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. 151 . An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

    It is set in post-World War II Japan and is narrated by Masuji Ono, an aging painter, who looks back on his life and how he has lived it. He notices how his once great reputation has faltered since...

  2. 152 . The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera

    With its seven interrelated parts--rich in story, character, and imaginative range--"The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1978) is the novel that brought Czech-born Milan Kundera his first big inte...

  3. 153 . Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion

    Didion's mordant lucidity is like L.A. sunlight, a thing so bright sometimes it hurts. She's a descendant of the old California, the great- great-granddaughter of pioneers. But she was also schoole...

    - Time
  4. 154 . Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

    Sephy Hadley and Callum McGregor are two young people in love. But Sephy is a Cross, daughter of a government minister, and Callum is a Nought. In their world, Crosses and Noughts cannot be friends...

    - Google
  5. 155 . Outline by Rachel Cusk

    A luminous, powerful novel that establishes Rachel Cusk as one of the finest writers in the English language A man and a woman are seated next to each other on a plane. They get to talking—about th...

    - Google
  6. 156 . Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

    Everything Is Illuminated is the first novel by the American writer Jonathan Safran Foer, published in 2002. It was adapted into a film starring Elijah Wood in 2005.

  7. 157 . The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis by José Saramago

    The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis (in Portuguese: O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis) is a 1984 novel by Portuguese novelist José Saramago, the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in literature. It tell...

  8. 158 . Freedom: A Novel by Jonathan Franzen

    Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul—the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could...

    - Google
  9. 159 . The Sellout by Paul Beatty

    The Sellout is a 2015 novel by Paul Beatty published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and in the UK by Oneworld Publications in 2016. The novel takes place in and around Los Angeles, California, and c...

  10. 160 . Snow by Orhan Pamuk

    Snow (Turkish: Kar) is a novel by Turkish author Orhan Pamuk. It was published in Turkish in 2002 and in English (translated by Maureen Freely) in 2004. The story encapsulates many of the political...

  11. 161 . The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald

    In eighteenth-century Germany, the impetuous student of philosophy who will later gain fame as the Romantic poet Novalis seeks his father's permission to wed his true philosophy — a plain, simple c...

  12. 162 . How to be both by Ali Smith

    Passionate, compassionate, vitally inventive and scrupulously playful, Ali Smith’s novels are like nothing else. A true original, she is a one-of-a-kind literary sensation. Her novels consistently ...

    - Google
  13. 163 . Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

    Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (1993) is a novel by Irish writer Roddy Doyle. It won the Booker Prize in 1993. The story is about a 10 year old boy and events that happen within his age group. He also has t...

  14. 164 . Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

    Hiro Protagonist—yeah, that's his name—is a freelance hacker and unemployed pizza deliveryman lost in a post-lapsarian, hyper-capitalist future America in which the central government has withered ...

    - Time
  15. 165 . History by Elsa Morante

    History: A Novel is a novel by Italian author Elsa Morante, largely seen to be her most famous and controversial work. Published in 1974, it narrates the story of a woman, Ida Ramundo, and her two ...

  16. 166 . The Flamethrowers: A Novel by Rachel Kushner

    Arriving in New York to pursue a creative career in the raucous 1970s art scene, Reno joins a group of dreamers and raconteurs before falling in love with the estranged son of an Italian motorcycle...

    - Google
  17. 167 . Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

    Ruth narrates the story of how she and her younger sister Lucille are raised by a succession of relatives in the fictional town of Fingerbone, Idaho (some details are similar to Robinson's hometown...

  18. 168 . Mother's Milk by Edward St Aubyn

    First published in 2006, Mother’s Milk is the fourth novel in the critically acclaimed Patrick Melrose series. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize that year and won the 2007 Prix Femina Étr...

    - Google
  19. 169 . Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

    Bel Canto is a 2001 novel by American author Ann Patchett, published by Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. It was awarded both the Orange Prize for Fiction and PEN/Faulkner Award fo...

  20. 170 . Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

    Interpreter of Maladies is a 2000 collection of nine short stories by Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. It was also...

  21. 171 . Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

    For almost four decades Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City has blazed its own trail through popular culture—from a groundbreaking newspaper serial to a classic novel, to a television event that e...

    - Google
  22. 172 . Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

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  23. 173 . Waiting by Ha Jin

    Waiting: a Novel is a novel by award-winning author Ha Jin. It received the 1999 National Book Award. Lin Kong (the protagonist), a soldier in the Revolutionary Army, finds himself waiting 18 years...

  24. 174 . The Swimming-Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst

    A literary sensation and bestseller both in England and America, The Swimming-Pool Library is an enthralling, darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS; an elegy, possessed of...

    - Google
  25. 175 . Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

    Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of susp...

    - Google
  26. 176 . Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler

    Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant is a 1982 novel by Anne Tyler set in Baltimore, Maryland. It is Anne Tyler's ninth novel. In 1983 it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize,[1] the National Book Aw...

  27. 177 . Salvage the Bones: A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

    Winner of the 2011 National Book Award A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. A hard dri...

