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. 2101 . Bad Behavior: Stories by Mary Gaitskill

    powerful stories about dislocation, longing, and desire which depict a disenchanted and rebellious urban fringe generation that is searching for human connection. • Now a classic: Bad Behavior made...

    - Google
  2. 2102 . The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt

    Named one of the New York Times Book Review’s 100 Notable Books of the Year ** Publishers Weekly’s Best Fiction Books of 2014 ** NPR Best Books of 2014 ** Kirkus Reviews Best Literary Fiction Books...

    - Google
  3. 2103 . The Queen of the Tambourine by Jane Gardam

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  4. 2104 . Twelve Bar Blues by Patrick Neate

    Twelve Bar Blues is a 2001 novel by Patrick Neate, and the winner of that year's Whitbread novel award.

  5. 2105 . Collected Short Stories of Saki by Saki

    The extraordinary stories of 'Saki' are a mixture of humorous satire, irony and the macabre, in which the stupidities and hypocrisy of conventional society are viciously pilloried.

    - Google
  6. 2106 . The Old Jest by Jennifer Johnston

  7. 2107 . Blood Oranges by John Hawkes

  8. 2108 . Leading the Cheers by Justin Cartwright

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  9. 2109 . Mythologies by Roland Barthes

    Mythologies is the title of a book by Roland Barthes, published in 1957. It is a collection of essays taken from Les Lettres nouvelles, examining the tendency of contemporary social value systems t...

  10. 2110 . Docherty by William McIlvanney

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  11. 2111 . The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney

    The Tenderness of Wolves is a novel by Stef Penney, which was first published in 2006. It won the 2006 Costa Prize for 'Book of the Year'.

  12. 2112 . Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge

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  13. 2113 . Dangerous Laughter by Steven Millhauser

    Thirteen darkly comic stories, Dangerous Laughter is a mesmerizing journey that stretches the boundaries of the ordinary world.

    - Google
  14. 2114 . The Spirit Level by Seamus Heaney

    The Spirit Level (1996) is a collection of poems written by Irish Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney. Featuring such poems as "Two Lorries", it won the Whitbread Prize for Literature.

  15. 2115 . How Far Can You Go? by David Lodge

  16. 2116 . The Coup by John Updike

  17. 2117 . Time's Arrow by Martin Amis

    Time's Arrow: or The Nature of the Offence (1991) is a novel by Martin Amis. It was shortlisted for the Booker Prize (1991).

  18. 2118 . Sexual Perversity in Chicago by David Mamet

  19. 2119 . Tragic Magic by Wesley Brown

  20. 2120 . The Continental Op by Dashiell Hammett

  21. 2121 . Plainsong by Kent Haruf

    Plainsong is a bestselling novel by Kent Haruf. Set in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado, it tells the interlocking stories of some of the inhabitants.

  22. 2122 . Collected Poems 1912-1944 by Hilda Doolittle

    Gathers poems from each period of Hilda Doolittle's career and includes background information on her major works

    - Google
  23. 2123 . Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman

    An imaginary re-creation of Einstein's discovery of the nature of time, this novel takes us through the young patent clerk's many dreams depicting compelling conceptions of time.

    - Google
  24. 2124 . The Comforts of Madness by Paul Sayer

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  25. 2125 . On the Bus with Rosa Parks by Rita Dove

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  26. 2126 . The Collected Works by Kahlil Gibran

    A collection of the major works of the celebrated poet, artist, and mystic features an array of stories, parables, prose poems, and essays that include "The Prophet," "The Wanderer," "Jesus the Son...

    - Google
  27. 2127 . The Ice Storm: A Novel by Rick Moody

    The year is 1973. As a freak winter storm bears down on an exclusive, affluent suburb in Connecticut, cark skid out of control, men and women swap partners, and their children experiment with sex, ...

    - Google
  28. 2128 . Flowering Judas and Other Stories by Katherine Anne Porter

    the astonishing 1930 collection that introduced a major new voice in American literature. "If Katherine Anne Porter had written nothing but these short narratives," observed the New York Times, "sh...

    - Google
  29. 2129 . Man in the Holocene by Max Frisch

    The parabolic novella Man in the Holocene (1979) is one of Max Frisch’s later works. A distinctive feature of this book’s style are the reprinted cutouts, that the protagonist, Mr. Geiser, cut out ...

