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. 301 . And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

    And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by Agatha Christie, widely considered her masterpiece and described by her as the most difficult of her books to have written.

  2. 302 . The Naked Dead by Norman Mailer

    The Naked and the Dead is a 1948 novel by Norman Mailer. It was based on his experiences and exaggerations of that experience with the 112th Cavalry Regiment during the Philippines Campaign (1944–4...

  3. 303 . The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

    "My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky." Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering...

    - Google
  4. 304 . Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

    Invisible Cities (Italian: Le città invisibili) is a novel by Italian writer Italo Calvino. It was published in Italy in 1972 by Giulio Einaudi Editore.

  5. 305 . Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

    Cold Mountain is a 1997 historical fiction novel by Charles Frazier. It tells the story of W. P. Inman, a wounded deserter from the Confederate army near the end of the American Civil War who walks...

  6. 306 . Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello

    Six Characters in Search of an Author (Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore) is the most famous and celebrated play by the Italian writer Luigi Pirandello. The play is a satirical tragicomedy. It was ...

  7. 307 . The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño

    New Year's Eve, 1975: Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima, founders of the visceral realist movement in poetry, leave Mexico City in a borrowed white Impala. Their quest: to track down the obscure, vanis...

    - Google
  8. 308 . The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima

    Mizoguchi has been mentally troubled since he witnessed his mother's infidelity in the presence of his dying father. Mizoguchi feels utterly abandoned and alone until he becomes a pdest at Kinka-ku...

    - Google
  9. 309 . The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

    In a corrupt London underworld of criminals, terrorists, and fanatics, Mr. Verloc is assigned to plant a bomb. The tragic repercussions for his family show how Conrad's ironic voice is concerned no...

  10. 310 . Life, a User's Manual by Georges Perec

    Over twenty years ago, Godine published the first English translation of Georges Perec's masterpiece, Life A User's Manual, hailed by the Times Literary Supplement, Boston Globe, and others as "one...

    - Google
  11. 311 . The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell

    A critical and commercial success, the books present four perspectives on a single set of events and characters in Alexandria, Egypt, before and during World War II. As Durrell explains in his p...

  12. 312 . A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

    With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. The time is ...

    - Google
  13. 313 . A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor

    The collection that established O'Connor's reputation as one of the american masters of the short story. The volume contains the celebrated title story, a tale of the murderous fugitive "The Misfit...

  14. 314 . Under the Net by Iris Murdoch

    Murdoch, a philosophy don at Oxford, was that rarity, a philosophical novelist who could create real characters, not premises with names attached. Born in Ireland, she revered Wittgenstein, who fos...

    - Time
  15. 315 . Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O'Neill

    Mourning Becomes Electra is a play cycle written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill. The play premiered on Broadway at the Guild Theatre on 26 October 1931 where it ran for 150 performances befo...

  16. 316 . The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles

    The novel's protagonist is Sarah Woodruff, the title Woman, also known by the nickname of “Tragedy”, and by the unfortunate nickname “The French Lieutenant’s Whore”. She lives in the coastal town o...

  17. 317 . Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware

    Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth is a widely-acclaimed graphic novel by Chris Ware, published in 2000. The story was previously serialized in the pages of Ware's comic book Acme Novelty L...

  18. 318 . Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

    In Scoop, surreptitiously dubbed "a newspaper adventure," Waugh flays Fleet Street and the social pastimes of its war correspondants as he tells how William Boot became the star of British super-jo...

  19. 319 . In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway

    When In Our Time was published in 1925, it was praised by Ford Madox Ford, John Dos Passos, and F. Scott Fitzgerald for its simple and precise use of language to convey a wide range of complex emot...

  20. 320 . Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

    When a girl leaves home at eighteen, she does one of two things. Either she falls into saving hands and becomes better, or she rapidly assumes the cosmopolitan standard of virtue and becomes worse....

  21. 321 . Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

    Suite française is the title of a planned sequence of five novels by Irène Némirovsky, a French writer of Ukrainian Jewish origin. In July 1942, having just completed the first two of the series, N...

  22. 322 . Waiting for the Barbarians by J M Coetzee

    For decades the Magistrate has been a loyal servant of the Empire, running the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement and ignoring the impending war with the barbarians. When interrogation experts a...

  23. 323 . The Quiet American by Graham Greene

    As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for...

  24. 324 . Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee

    The beloved bestselling autobiography of an English boyhood Three years old and wrapped in a Union Jack to protect him from the sun, Laurie Lee arrived in the village of Slad in the final summer of...

    - Google
  25. 325 . The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty

    Stories are as good in themselves and as influential on the aspirations of others as any since Hemingway's. The breadth of Welty's offering is finally most visible not in the variety of types--farc...

