The Greatest Books Since 1980

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. 601 . This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti

    This Present Darkness is a Christian novel by Frank E. Peretti. Published in 1986 by Crossway Books, This Present Darkness was Peretti's first published novel for adults and shows contemporary view...

    - Google
  2. 602 . The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan

    The Wheel of Time is a series of high fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr. under his pen name of Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, The Wheel of T...

  3. 603 . The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

    The Hunt for Red October is Tom Clancy's 1984 debut novel. The story follows a CIA analyst who leads a group of United States Navy officers to take possession of a cutting-edge Soviet nuclear subma...

  4. 604 . The Wine of Astonishment by Earl Lovelace

    The Wine of Astonishment is a powerful and heart-wrenching story of the persecution of Spiritual Baptists during British colonial rule in Trinidad from 1917 to 1951. The novel, situated in the remo...

    - Google
  5. 605 . Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

    Red Dragon is a novel by Thomas Harris. It was the first novel to feature Harris' iconic character Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a sociopathic, murderous cannibal and ex-forensic psychiatrist; though he pla...

  6. 606 . The Shack by William P Young

    Mackenzie Allen Phillips's youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation. Evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon ...

    - Google
  7. 607 . Left Behind by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins

    Left Behind is a series of 16 best-selling religious novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, dealing with Christian dispensationalist End Times: the pretribulation, premillennial, Christian esch...

  8. 608 . The Mind Invaders by Dave Hunt

    "We've been watching your development--we're here to help you take the next step. Open up. There's nothing to fear". Discovering the CIA and Russian Intelligence's battle for psychic control, famed...

    - Google
  9. 609 . I, Alex Cross by James Patterson

    You can't run Detective Alex Cross is pulled out of a family celebration and given the awful news that a beloved relative has been found brutally murdered. Alex vows to hunt down the killer, and so...

    - Google
  10. 610 . Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

    This award-winning contemporary classic is the survival story with which all others are compared—and a page-turning, heart-stopping adventure, recipient of the Newbery Honor. Thirteen-year-old Bria...

    - Google
  11. 611 . Watchers by Dean R. Koontz

    Two creatures, the end result of experiments in genetic engineering and enhanced intelligence, escape from a government laboratory and bring either death and destruction or a touching new kind of l...

    - Google
  12. 612 . The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah

    Renowned hip-hop artist, writer, and activist Sister Souljah brings the streets of New York to life in a powerful and utterly unforgettable first novel. I came busting into the world during one of ...

    - Google
  13. 613 . Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh

    Ottessa Moshfegh’s dark, confident, prickling stories are mostly about youngish men and women who have taken a wrong turn somewhere and find themselves hunkering down in nowhere towns, dismal cabin...

  14. 614 . The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta by Mario Vargas Llosa

    The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta is an astute psychological portrait of a modern revolutionary and a searching account of an old friend's struggle to understand him. First published in English in 1...

    - Google
  15. 615 . American Innovations by Rivka Galchen

    A brilliant new collection of short stories from "the conspicuously talented" (Time) Rivka Galchen In one of the intensely imaginative stories in Rivka's Galchen's American Innovations, a young wom...

    - Google
  16. 616 . The Indian Lawyer by James Welch

    Author weaves metaphor with reality in this poignant novel about Native Americans and the penal system.

    - Google
  17. 617 . The White Hotel by D. M. Thomas

    It is a dream of electrifying eroticism and inexplicable violence, recounted by a young woman to her analyst, Sigmund Freud. It is a horrifying yet restrained narrative of the Holocaust. It is a se...

    - Google
  18. 618 . The Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko

    A tour de force examination of the historical conflict between Native and Anglo Americans by critically acclaimed author Leslie Marmon Silko, under the hot desert sun of the American Southwest. In ...

    - Google
  19. 619 . Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link

    A debut collection of extraordinary stories from an award-winning author.

    - Google
  20. 620 . A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel

    Set during the French Revolution, this "riveting historical novel" ("The New Yorker") is the story of three young provincials who together helped destroy a way of life and, in the process, destroye...

    - Google
  21. 621 . Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver

    "Animals dream about the things they do in the day time just like people do. If you want sweet dreams, you've got to live a sweet life." So says Loyd Peregrina, a handsome Apache trainman and latte...

    - Google
  22. 622 . Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

    At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean; its purpose, to fight China’s vicious nineteenth-century Opium Wars. As for t...

    - Google
  23. 623 . The BFG by Roald Dahl

    When Sophie is snatched from her orphanage bed by the BFG (Big Friendly Giant), she fears she will be eaten. But the two join forces to vanquish the nine other far less gentle giants who threaten t...

  24. 624 . The Sportswriter by Richard Ford

    The Sportswriter is about a failed novelist turned sportswriter who undergoes a spiritual crisis following the death of his son.

  25. 625 . Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

    In the tradition of Norman Mailer's "The Naked and the Dead" and James Jones's "The Thin Red Line," Marlantes tells the powerful and compelling story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and...

    - Google
  26. 626 . The Storyteller by Mario Vargas Llosa

    A visitor from Peru, happening upon an exhibition of photographs from the Amazon jungle in an obscure Florentine picture gallery, finds his attention drawn to a picture of a tribal storyteller seat...

    - Google
  27. 627 . Ray by Barry Hannah

    Nominated for the American Book Award, Ray is the bizarre, hilarious, and consistently adventurous story of a life on the edge. Dr. Ray--a womanizer, small-town drunk, vigilante, poet, adoring husb...

    - Google
  28. 628 . Tripmaster Monkey by Maxine Hong Kingston

    Driven by his dream to write and stage an epic stage production of interwoven Chinese novelsWittman Ah Sing, a Chinese-American hippie in the late '60s. From the Trade Paperback edition.

    - Google
  29. 629 . The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth

    Written in verse, this was Vikram Seth's first novel. Set in the 1980s, in the affluence and sunshine of California's silicon valley, it is the story of twenty-somethings looking for love, pleasure...

    - Google
  30. 630 . Machine Dreams by Jayne Anne Phillips

    In her highly acclaimed debut novel, the bestselling author of Shelter introduces the Hampsons, an ordinary, small-town American family profoundly affected by the extraordinary events of history. H...

    - Google
  31. 631 . Mr. American by George MacDonald Fraser

    For this riotous Edwardian caper, the author of the bestselling "Flashman Papers" presents a raucous adventure that brings America's Wild West to London's West End and features arch-cad Harry Flash...

    - Google
  32. 632 . The House Of Splendid Isolation by Edna O'Brien

    Josie, the ailing, elderly inhabitant of an Irish country mansion, dwells in the shadowy world of remembered pain and loneliness. McGreevy, the terrorist, reintroduces the possibility of compassion...

    - Google
  33. 633 . Lucy by Jamaica Kincaid

    Lucy, a teenage girl from the West Indies, comes to America to work as an au pair for a wealthy couple. She begins to notice cracks in their beautiful façade at the same time that the mysteries of ...

    - Google
  34. 634 . Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

  35. 635 . Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy

    Carol Ann Duffy, CBE, FRSL (born 23 December 1955 in Glasgow) is a British poet and playwright. She is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at the Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed ...

  36. 636 . Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

    Japan's most widely-read and controversial writer, author of A Wild Sheep Chase, hurtles into the consciousness of the West with this narrative about a split-brained data processor, a deranged scie...

    - Google
  37. 637 . Normal People by Sally Rooney

    Normal People is the second novel by Irish author Sally Rooney.

  38. 638 . Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard

    Fiercely observed, often hilarious, and “reminiscent of Ibsen and Strindberg” (The New York Times Book Review), this exquisitely controversial novel was initially banned in its author’s homeland. A...

    - Google
  39. 639 . The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe

    Shadow of the torturer.; Claw of the conciliator.; Sword of the lictor.; Citadel of the autarch.

    - Google
  40. 640 . Good Omens by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman

    Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (1990) is a World Fantasy Award nominated novel written in collaboration between Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The book is ...

  41. 641 . You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers

    In his first novel, Dave Eggers has written a moving and hilarious tale of two friends who fly around the world trying to give away a lot of money and free themselves from a profound loss. It remin...

    - Google
  42. 642 . Little, Big by John Crowley

    Smoky Barnable embarks on a magical odyssey through life as he walks to Edgewood to marry Daily Alice Drinkwater and become a part of her fanciful family.

    - Google
  43. 643 . Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

    In a novel set in a small-town "Heaven," the rural Kentucky farmer-philosopher returns to his fictional Port William to explore themes of love, suffering, and joy. Reprint. 40,000 first printing.

    - Google
  44. 644 . Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

    Easy Rawlins, a tough World War II veteran and detective is hired by a financier and gangster to locate Daphne Monet, a search that leads him from elegant board meetings to the raucous jazz joints ...

    - Google
  45. 645 . Drown by Junot Diaz

    Originally published in 1997, Drown instantly garnered terrific acclaim. Moving from the barrios of the Dominican Republic to the struggling urban communities of New Jersey, these heartbreaking, co...

    - Google
  46. 646 . The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

    This is the story of Harry Crewe, the Homelander orphan girl who became Harimad- sol, King's Rider, and heir to the Blue Sword, Gonturan, that no woman had wielded since the Lady Aerin herself bore...

    - Google
  47. 647 . March by Geraldine Brooks

    Mr. March, an abolitionist and chaplain, is driven by his conscience to leave his home and family in Concord, Massachusetts in order to participate in the war. During this time, March writes letter...

  48. 648 . Victory Over Japan: A Book of Stories by Ellen Gilchrist

  49. 649 . Redeployment by Phil Klay

    Redeployment is a collection of short stories by American writer Phil Klay. His first published book, it won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle's 2014 Joh...

  50. 650 . Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

    Behold the Dreamers is the 2016 debut novel by Imbolo Mbue. The novel details the experiences of two New York City families during the 2008 financial crisis: an immigrant family from Cameroon, the ...