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. 801 . Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

    Mystic River is a novel by Dennis Lehane that was published in 2001. It won the 2002 Dilys Award and was made into an Academy Award-winning film in 2003.

  2. 802 . Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan

    Uwem Akpan, born the 19 May 1971, is a Nigerian Jesuit priest and the author of Say You’re One of Them (2008), a collection of five stories (each set in a different African country) published by Li...

  3. 803 . Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

    Swamplandia! is a 2011 novel by Karen Russell. Set in the Ten Thousand Islands, off the southwest coast of Florida, it is the story of the Bigtree family of alligator wrestlers who live on Swamplan...

  4. 804 . Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates

    Black Water is a 1992 novella by Joyce Carol Oates.

  5. 805 . The Leavers by Lisa Ko

    Lisa Ko is an American writer. Her debut novel, The Leavers, won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction. She has ...

  6. 806 . The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

    The Way of Kings is an epic fantasy novel written by American author Brandon Sanderson and the first book in The Stormlight Archive series. The novel was published on August 31, 2010 by Tor Books. ...

  7. 807 . The Rifles by William T. Vollmann

    When Sir John Franklin defies the warnings of native peoples and embarks on his fourth Arctic voyage in the 1840s, his journey ends in tragedy in a novel of America's ongoing tragedy of greed, igno...

    - Google
  8. 808 . Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

    Wolf in White Van is the first novel by the American author and singer-songwriter John Darnielle. Wolf in White Van tells the story of Sean Phillips, a reclusive game designer whose face has been s...

  9. 809 . The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel by Amy Hempel

    Amy Hempel (born December 14, 1951) is an American short story writer, journalist, and university professor at Brooklyn College.

  10. 810 . The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    The Water Dancer is a 2019 novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It is his first novel and was published on September 24, 2019, by One World, an imprint of Random House. It is a surrealist story set in the pr...

  11. 811 . The Arrival by Shaun Tan

  12. 812 . The Stain: A Novel by Rikki Ducornet

    In The Stain Rikki Ducornet tells the story of a young girl named Charlotte, branded with a furry birthmark in the shape of a dancing hare, regarded as the mark of Satan. "Sadistic nuns, scatology,...

    - Google
  13. 813 . The Jade Cabinet by Rikki Ducornet

    Continues the author's "Tetrology of the Elements" with an air-themed novel set in Victorian England

    - Google
  14. 814 . The Fountains of Neptune by Rikki Ducornet

    A lyrical exploration of memory and imagination. "My sleep began in the spring of 1914. I slept through both World Wars and the tainted calm between. It was as if I had been cursed by an evil fairy...

    - Google
  15. 815 . Entering Fire by Rikki Ducornet

    This startling and brilliantly comic novel tells the stories of two men: a father and his estranged son. Lamprias de Bergerac is a gentle mystic and amateur botanist who spends his middle-aged year...

  16. 816 . Count Zero by William Gibson

    In the future world of the Sprawl, an urban complex that extends from Boston to Houston, a sentient computer data base known as the Cyberspace matrix dominates humanity's fate

    - Google
  17. 817 . How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

    How I Live Now is a young adult novel by Meg Rosoff, first published in 2004. The book won three notable awards including the Michael L. Printz Award and received generally positive reviews.

  18. 818 . Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson

    William Gibson, author of the extraordinary multiaward-winning novel Neuromancer, has written his most brilliant and thrilling work to date . . .The Mona Lisa Overdrive. Enter Gibson's unique world...

    - Google
  19. 819 . William Trevor: The Collected Stories by William Trevor

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  20. 820 . The Eye in the Door by Pat Barker

    The Eye in the Door is the second novel in Pat Barker's classic Regeneration trilogy. WINNER OF THE 1993 GUARDIAN FICTION PRIZE. London, 1918. Billy Prior is working for Intelligence in the Ministr...

    - Google
  21. 821 . The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    The Night Circus is a 2011 fantasy novel by Erin Morgenstern. It was originally written for the annual writing competition NaNoWriMo over the span of three NaNoWriMos. The novel has a nonlinear nar...

  22. 822 . Runaway by Alice Munro

    Runaway is a book of short stories by Alice Munro. First published in 2004 by McClelland and Stewart, it was awarded that year's Giller Prize.

  23. 823 . The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

    The House on Mango Street is a coming-of-age novel by Mexican-American writer Sandra Cisneros, published in 1984. It deals with a young Latina girl, Esperanza Cordero, growing up in the Chicago Chi...

  24. 824 . Thursbitch by Alan Garner

    Thursbitch is a novel by English writer Alan Garner, named after the valley in the Pennines of England where the action occurs (also listed in the 1841 OS map as "Thursbatch"). It was published in ...

  25. 825 . Swing Time by Zadie Smith

    Swing Time is a novel by British writer Zadie Smith, released in November 2016. The story takes place in London, New York and West Africa, and focuses on two girls who can tap dance.

