The Greatest Books Since 1970


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. 51 . 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...

  2. 52 . 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...

  3. 53 . 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...

  4. 54 . 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...

  5. 55 . Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow

    Humboldt's Gift is a 1975 novel by Saul Bellow, which won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and contributed to Bellow's winning the Nobel Prize in Literature the same year. The novel, which Bell...

  6. 56 . The Secret History by Donna Tartt

    The Secret History, the first novel by Mississippi-born writer Donna Tartt, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1992. A 75,000 print order was made for the first edition (as opposed to the usual 10...

  7. 57 . The Known World by Edward P. Jones

    The Known World is a 2003 historical novel by Edward P. Jones. It was his first novel and second book. Set in antebellum Virginia, it examines issues regarding the ownership of black slaves by free...

  8. 58 . The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

    The God of Small Things is a politically charged novel by Indian author Arundhati Roy. It is a story about the childhood experiences of a pair of fraternal twins who become victims of circumstance....

  9. 59 . All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

    All the Pretty Horses is a novel by U.S. author Cormac McCarthy published in 1992. Its romanticism (in contrast to the bleakness of McCarthy's earlier work) brought the writer much public attention...

  10. 60 . Watership Down by Richard Adams

    Watership Down is a heroic fantasy novel about a small group of rabbits, written by British author Richard Adams. Although the animals in the story live in their natural environment, they are anthr...

  11. 61 . Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

    The lengthy and complex work takes place in a semi-parodic future version of North America. The novel touches on the topics of tennis, substance addiction and recovery programs, depression, child a...

  12. 62 . Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally

    The book tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a Nazi Party member, who turns into the unlikely hero. By the end of the war, Schindler has saved 1,200 Jews from concentration camps all over Poland an...

  13. 63 . The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa

    The War of the End of the World is one of the great modern historical novels. Inspired by a real episode in Brazilian history, Mario Vargas Llosa tells the story of an apocalyptic movement, led by ...

    - Google
  14. 64 . The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

    It is the year 1327. Franciscans in an Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, but Brother William of Baskerville’s investigation is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths. Translated by Will...

    - Google
  15. 65 . Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    Half of a Yellow Sun is a novel that was written by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It was first published in 2006 by Knopf/Anchor and tells the story of two sisters Olanna and Kainene du...

  16. 66 . A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

    A Suitable Boy is a novel by Vikram Seth, released in 1994. At 1349 pages (1488 pages softcover) and 591,552 words, the book is one of the longest novels ever published in a single volume in the En...

  17. 67 . Regeneration by Pat Barker

    The first book of the Regeneration Trilogy and a Booker Prize nominee In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World...

    - Google
  18. 68 . Complete Poems by Elizabeth Bishop

    This is the definitive edition of one of America's greatest poets, increasingly recognised as one of the greatest English-language poets of the 20th century, loved by readers and poets alike. This ...

    - Google
  19. 69 . The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

    The English Patient is a 1992 novel by Sri Lankan-Canadian novelist Michael Ondaatje. The story deals with the gradually revealed histories of a critically burned English man, his Canadian nurse, a...

  20. 70 . Crash: A Novel by J. G. Ballard

    In this hallucinatory novel, an automobile provides the hellish tableau in which Vaughan, a "TV scientist" turned "nightmare angel of the highways," experiments with erotic atrocities among auto cr...

    - Google
  21. 71 . Money by Martin Amis

    Money tells the story of, and is narrated by, John Self, a successful director of commercials who is invited to New York by Fielding Goodney, a film producer, in order to shoot his first film. Self...

  22. 72 . The Lover by Marguerite Duras

    An international best-seller with more than one million copies in print and a winner of France's Prix Goncourt, The Lover has been acclaimed by critics all over the world since its first publicatio...

    - Google
  23. 73 . The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

    The Joy Luck Club (1989) is a best-selling novel written by Amy Tan. It focuses on the game and four Chinese American immigrant families who start a club known as "the Joy Luck Club," playing the C...

  24. 74 . A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

    Jennifer Egan's spellbinding novel circles the lives of Bennie Salazar, an ageing former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Benni...

