Saturday, June 20, 2020

All Time Best Books: Top 100

First posted 5/26/2018; updated 6/20/2020.

All-Time Books:

Top 100

Inspired by the 2018 PBS special The Great American Read, I assembled more than 170 best-of-books lists (see sources here) and aggregated them to create one master list of the all-time books. While these are mostly novels, there are some non-fiction books and even a few children’s picture books. Here are the results:

  1. Various writers The Holy Bible: King James Version (1451)
  2. Mao Zedong Quotations from Mao Tse-tung (1966)
  3. J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
  4. F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby (1925)
  5. Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote (1615)
  6. Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
  7. George Orwell 1984 (1949)
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings (trilogy: 1954-55)
  9. Vladimir Nabokov Lolita (1955)
  10. Lewis Carroll Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

  11. James Joyce Ulysses (1922)
  12. Joseph Heller Catch-22 (1961)
  13. John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
  14. Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)
  15. Leo Tolstoy War and Peace (1869)
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit (1937)
  17. E.B. White Charlotte’s Web (1952)
  18. Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre (1847)
  19. Herman Melville Moby-Dick (1851)
  20. J.K. Rowling Harry Potter (series, 1997-2007)

  21. Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice (1813)
  22. William Golding Lord of the Flies (1954)
  23. Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)
  24. C.S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
  25. Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness (1899)
  26. Margaret Mitchell Gone with the Wind (1936)
  27. Homer The Odyssey (800 B.C.)
  28. Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights (1847)
  29. Toni Morrison Beloved (1987)
  30. Jack Kerouac On the Road (1957)

  31. Aldous Huxley Brave New World (1932)
  32. George Orwell Animal Farm (1954)
  33. Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina (1877)
  34. Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment (1866)
  35. Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl (aka The Diary of Anne Frank) (1947)
  36. William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury (1929)
  37. Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
  38. Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
  39. Ernest Hemingway The Sun Also Rises (1926)
  40. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) (1943)

  41. Homer The Iliad (800 B.C.)
  42. Muhammad Quran (632 A.D.)
  43. Louisa May Alcott Little Women (1869)
  44. Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
  45. Charles Dickens Great Expectations (1861)
  46. Dante Alighieri Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy) (1304)
  47. Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky The Brothers Karamazov (1880)
  48. Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary (1857)
  49. Alice Walker The Color Purple (1982)
  50. Ralph Ellison Invisible Man (1952)

  51. Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
  52. Mary Shelley Frankenstein (1818)
  53. Jonathan Swift Gulliver’s Travels (1726)
  54. George Eliot Middlemarch, a Study of Provincial Life (1872)
  55. Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse (1927)
  56. Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter (1850)
  57. William Grahame The Wind in the Willows (1908)
  58. Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are (1964)
  59. A.A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
  60. Ernest Hemingway For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)

  61. Charles Dickens David Copperfield (1850)
  62. James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)
  63. L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables (1908)
  64. Richard Adams Watership Down (1972)
  65. Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale (1986)
  66. John Steinbeck Of Mice and Men (1937)
  67. Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange (1962)
  68. Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962)
  69. Jack London The Call of the Wild (1903)
  70. Daphne Du Maurier Rebecca (1938)

  71. Frank Herbert Dune (1965)
  72. Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart (1958)
  73. Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince (1532)
  74. Marcel Proust In Search of Lost Time (1913)
  75. Salman Rushdie Midnight’s Children (1981)
  76. Georges Simenon Maigret (series, 1931-1972)
  77. Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged (1957)
  78. Albert Camus The Stranger (1942)
  79. Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
  80. Charles Darwin The Origin of Species (1859)

  81. Victor Hugo Les Misérables (1862)
  82. Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury Tales (1387)
  83. Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island (1883)
  84. Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe (1719)
  85. Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea (1952)
  86. Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
  87. William Faulkner As I Lay Dying (1930)
  88. Lois Lowry The Giver (1994)
  89. Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo (1844)
  90. Henry David Thoreau Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854)

  91. Madeleine L’Engle A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
  92. Paulo Coelho O Alquimista (The Alchemist) (1987)
  93. Franz Kafka The Trial (1925)
  94. Plato The Republic (380 B.C.)
  95. Roald Dahl Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
  96. Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence (1920)
  97. Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (1855)
  98. Richard Wright Native Son (1940)
  99. Rachel Carson Silent Spring (1962)
  100. Truman Capote In Cold Blood (1966)

Resources and Related Links:

3 comments:

  1. I assume that the KJV & Quotations have more points than anything else in all 3 of the databases.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure what you mean by "all 3 of the databases." As mentioned above, more than 170 lists were aggregated to create this list. However, the Bible and Quotations are hugely aided by sales figures of more than 6 billion each, compared to the Quran in third place with 800 million sales. If based only on list appearances, the Bible ranks 43rd with 34 list appearances and Quotations ranks only 370th with just eight list appearances.

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    2. Well, in the movie & music database you said you assigned points to each item. Since The Bible & Quotations have such a huge number of sales, I'd imagine they'd have a huge number of points.

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