  26. 826 . Eva Luna by Isabel Allende

    Eva Luna is a novel written by Chilean novelist Isabel Allende in 1985 and translated from Spanish to English by Margaret Sayers Peden. Eva Luna takes us into the life of the eponymous protagonist,...

  27. 827 . The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

    The Wise Man's Fear, also called The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two, is a fantasy novel written by American author Patrick Rothfuss and the second volume in The Kingkiller Chronicle. It was publish...

  28. 828 . Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

    Commonwealth is the seventh novel by American author Ann Patchett, published in 2016. The novel begins with an illicit kiss that leads to an affair that destroys two marriages and creates a relucta...

  29. 829 . The Ghost by Robert Harris

    The Ghost is a contemporary political thriller by the best-selling English novelist and journalist Robert Harris.

  30. 830 . The Destroyers by Christopher Bollen

    When Charlie and I were young, we played a game called Destroyers. . . . We were sharpening our instincts, jettisoning attachments. We were honing strategies for survival. . . . Arriving on the Gre...

    - Google
  31. 831 . Youth by J M Coetzee

    Youth (or Youth: Scenes from Provincial Life II) (2002) is a semi-fictionalised autobiographical novel by J. M. Coetzee, recounting his struggles in 1960s London after fleeing the political unrest ...

  32. 832 . Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan

  33. 833 . Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

    The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness is a series of fantasy books by Michelle Paver, her first books for children. Set 6000 years ago in the pre-agricultural Stone Age, the Chronicles are about a boy...

  34. 834 . Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

    Boy, Snow, Bird is a 2014 novel by British author Helen Oyeyemi. The novel, Oyeyemi's fifth, was a loose retelling of the fairytale Snow White. Oyeyemi also cited the novel Passing as an inspiratio...

  35. 835 . The Night Manager by John le Carré

    The Night Manager is an espionage/detective novel by John le Carré, published in 1993. It is his first post-Cold War novel, detailing an undercover operation to nab an international criminal.

  36. 836 . If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor

    If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things is author Jon McGregor's first novel, first published by Bloomsbury in 2002. It centres around a day in the life of a suburban British street, with the plot al...

  37. 837 . The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride

    The Lesser Bohemians is the second novel by Eimear McBride. It was published on 1 September 2016 and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 2017.

  38. 838 . Fleshmarket Close by Ian Rankin

    Fleshmarket Close is a 2004 crime novel by Ian Rankin, and is named after a real close off Edinburgh's Cockburn Street. It is the fifteenth of the Inspector Rebus novels. "Fleshmarket" is the Scots...

  39. 839 . Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin

    Ursula K. Le Guin's Always Coming Home is a major work of the imagination from one of America's most respected writers. More than five years in creation, it is a novel unlike any other. A rich and ...

    - Google
  40. 840 . Drop City by T. Coraghessan Boyle

    Drop City is a 2003 novel by American author T. Coraghessan Boyle. The novel describes the social evolution of a group of free spirits, not unlike the inhabitants of the real Drop City in Colorado....

  41. 841 . Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

    "Gorgeous, moving…A story of love—romantic and familial—and alienation, grief and triumph, disaster and surviva." —Nylon "For those still mourning the loss of Toni Morrison, it’s essential that you...

    - Google
  42. 842 . Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat

    Krik? Krak! (ISBN 0-679-76657-X) is a book written by Edwidge Danticat. It consists of nine short stories plus an epilogue. The stories are tied together by similar plots of struggle and survival w...

  43. 843 . Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

    Eileen is a 2015 novel by Ottessa Moshfegh, published by Penguin Press. It is Moshfegh's first novel.In September 2016, it was shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.

  44. 844 . Staying Alive by Neil Astley

  45. 845 . Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

    ‘Walker is my name and I am the same. Riddley Walker. Walking my riddels where ever theyve took me and walking them now on this paper the same. There aint that many sir prizes in life if you take n...

    - Google
  46. 846 . The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

    The Poppy War is a 2018 novel by R. F. Kuang, published by Harper Voyager. The Poppy War, a grimdark fantasy, draws its plot and politics from mid-20th-century China, with the conflict in the novel...

  47. 847 . The Kindly One by Jonathan Littell

    The Kindly Ones (French: Les Bienveillantes) is a novel, in the form of historical fiction, written in French by the American-born author Jonathan Littell. It tells the story of a former SS officer...

  48. 848 . The PowerBook by Jeanette Winterson

  49. 849 . Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins

    SKINNY LEGS AND ALL: An Arab and a Jew open a restaurant together across the street from the United Nations.... It sounds like the beginning of an ethnic joke, but it's the axis around which spins ...

    - Google
  50. 850 . The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon

    The Incendiaries is a 2018 novel by R. O. Kwon, published by Riverhead Books. The novel was inspired by Kwon's own loss of faith in God at the age of 17, and it took her 10 years to finish.The nove...