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. 851 . The Age of Wire and String by Ben Marcus

    In The Age of Wire and String Ben Marcus welds together a new reality from the scrapheap of the past. Dogs, birds, horses, automobiles, and the weather are some of the recycled elements in Marcus's...

    - Google
  2. 852 . Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

    Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a collection of short stories by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

  3. 853 . Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken

    A sweeping and enchanting new novel from the widely beloved, award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken about three generations of an unconventional New England family who own and operate a candlepin...

    - Google
  4. 854 . War Music by Christopher Logue

  5. 855 . The Damned Utd by David Peace

    The Damned Utd is a novel by British author David Peace which presents a fictionalised account of Brian Clough's brief spell as manager of Leeds United football club in 1974.

  6. 856 . Matilda by Roald Dahl

    Matilda is a book by British writer Roald Dahl. It was published in 1988 by Jonathan Cape in London, with 232 pages and illustrations by Quentin Blake. It was adapted as an audio reading by actress...

  7. 857 . A Sight for Sore Eyes by Ruth Rendell

    A Sight For Sore Eyes is a psychological thriller by British crime-writer Ruth Rendell.

  8. 858 . An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

    An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is a novel by Hank Green. It was published on September 25, 2018, and is Green's debut novel. Announced on September 19, 2017, the novel is the first of a two-book deal.

  9. 859 . Collected Poems of Michael Donaghy by Michael Donaghy

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  10. 860 . The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

    Severian is a torturer, born to the guild and with an exceptionally promising career ahead of him . . . until he falls in love with one of his victims, a beautiful young noblewoman. Her excruciatio...

    - Google
  11. 861 . The Sword of the Lictor by Gene Wolfe

    Banished for the sin of mercy, Severian, one of the ancient guild of Torturers, flees from exile. In a mountain wilderness Severian, the disgraced apprentice torturer, has reached his place of exil...

    - Google
  12. 862 . The Claw Of The Conciliator by Gene Wolfe

    The torturer Severian continues his journey of exile to the city Thrax, carrying with him the ancient executioner's sword and the Claw of the Conciliator, a gem of extraterrestrial power and beauty...

    - Google
  13. 863 . The Citadel of the Autarch by Gene Wolfe

    Severian the Torturer continues his epic journey across the lands of Urth, carrying with him the Claw of the Conciliator and the great sword, Terminus Est. All his travels are leading towards a des...

    - Google
  14. 864 . The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

    “A gripping American-on-the-run thriller . . . a brilliant coming-of-age tale and a touching exploration of father-daughter relationships.”—Newsweek “One part Quentin Tarantino, one part Scheheraza...

    - Google
  15. 865 . Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney

    Bright Lights, Big City is a novel by the American author Jay McInerney, published by Vintage on 12 August 1984.

  16. 866 . The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud

    The Emperor's Children is a 2006 novel by the American author Claire Messud. The author's third—and her first best-seller—it was longlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize.

  17. 867 . The Tunnel by William H. Gass

    "Gass has produced a book that burrows inside us then wails like a beast, a book that mainlines a century's terror direct to the brain."-Voice Literary Supplement

    - Google
  18. 868 . Born Yesterday by Gordon Burn

  19. 869 . Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

    Who Fears Death is a science fantasy novel by Nigerian-American writer Nnedi Okorafor, published in 2010 by DAW, an imprint of Penguin Books. It was awarded the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best No...

  20. 870 . Darconville's Cat by Alexander Theroux

    The conflicts between love and hate, good and evil, and life and art are explored in a portrait of Alaric Darconville, a twenty-nine-year-old professor at Quinsy College--a women's college in Virgi...

    - Google
  21. 871 . Holes by Louis Sachar

    Holes is a Newbery Medal-winning novel by Louis Sachar.

  22. 872 . The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie

    The Enchantress of Florence is a novel by Salman Rushdie published in 2008. According to Rushdie this is his "most researched book" which required "Years and years of reading".

  23. 873 . An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

    An Untamed State is the debut novel of writer Roxane Gay, first published in 2014 by Grove Atlantic.

  24. 874 . A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham

    From Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours, comes this widely praised novel of two boyhood friends: Jonathan, lonely, introspective, and unsure of himself; and Bobby, h...

    - Google
  25. 875 . Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

    Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned is a short story collection by the American writer Wells Tower. It was published to excellent reviews, including by Michiko Kakutani and Edmund Wilson. Kakutan...

