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. 751 . Levels of Life by Julian Barnes

    Part history, part fiction, part memoir, Levels of Life is a powerfully personal and unforgettable book, and an immediate classic on the subject of grief. Levels of Life opens in the nineteenth cen...

    - Google
  2. 752 . The Notebook: The Proof ; The Third Lie : Three Novels by Agota Kristof

    These three internationally acclaimed novels have confirmed Agota Kristof's reputation as one of the most provocative exponents of new-wave European fiction. With all the stark simplicity of a frac...

    - Google
  3. 753 . Human Chain by Seamus Heaney

    Human Chain (2010) is the twelfth and final poetry collection by Seamus Heaney, who received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. It won the Forward Poetry Prize Best Collection 2010 award, the Iris...

  4. 754 . Night Watch by Terry Pratchett

    Night Watch is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, the 29th book in his Discworld series, published in 2002. The protagonist of the novel is Sir Samuel Vimes, commander of the Ankh-M...

  5. 755 . On Beauty by Zadie Smith

    On Beauty is a 2005 novel by British author Zadie Smith. It takes its title from an essay by Elaine Scarry (On Beauty and Being Just). The story follows the lives of a mixed-race British/American f...

  6. 756 . Books of Blood by Clive Barker

    Five stories deal with an ax murderer, a race with death, a telekinetic killer, a terrifying demon, and a murderous ape.

    - Google
  7. 757 . Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

    Fates and Furies is a 2015 novel by American author Lauren Groff. It is Groff's third novel and fourth book. The book takes place in New York and examines how the different people in a relationship...

  8. 758 . Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

    Station Eleven is a 2014 novel by Emily St. John Mandel. It is Mandel's fourth novel. The novel takes place in the Great Lakes region after a fictional swine flu pandemic, known as the "Georgia Flu...

  9. 759 . The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

    The Silence of the Girls is a 2018 novel by English novelist Pat Barker. It recounts the events of the Iliad, chiefly from the point of view of Briseis.

  10. 760 . Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

    Haunted is a novel made up of stories: twenty-three of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales you'll ever encounter. They are told by the people who have all answered ...

    - Google
  11. 761 . Going Native by Stephen Wright

    This extraordinary work that was met with both critical and popular acclaim in hardcover reads like a frightening, resonant nineties version of Jack Kerouac'sOn The Road. Author Stephen Wright ...

  12. 762 . The Constant Gardener by John le Carré

    The Constant Gardener is a 2001 novel by British author John le Carré. The novel tells the story of Justin Quayle, a British diplomat whose activist wife is murdered. Believing there is something b...

  13. 763 . The Stories of Ray Bradbury by Ray Bradbury

    A volume of 100 top-selected stories by the iconic writer includes Martian tales, pieces inspired by life in Mexico and offbeat reminiscences of a childhood in Green Town, Illinois. By the National...

    - Google
  14. 764 . The Infatuations by Javier Marías

    The Infatuations (Spanish: Los enamoramientos) is a National Novel Prize-winning novel by Javier Marías, published in 2011. The translation into English by Margaret Jull Costa was published by Hami...

  15. 765 . Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller

    Notes on a Scandal (What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal in the U.S.) is a 2003 novel by Zoë Heller. It is about a female teacher at a London comprehensive school who begins an affair with an...

  16. 766 . Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

    Exit West is a 2017 novel by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid. It is Hamid's fourth novel. The main themes of the novel are emigration and refugee problems.The novel is about a young couple, Saeed and...

  17. 767 . Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

    Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead (Polish: Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych) is a 2009 novel by Olga Tokarczuk. Originally published in Polish by Wydawnictwo Literackie, it was later...

  18. 768 . Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera

    Signs Preceding the End of the World is one of the most arresting novels to be published in Spanish in the last ten years. Yuri Herrera does not simply write about the border between Mexico and the...

    - Google
  19. 769 . The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall

    On the windswept front of Morecambe Bay, Cy Parks spends his childhood years first in a guest house for consumptives run by his mother and then as apprentice to alcoholic tattoo-artist Eliot Riley....

    - Google
  20. 770 . Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

    Stories of Your Life and Others is a collection of short stories by American writer Ted Chiang originally published in 2002 by Tor Books. It collects Chiang's first eight stories. All of the storie...

  21. 771 . Ghostwritten by David Mitchell

    An apocalyptic cult member carries out a gas attack on a rush-hour metro, but what links him to a jazz buff in downtown Tokyo? Or to a Mongolian gangster, a woman on a holy mountain who talks to a ...

    - Google
  22. 772 . Harvest by Jim Crace

    Harvest is a novel by Jim Crace. Crace has stated that Harvest would be his final novel.Harvest was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize, short...

  23. 773 . Coraline by Neil Gaiman

    Coraline is a dark fantasy children's novella by British author Neil Gaiman, published in 2002 by Bloomsbury and Harper Collins. It was awarded the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novella, the 2003 Nebula...

  24. 774 . Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme

    Presents a collection of sixty short stories by twentieth-century American author Donald Barthelme.

    - Google
  25. 775 . Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick by Philip K. Dick

    Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick contains twenty-one of Dick’s most dazzling and resonant stories, which span his entire career and show a world-class writer working at the peak of his powers. In...