  26. 326 . London Fields by Martin Amis

    London Fields is Amis's murder story for the end of the millennium. The murderee is Nicola Six, a "black hole" of sex and self-loathing intent on orchestrating her own extinction. The murderer may ...

    - Google
  27. 327 . The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

    The White Tiger is the debut novel by Indian author Aravind Adiga. It was first published in 2008 and won the Man Booker Prize for the same year. The novel studies the contrast between India's rise...

  28. 328 . The Shining by Stephen King

    The Shining is a 1977 horror novel by American author Stephen King. The title was inspired by the John Lennon song "Instant Karma!", which contained the line "We all shine on…". It was King's third...

  29. 329 . Some Prefer Nettles by Junichiro Tanizaki

    The conflict between traditional and modern Japanese culture is at the heart of this novel. Kaname is a smug, modern man living in a modern marriage. He gamely allows his wife to become the lover o...

    - Google
  30. 330 . The Human Stain by Philip Roth

    The Human Stain is set in 1990s America, the time of the culture wars, political correctness and the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal. The story is told by Nathan Zuckerman, a writer who lives ...

  31. 331 . Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter

    Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe's capitals, part swan...or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordinaire and star of Colonel Kearn...

    - Google
  32. 332 . The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen

    The Death of the Heart is a 1938 novel by Elizabeth Bowen set between the two world wars. It is about a sixteen year old orphan, Portia Quayne, who moves to London to live with her half-brother Tho...

  33. 333 . Underworld by Don DeLillo

    Underworld is a postmodern novel written in 1997 by Don DeLillo. It was nominated for the National Book Award, is one of his better-known novels, and was a best-seller.

  34. 334 . The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector

    In a haunting psychological tale of despair and freedom, Macabea is ugly, underfed, sickly, and unloved yet she fascinates Rodrigo because she is unaware of how unhappy she should be

    - Google
  35. 335 . American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

    In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the y...

    - Google
  36. 336 . The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

    It is the fictional autobiography about the life of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman whose life is marked by death and loss from the beginning, when her mother dies during childbirt...

  37. 337 . The Giver by Lois Lowry

    The Giver is a 1993 soft science fiction novel by Lois Lowry. It is set in a future society which is at first presented as a utopian society and gradually appears more and more dystopian; therefore...

  38. 338 . The Magus by John Fowles

    A man trapped in a millionare's deadly game of political and sexual betrayal. Filled with shocks and chilling surprises, "The Magus" is a masterwork of contemporary literature. In it, a young Engli...

  39. 339 . I'm Not Stiller by Max Frisch

    Max Rudolf Frisch (May 15, 1911 – April 4, 1991) was a Swiss architect, playwright and novelist, regarded as highly representative of German literature after World War II. In his creative works Fri...

  40. 340 . Jazz by Toni Morrison

    In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, shoots his teenage lover to death. At...

  41. 341 . Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

    Arrowsmith tells the story of bright and scientifically-minded Martin Arrowsmith as he makes his way from a small town in the Midwest to the upper echelons of the scientific community. (He is born ...

  42. 342 . The Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

    Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday is a 1973 novel by the American author Kurt Vonnegut. Set in the fictional town of Midland City, it is the story of "two lonesome, skinny, fairly old ...

  43. 343 . Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    One of The New York Times's Ten Best Books of the Year Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction An NPR "Great Reads" Book, a Chicago Tribune Best Book, a Washington Post Notable...

    - Google
  44. 344 . Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers

    A simple invitation to join his friend Davies on a yachting expedition in the Baltic is the beginning of an extraordinary and dangerous adventure for the bored and worldly but clever Carruthers. As...

  45. 345 . Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

    While staying as the guest of a factory owner in pre-First World War France, Stephen Wraysford embarks on a passionate affair with Isabelle, the wife of his host. The affair changes them both for e...

    - Google
  46. 346 . Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

    When Babbitt was first published in 1922, fans gleefully hailed its scathing portrait of a crass, materialistic nation; critics denounced it as an unfair skewering of the American businessman. Spar...

  47. 347 . The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

    The Blind Assassin is an award winning, bestselling novel by the Canadian author Margaret Atwood. It was first published by McClelland and Stewart in 2000. Set in Canada, it is narrated from the pr...

  48. 348 . Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar

    When La Maga, his mistress, disappears, Horacio Oliveira, an Argentinian writer living in Paris, decides to return home to Buenos Aires.

    - Google
  49. 349 . Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

    Who are you? What have we done to each other? These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The pol...

    - Google
  50. 350 . The Wasp Factory: A Novel by Iain Banks

    The polarizing literary debut by Scottish author Ian Banks, The Wasp Factory is the bizarre, imaginative, disturbing, and darkly comic look into the mind of a child psychopath. Meet Frank Cauldhame...

    - Google