  17. 1967 . Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney

    Bright Lights, Big City is a novel by the American author Jay McInerney, published by Vintage on 12 August 1984.

  18. 1968 . Billy Phelan's Greatest Game by William Kennedy

    Billy Phelan, a slightly tarnished poker player, pool hustler, and small-time bookie, moves through the lurid nighttime glare of a tough Depression-era town. A resourceful man full of Irish pluck, ...

    - Google
  19. 1969 . The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud

    The Emperor's Children is a 2006 novel by the American author Claire Messud. The author's third—and her first best-seller—it was longlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize.

  20. 1970 . Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner

    Go Down, Moses is a collection of seven related pieces of short fiction by American author William Faulkner, sometimes considered a novel. The most prominent character and unifying voice is that of...

  21. 1971 . The Tunnel by William H. Gass

    "Gass has produced a book that burrows inside us then wails like a beast, a book that mainlines a century's terror direct to the brain."-Voice Literary Supplement

    - Google
  22. 1972 . The General of the Dead Army by Ismail Kadare

    The General of the Dead Army is a 1963 novel by the Albanian writer Ismail Kadare. It is the author's most critically acclaimed novel.[1] It is noted that Kadare was encouraged to write the book fr...

  23. 1973 . Born Yesterday by Gordon Burn

  24. 1974 . Omensetter's Luck by William H. Gass

    A debut novel set in a rural American town, where Brackett Omensetter arrives, with his wife, family, and all earthly belongings. It soon becomes apparent that he is someone out of the ordinary as ...

    - Google
  25. 1975 . Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

    Who Fears Death is a science fantasy novel by Nigerian-American writer Nnedi Okorafor, published in 2010 by DAW, an imprint of Penguin Books. It was awarded the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best No...

  26. 1976 . The Strange Case of Peter the Lett by Georges Simenon

    The Strange Case of Peter the Lett (1931) (French: Pietr-le-Letton), a detective novel by the Belgian writer Georges Simenon, is the very first novel to feature Inspector Jules Maigret who would la...

  27. 1977 . Darconville's Cat by Alexander Theroux

    The conflicts between love and hate, good and evil, and life and art are explored in a portrait of Alaric Darconville, a twenty-nine-year-old professor at Quinsy College--a women's college in Virgi...

    - Google
  28. 1978 . Holes by Louis Sachar

    Holes is a Newbery Medal-winning novel by Louis Sachar.

  29. 1979 . The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie

    The Enchantress of Florence is a novel by Salman Rushdie published in 2008. According to Rushdie this is his "most researched book" which required "Years and years of reading".

  30. 1980 . Up by Ronald Sukenick

    When Ronald Sukenick's first novel, UP, came out in 1968, post-modernism, avant-pop and autofiction hadn't been invented yet. UP invented them. Ronald Sukenick's ten subsequent books are typically ...

    - Google
  31. 1981 . The Golden Apples by Eudora Welty

  32. 1982 . Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down by Ishmael Reed

    "Folks. This here is the story of the Loop Garoo Kid. A cowboy so bad he made a working posse of spells phone in sick. A bullwhacker so unfeeling he left the print of winged mice on hides of crawli...

    - Google
  33. 1983 . An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

    An Untamed State is the debut novel of writer Roxane Gay, first published in 2014 by Grove Atlantic.

  34. 1984 . A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham

    From Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours, comes this widely praised novel of two boyhood friends: Jonathan, lonely, introspective, and unsure of himself; and Bobby, h...

    - Google
  35. 1985 . Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

    Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned is a short story collection by the American writer Wells Tower. It was published to excellent reviews, including by Michiko Kakutani and Edmund Wilson. Kakutan...

  36. 1986 . Furor and Mystery by René Char

    Rene Char (1907-1988) was one of France's most respected 20th century poets. Part of the Surrealist group in the late 1920's-1930's, he gradually drifted away from the group. During WWII he joined ...

    - Google
  37. 1987 . The Ruins by Scott Smith

    The Ruins is the second novel by American author Scott Smith, whose first novel was A Simple Plan. The Ruins is a horror story set on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It was released on July 18, 2006 (I...

  38. 1988 . You Bright and Risen Angels by William T. Vollmann

    This comic and surreal novel about the beastliness and pain in the world focuses on the stories of assorted young American misfits, reactionaries and revolutionaries, young lovers, and raging old t...

    - Google
  39. 1989 . Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx

    Close Range: Wyoming Stories is a 1999 collection of short stories written by E. Annie Proulx. The stories are set in the desolate landscape of rural Wyoming and detail the often grim lives of the ...

  40. 1990 . No Orchids for Miss Blandish by James Hadley Chase

    When Dave Fenner is hired to solve the Blandish kidnapping, he knows the odds on finding the girl are against him - the cops are still looking for her three months after the ransom was paid. And th...

    - Google
  41. 1991 . Blake and Mortimer by Edgar P. Jacobs

    Blake and Mortimer is a Belgian comics series created by the Belgian writer and comics artist Edgar P. Jacobs. It was one of the first series to appear in the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Tintin ...

    - Google
  42. 1992 . The Universal Baseball Association by Robert Coover

    J. Henry Waugh immerses himself in his fantasy baseball league every night after work. As owner of every team in the league, Henry is flush with pride in a young rookie who is pitching a perfect ga...

    - Google
  43. 1993 . Creamy and Delicious by Steve Katz

  44. 1994 . Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

    Anything Is Possible is a 2017 novel of related stories by Elizabeth Strout. It returns to the fictional rural town of Amgash, Illinois, the protagonist's hometown in Strout's 2016 novel My Name Is...

  45. 1995 . My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

    My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a 2018 novel by American author Ottessa Moshfegh. Moshfegh's second novel, it is set in New York City in 2000 and 2001 and follows an unnamed protagonist as she gr...

  46. 1996 . The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

    Named a best book of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Time, and The Chicago Tribune, and named a notable book by The New York Times Book Review and The Washington Post “Remarkable . . . With this ...

    - Google
  47. 1997 . Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

    Presumed Innocent, published in 1987, is Scott Turow's first novel, which tells the story of a prosecutor charged with the murder of his colleague. It is told in the first person by the accused, Ru...

  48. 1998 . Second Thoughts by Michel Butor

    Second Thoughts (French: La Modification, 1957) is a novel by Michel Butor. It is the author's most famous work.

    - Google
  49. 1999 . More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon

    Theodore Sturgeon’s acclaimed classic about a group of gifted misfits who discover that together they have the power to move humankind forward—or destroy it completely Lone is a seemingly simple yo...

    - Google
  50. 2000 . District and Circle by Seamus Heaney

    District and Circle (2006) is a collection of poems written by Irish Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney. It is the poet's most recent volume, published forty years after his debut Death of a Naturalist, ...