    - Google
  26. 776 . Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

    a breathtaking story of families divided, love lost and found, and the mysteries of fate.

    -
  27. 777 . That They May Face the Rising Sun by John McGahern

    Joe and Kate Ruttledge, have come to rural Ireland from London in search of a different life. In passages of beauty and truth, the drama of a year in their lives and those of the memorable characte...

  28. 778 . Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck

    A bestseller in Germany, Visitation has established Jenny Erpenbeck as one of Europe’s most significant contemporary authors. A house on the forested bank of a Brandenburg lake outside Berlin (once...

    - Google
  29. 779 . Light by M. John Harrison

    The stories of three people--modern-day Michael Kearney who plays a part in a discovery that will make interstellar travel possible; Seria Mau Genlicher, a spaceship pilot modified to interact dire...

    - Google
  30. 780 . The Siege by Helen Dunmore

    The Siege is a historical novel by the English writer Helen Dunmore. It is set in Leningrad just before and during the Siege of Leningrad by German forces in World War II.

  31. 781 . The Accidental by Ali Smith

    The Accidental is a 2005 novel by Scottish author Ali Smith. It follows a middle-class English family who are visited by an uninvited guest, Amber, while they are on holiday in a small village in N...

  32. 782 . Darkmans by Nicola Barker

    Darkmans is a novel by Nicola Barker written in 2007. The 838 page book takes place in Ashford, in Kent and focuses on a father-son pair named Daniel and Kane Beede. The book was a finalist for the...

  33. 783 . A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

    A Little Life is a 2015 novel by American novelist Hanya Yanagihara. The novel was written over the course of eighteen months. Despite the length and difficult subject matter it became a bestseller.

  34. 784 . Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou

    "A man sits in a bar, ruminating on his own failures and conversing with an ensemble of memorable characters that pass in and out of the same space. It’s archetypal stuff, but Mabanckou transforms ...

    - Google
  35. 785 . No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

    Llewelyn Moss, hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, stumbles upon a transaction gone horribly wrong. Finding bullet-ridden bodies, several kilos of heroin, and a caseload of cash, he faces a choic...

    - Google
  36. 786 . The Statement by Brian Moore

    The hunt is on for an elusive Nazi war criminal in this “absorbing intellectual thriller that keeps you guessing . . . until the final page” (The New York Times). For four decades Pierre Brossard h...

    - Google
  37. 787 . Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver

    Where I'm Calling From is a short story and the title of a collection of thirty-seven short stories by American author Raymond Carver. This story, as well as many of his others, focuses on the effe...

  38. 788 . Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy

    Cities of the Plain is the final volume of American novelist Cormac McCarthy's "The Border Trilogy." A film adaptation to be directed by Andrew Dominik has been announced for release in 2012. The t...

  39. 789 . The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    "Gabriel García Márquez meets Umberto Eco meets Jorge Luis Borges for a sprawling magic show." --The New York Times Book Review A New York Times Bestseller Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in t...

    - Google
  40. 790 . The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy

    The Crossing (ISBN 0-394-57475-3) is a novel by prize-winning American author Cormac McCarthy, published in 1994 by Alfred A. Knopf. The story is the second installment of McCarthy's "Border Trilogy".

  41. 791 . Betty Blue: The Story of a Passion by Philippe Djian

    BETTY BLUE remains a cult book and film nearly twenty years since its first outing. The extraordinary story of an erotic, doomed love affair has transfixed hundreds of thousands of readers around t...

    - Google
  42. 792 . Alberta empfängt einen Liebhaber by Birgit Vanderbeke

    no translation. Original is in German

    - Google
  43. 793 . Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood

    Cat's Eye is the story of Elaine Risley, a controversial painter who returns to Toronto, the city of her youth, for a retrospective of her art. Engulfed by vivid images of the past, she reminisces ...

    - Google
  44. 794 . South of the Border, West of the Sun: A Novel by Haruki Murakami

    Following the massive complexity of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle--Haruki Murakami's best-selling, award-winning novel--comes this deceptively simple love story, a contemporary rendering of the romanc...

    - Google
  45. 795 . Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

    Little Fires Everywhere is a 2017 novel by American author Celeste Ng. It is her second novel and takes place in Shaker Heights, Ohio where Ng grew up. She described writing about her hometown as "...

  46. 796 . The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

    The Secret Scripture is a 2008 novel written by Irish playwright Sebastian Barry.

  47. 797 . Clockers by Richard Price

    Clockers is a 1992 novel by American author Richard Price.

  48. 798 . Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is the first novel by British writer Susanna Clarke. An alternate history set in 19th-century England around the time of the Napoleonic Wars, it is based on the premis...

  49. 799 . Circe by Madeline Miller

    "A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess's story," this #1 New York Times bestseller is "both epic and intimate in its scope, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a ...

    - Google
  50. 800 . Masterworks of the Classical Haida Mythtellers by Robert Bringhurst

    Robert Bringhurst (born October 16, 1946) is a Canadian poet, typographer and author. He is the author of The Elements of Typographic Style – a reference book of typefaces, glyphs and the visual an...