  30. 2130 . Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall

    "An unforgettable novel, written with pride and anger, with rebellion and tears."—Herald Tribune Book Review"Passionate, compelling . . . an impressive accomplishment."—Saturday Review"Remarkable f...

    - Google
  31. 2131 . Spies by Michael Frayn

  32. 2132 . I, etcetera by Susan Sontag

    I, etcetera is a 1978 collection of short stories by Susan Sontag.

  33. 2133 . The Child in Time by Ian McEwan

    The Child in Time (1987) is a novel by Ian McEwan. It won the Whitbread Novel Award for that year. It concerns Stephen, an author of children's books, and his wife two years after the kidnapping of...

  34. 2134 . Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner

    In Lolly Willowes, Sylvia Townsend Warner tells of an aging spinster's struggle to break way from her controlling family—a classic story that she treats with cool feminist intelligence, while addin...

    - Google
  35. 2135 . The Complete Short Stories of Jack London by Jack London

    John Griffith "Jack" London (born John Griffith Chaney, January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916) was an American author, journalist, and social activist. He was a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world ...

    - Google
  36. 2136 . The Pure and the Impure by Colette

    Colette herself considered The Pure and the Impure her best book, "the nearest I shall ever come to writing an autobiography." This guided tour of the erotic netherworld with which Colette was so i...

  37. 2137 . Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

    Jonathan Safran Foer follows his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated, with an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting story about New York City in the period following September 11 Ext...

    - Google
  38. 2138 . Speedboat by Renata Adler

    When Speedboat burst on the scene in the late ’70s it was like nothing readers had encountered before. It seemed to disregard the rules of the novel, but it wore its unconventionality with ease. Re...

    - Google
  39. 2139 . Women by Charles Bukowski

    Women is a 1978 novel written by Charles Bukowski, starring his semi-autobiographical character Henry Chinaski. In contrast to Factotum, Post Office and Ham on Rye, Women is centered around Chinask...

  40. 2140 . The Oranging of America by Max Apple

    Max Apple (born October 22, 1941) is an American short story writer, novelist, and university professor at The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Apple, who was born in Grand...

  41. 2141 . The Epicure's Lament by Kate Christensen

    Hugo Whittier–failed poet and former kept man–is a wily misanthrope with a taste for whiskey, women, and his own cooking. Afflicted with a rare disease that will be fatal unless he quits smoking, H...

    - Google
  42. 2142 . Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral by Gabriela Mistral

    The first Nobel Prize in literature to be awarded to a Latin American writer went to the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral. Famous and beloved during her lifetime all over Latin America and in Europe, ...

    - Google
  43. 2143 . The Collected Short Stories of Maxim Gorky by Maxim Gorky

    Maxim Gorky continues to be regarded as the greatest literary representative of revolutionary Russia. Born of the people, and having experienced in his own person their sufferings and their misery,...

    - Google
  44. 2144 . Geek Love: A Novel by Katherine Dunn

    Geek Love is the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out–with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes–to breed their own exhibit of human oddities....

    - Google
  45. 2145 . The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

    The Yiddish Policemen's Union is a 2007 novel by American author Michael Chabon. The novel is a detective story set in an alternative history version of the present day, based on the premise that d...

  46. 2146 . If: A Father's Advice to His Son by Rudyard Kipling

    An illustrated version of one of Kipling's famous poems about a father's advice to his son.

    - Google
  47. 2147 . A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

    Welcome to sunny suburban 1960s Southern California. George is a gay middle-aged English professor, adjusting to solitude after the tragic death of his young partner. He is determined to persist in...

    - Google
  48. 2148 . The Chip Chip Gatherers by Shiva Naipaul

    The Chip-Chip Gatherers is a novel by Shiva Naipaul originally published in 1973 by Penguin Books. It was reprinted in a new edition as a Penguin Twentieth Century Classic in 1997. It is a comic st...

  49. 2149 . I Loved You More by Tom Spanbauer

    Tom Spanbauer’s first novel in seven years is a love story triangle akin to The Marriage Plot and Freedom, only with a gay main character who charms gays and straights alike. I Loved You More is a ...

    - Google
  50. 2150 . The Cunning Man by Robertson Davies

    The Cunning Man, published by McClelland and Stewart in 1994, is the last novel written by Canadian novelist Robertson Davies. The Cunning Man is the memoir of the life of a doctor, Dr. Jonathan...