    - Google
  25. 75 . The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

    The Book Thief is a best-selling novel by Markus Zusak published in 2005. It was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book. As of September 2009 it has been on the New York Times Children's Best Se...

  26. 76 . Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

    Bastard Out of Carolina was the first novel published by author Dorothy Allison. The book, which is semi-autobiographical in nature, is set in Allison's hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. Narr...

  27. 77 . NW: A Novel by Zadie Smith

    New York Times Ten Best Books of 2012 “A boldly Joycean appropriation, fortunately not so difficult of entry as its great model… Like Zadie Smith’s much-acclaimed predecessor White Teeth (2000), NW...

    - Google
  28. 78 . A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul

    In the "brilliant novel" ("The New York Times) V.S. Naipaul takes us deeply into the life of one man--an Indian who, uprooted by the bloody tides of Third World history, has come to live in an isol...

  29. 79 . Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

    Set on the fictional San Piedro Island in the northern Puget Sound region of the state of Washington coast in 1954, the plot revolves around a murder case in which Kabuo Miyamoto, a Japanese Americ...

  30. 80 . The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

    The Things They Carried is a collection of related stories by Tim O'Brien, about a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War, originally published in hardcover by Houghton Mifflin, 1990. Whil...

  31. 81 . Neuromancer by William Gibson

    The novel tells the story of a washed-up computer hacker hired by a mysterious employer to work on the ultimate hack. Gibson explores artificial intelligence, virtual reality, genetic engineering, ...

  32. 82 . The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

    The Thorn Birds is a 1977 best-selling novel by Colleen McCullough, an Australian author. In 1983 it was adapted as a television mini-series that, during its television run March 27-30, became t...

  33. 83 . Life of Pi by Yann Martel

    Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel written by Canadian author Yann Martel. In the story, the protagonist Piscine "Pi" Molitor Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, explores issues of spiritua...

  34. 84 . Watchmen by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons

    Watchmen is a graphic novel—a book-length comic book with ambitions above its station—starring a ragbag of bizarre, damaged, retired superheroes: the paunchy, melancholic Nite Owl; the raving dooms...

    - Time
  35. 85 . Anniversaries by Uwe Johnson

    A translation of the first two volumes of Uwe Johnson's Jahrestage.

    - Google
  36. 86 . Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich

    Love Medicine is Louise Erdrich’s first novel, published in 1984. Each chapter is narrated by a different character. These narratives are very conversational, as if the narrators were telling a st...

  37. 87 . Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow

    Ragtime is a 1975 novel by E. L. Doctorow. This work of historical fiction is mostly set in New York City from about 1900 until the United States entry into World War I in 1917. A unique adaptation...

  38. 88 . His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

    The story involves fantasy elements such as witches and armoured polar bears, and alludes to a broad range of ideas from fields such as physics, philosophy, theology and spirituality. It follows th...

  39. 89 . Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières

    It is 1941 and Captain Antonio Corelli, a young Italian officer, is posted to the Greek island of Cephallonia as part of the occupying forces. At first he is ostracised by the locals, but as a cons...

    - Amazon
  40. 90 . Sophie's Choice by William Styron

    It concerns a young American Southerner, an aspiring writer, who befriends the Jewish Nathan Landau and his beautiful lover Sophie, a Polish (but non-Jewish) survivor of the Nazi concentration camp...

  41. 91 . The Stories of Raymond Carver by Raymond Carver

    Raymond Clevie Carver, Jr. (May 25, 1938 – August 2, 1988) was an American short story writer and poet. Carver was a notable writer of the late 20th century and a contributor to the revitalization ...

    - Google
  42. 92 . The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

    Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she ...

    - Google
  43. 93 . Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

    The character of the chief protagonist of The Satanic Verses is based on Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan and a bit of Rama Rao. The title refers to what are known as the satanic verses, a group o...

  44. 94 . 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
  45. 95 . 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.

  46. 96 . 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...

  47. 97 . 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
  48. 98 . 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
  49. 99 . 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
  50. 100 . 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...