    - Google
  28. 178 . Ironweed by William Kennedy

    Ironweed is set during the Great Depression and tells the story of Francis Phelan, an alcoholic vagrant originally from Albany, New York, who left his family after accidentally killing his infant s...

  29. 179 . The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

    Shifting in time, the novel tells the story of Penelope Keeling, the daughter of unconventional parents (an artist father and his much-younger French wife), examining her past and her relationships...

  30. 180 . Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

    The number one bestseller in Mexico and America for almost two years, and subsequently a bestseller around the world, Like Water For Chocolate is a romantic, poignant tale, touched with moments of ...

    - Google
  31. 181 . The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

    The stirring saga of a man’s journey to free his sister—and himself—from a tragic family history Tom Wingo has lost his job, and is on the verge of losing his marriage, when he learns that his twin...

    - Google
  32. 182 . Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

    On July 5, 1906, scandal breaks in the small town of Cold Sassy, Georgia, when the proprietor of the general store, E. Rucker Blakeslee, elopes with Miss Love Simpson. He is barely three weeks a wi...

    - Google
  33. 183 . The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi

    "My name is Karim Amir, and I am an Englishman born and bred, almost..."The hero of Hanif Kureishi's debut novel is dreamy teenager Karim, desperate to escape suburban South London and experience t...

    - Google
  34. 184 . JR by William Gaddis

    A great masterpiece by William Gaddis, with a new introduction by Rick Moody. Winner of the 1976 National Book Award, J R is a biting satire about the many ways in which capitalism twists the Ameri...

    - Google
  35. 185 . There But For The by Ali Smith

    When a dinner-party guest named Miles locks himself in an upstairs room and refuses to come out, he sets off a media frenzy. He also sets in motion a mesmerizing puzzle of a novel, one that harness...

    - Google
  36. 186 . Simon and the Oaks by Marianne Fredriksson

    The friendship of two Swedish boys and the way they are influenced by each other's families. One boy descends from wealthy Jewish intellectuals, the other is the son of a craftsman working with his...

    - Google
  37. 187 . The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

    The Accidental Tourist is a 1985 novel by Anne Tyler that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Set in Baltimore, Maryland, the plot rev...

  38. 188 . The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

    Vietnam veteran George Washington Hayduke III returns home to the desert only to find his beloved canyons and rivers now threatened by industrial development. Joining forces with Bronx exile and fe...

    - Google
  39. 189 . High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

    High Fidelity is a 1995 British novel by Nick Hornby. It was adapted into a 2000 film directed by Stephen Frears and starring John Cusack. It also served as the basis for a 2006 Broadway musical of...

  40. 190 . Deliverance by James Dickey

    Narrated in the first person by one of the main characters, graphic artist Ed Gentry, the novel begins with four middle-aged men in a large Georgia city planning a weekend canoe trip down the ficti...

  41. 191 . True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

    True History of the Kelly Gang is a historical novel by Australian writer Peter Carey. It was first published in Brisbane by the University of Queensland Press in 2000. It won the 2001 Man Booker P...

  42. 192 . Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid

    Annie John is a haunting and provocative story of a young girl growing up on the island of Antigua. A classic coming-of-age story in the tradition of The Catcher in the Rye and A Portrait of the Ar...

    - Google
  43. 193 . Smilla's Sense of Snow: A Novel by Peter Høeg

    Smilla's Sense of Snow presents one of the toughest heroines in modern fiction. Smilla Qaavigaaq Jaspersen is part Eskimo but she lives in Copenhagen and keeps to herself. When her six-year old nei...

    - Google
  44. 194 . If Not Now, When? by Primo Levi

    Recounts the adventures of a band of Jews--former Soviet soldiers and concentration camp survivors--who battle the retreating German army in the closing days of World War II

    - Google
  45. 195 . The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

    Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the moral claims it makes upon the reader, this mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape ...

    - Google
  46. 196 . Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels

    Fugitive Pieces is a novel by Canadian poet Anne Michaels. The story is divided into two sections. The first centers around Jakob Beer, a Polish Holocaust survivor while the second involves a man n...

  47. 197 . Fateless by Imre Kertész

    Relates the daily life of prisoners at a Nazi concentration camp through the eyes of a fifteen-year-old boy who is deported to the camp with his father.

    - Google
  48. 198 . Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess

    Earthly Powers is a panoramic saga of the 20th century by Anthony Burgess first published in 1980. On one level it is a parody of a "blockbuster" novel, with the 81-year-old hero, Kenneth Toomey (a...

  49. 199 . Platform by Michel Houellebecq

    Michel is a civil-servant at the Ministry of Culture. When his father is murdered, Michel takes a leave of absence to go on a package tour to Thailand. Infuriated by the shallow hypocrisy and medio...

    - Google
  50. 200 . Varieties of Disturbance: Stories by Lydia Davis

    Presents a collection of short fiction, including "What you Learn about the Baby" in which a mother describes how an infant disrupts her life and "Jane and Cane" details an elderly woman's search f...

    - Google