  26. 876 . The Ruins by Scott Smith

    The Ruins is the second novel by American author Scott Smith, whose first novel was A Simple Plan. The Ruins is a horror story set on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It was released on July 18, 2006 (I...

  27. 877 . You Bright and Risen Angels by William T. Vollmann

    This comic and surreal novel about the beastliness and pain in the world focuses on the stories of assorted young American misfits, reactionaries and revolutionaries, young lovers, and raging old t...

    - Google
  28. 878 . Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx

    Close Range: Wyoming Stories is a 1999 collection of short stories written by E. Annie Proulx. The stories are set in the desolate landscape of rural Wyoming and detail the often grim lives of the ...

  29. 879 . Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

    Anything Is Possible is a 2017 novel of related stories by Elizabeth Strout. It returns to the fictional rural town of Amgash, Illinois, the protagonist's hometown in Strout's 2016 novel My Name Is...

  30. 880 . My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

    My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a 2018 novel by American author Ottessa Moshfegh. Moshfegh's second novel, it is set in New York City in 2000 and 2001 and follows an unnamed protagonist as she gr...

  31. 881 . The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

    Named a best book of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Time, and The Chicago Tribune, and named a notable book by The New York Times Book Review and The Washington Post “Remarkable . . . With this ...

    - Google
  32. 882 . Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

    Presumed Innocent, published in 1987, is Scott Turow's first novel, which tells the story of a prosecutor charged with the murder of his colleague. It is told in the first person by the accused, Ru...

  33. 883 . District and Circle by Seamus Heaney

    District and Circle (2006) is a collection of poems written by Irish Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney. It is the poet's most recent volume, published forty years after his debut Death of a Naturalist, ...

  34. 884 . The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a 2013 novel by British author Neil Gaiman. The work was first published on 18 June 2013 through William Morrow and Company and follows an unnamed man who return...

  35. 885 . The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall

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  36. 886 . Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman

    Kaaterskill Falls is a 1998 novel by Allegra Goodman, set in a small Catskill Mountains, New York, USA, community of predominantly Orthodox Jews during summers in the mid-1970s.

  37. 887 . The Emperor's Babe by Bernardine Evaristo

  38. 888 . Sudden Death by Alvaro Enrigue

    A 1599 Roman tennis match between the Italian painter Caravaggio and the Spanish poet Quevedo represents the way the world changed in their times, in a novel that goes from the execution of Anne Bo...

    - Google
  39. 889 . Easy Travel to Other Planets by Ted Mooney

  40. 890 . Tours of the Black Clock by Steve Erickson

    The course of a century is rewritten in this fabulously warped odyssey, named a best book of the year by the New York Times Tours of the Black Clock is a wild dream of the twentieth century as told...

    - Google
  41. 891 . Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

    Flight Behavior is a 2012 novel by Barbara Kingsolver. It is her seventh novel, is a New York Times Bestseller, and was declared "Best book of the year" by the Washington Post and USA Today.

  42. 892 . In Memoriam to Identity by Kathy Acker

    Kathy Acker's characteristically outrageous, lyrical, and hyperinventive novel concerns three characters who share an impulse toward self-immolation through doomed, obsessive romance. Teetering som...

    - Google
  43. 893 . Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

    Practical Magic is a novel by Alice Hoffman which was made into a film of the same name. The novel was published by Vintage Books in 1996.

  44. 894 . The Lost Leader by Mick Imlah

    Michael Ogilvie Imlah (26 September 1956 – 12 January 2009), better known as Mick Imlah, was a Scottish poet and editor.

  45. 895 . The Position by Meg Wolitzer

    The Position: A Novel (ISBN 0-7432-6178-X) is a 2005 novel by Meg Wolitzer. It tells the story of a book titled Pleasuring: One Couple's Journey to Fulfillment and the effects it has on a family.

  46. 896 . Hogg by Samuel Delany

    The classic and controversial novel made available again; Acclaimed winner of the William Whitehead Memorial Award for a lifetime's contribution to gay and lesbian literature, bestselling and award...

    - Google
  47. 897 . Fools of Fortune by William Trevor

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  48. 898 . Falling in Place by Ann Beattie

  49. 899 . A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

    A God in Ruins, the ninth novel by Kate Atkinson, was published in 2015. The main character, Teddy Todd is the younger brother of Ursula Todd, the protagonist in Atkinson's 2013 novel, Life After L...

  50. 900 . CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders