Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The All-Time Top 100 Works of Fiction

First posted 6/26/2018; updated 2/20/2019.

image from theguardiancom

These are the best fiction books of all-time, according to an aggregate of more than 20 lists focused specifically on fiction books and another 50+ general book lists.

Note: this list was originally posted in June 2018 and that version was used as the springboard for the Classic Novels Book Club. Check out the original list here.

  1. J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
  2. Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
  3. F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby (1925)
  4. Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote (1615)
  5. George Orwell 1984 (1949)
  6. Vladimir Nabokov Lolita (1955)
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings (trilogy: 1954-55)
  8. Lewis Carroll Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
  9. Joseph Heller Catch-22 (1961)
  10. John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

  11. E.B. White Charlotte’s Web (1952)
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit (1937)
  13. James Joyce Ulysses (1922)
  14. Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)
  15. Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre (1847)
  16. Leo Tolstoy War and Peace (1869)
  17. William Golding Lord of the Flies (1954)
  18. J.K. Rowling Harry Potter (series, 1997-2007)
  19. Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)
  20. Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights (1847)

  21. Herman Melville Moby-Dick (1851)
  22. C.S. Lewis The Chronicles of Narnia (series, 1950-1956)
  23. Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice (1813)
  24. Margaret Mitchell Gone with the Wind (1936)
  25. Toni Morrison Beloved (1987)
  26. Jack Kerouac On the Road (1957)
  27. Homer The Odyssey (800 B.C.)
  28. Aldous Huxley Brave New World (1932)
  29. George Orwell Animal Farm (1954)
  30. Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness (1899)

  31. Ernest Hemingway The Sun Also Rises (1926)
  32. Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment (1866)
  33. Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
  34. Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
  35. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince (1943)
  36. Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina (1877)
  37. William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury (1929)
  38. Louisa May Alcott Little Women (1869)
  39. Charles Dickens Great Expectations (1861)
  40. Alice Walker The Color Purple (1982)

  41. Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
  42. Homer The Iliad (800 B.C.)
  43. Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse (1927)
  44. William Grahame The Wind in the Willows (1908)
  45. Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
  46. Jonathan Swift Gulliver’s Travels (1726)
  47. Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary (1857)
  48. George Eliot Middlemarch, a Study of Provincial Life (1872)
  49. Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter (1850)
  50. Ralph Ellison Invisible Man (1952)

  51. Jack London The Call of the Wild (1903)
  52. A.A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
  53. Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky The Brothers Karamazov (1880)
  54. L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables (1908)
  55. Mary Shelley Frankenstein (1818)
  56. Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart (1958)
  57. Ernest Hemingway For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)
  58. James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)
  59. Salman Rushdie Midnight’s Children (1981)
  60. John Steinbeck Of Mice and Men (1937)

  61. Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962)
  62. Richard Adams Watership Down (1972)
  63. Dante Alighieri Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy) (1304)
  64. Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange (1962)
  65. Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe (1719)
  66. Albert Camus The Stranger (1942)
  67. Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged (1957)
  68. Charles Dickens David Copperfield (1850)
  69. Frank Herbert Dune (1965)
  70. Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)

  71. Lois Lowry The Giver (1994)
  72. Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale (1986)
  73. Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
  74. Daphne Du Maurier Rebecca (1938)
  75. William Faulkner As I Lay Dying (1930)
  76. Paulo Coelho O Alquimista (The Alchemist) (1987)
  77. Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence (1920)
  78. Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea (1952)
  79. Richard Wright Native Son (1940)
  80. S.E. Hinton The Outsiders (1967)

  81. E.M. Forster A Passage to India (1924)
  82. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1887)
  83. Frances Hodgson Burnett The Secret Garden (1987)
  84. Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo (1844)
  85. Marcel Proust In Search of Lost Time (1913)
  86. Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island (1883)
  87. Victor Hugo Les Misérables (1862)
  88. John Bunyan The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678)
  89. Virginia Woolf Mrs. Dalloway (1925)
  90. John Irving A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989)

  91. Francois-Marie de Voltaire Candide (1759)
  92. Jane Austen Emma (1816)
  93. Ernest Hemingway A Farewell to Arms (1929)
  94. Alexandre Dumas The Three Musketeers (1844)
  95. Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar (1963)
  96. Markus Zusak The Book Thief (2005)
  97. Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
  98. William Makepeace Thackeray Vanity Fair (1848)
  99. Franz Kafka The Trial (1925)
  100. Stephen King The Stand (1978)

These titles were on the previous list, which was posted in June 2018 and used as the springboard for the Classic Novels Book Club. Check out the original list here.
  • James Baldwin Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953)
  • Thomas Hardy Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891)
  • Henry James Portrait of a Lady (1881)
  • Thomas Pynchon Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)
  • Laurence Sterne The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (1759)
  • Evelyn Waugh Brideshead Revisited (1945)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Young Adult Books: Top 50

First posted 2/19/2019.

image from studybreaks.com

These are the top 50 young adult books based on an aggregate of titles’ appearances on a dozen lists specific to young adult books, 25+ general children’s book lists, and another 50+ general book lists.

You can also check out Writ by Whit’s aggregated lists of the top children’s novels here and top children’s picture books here.

  1. J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit (1937)
  2. Lois Lowry The Giver (1994)
  3. Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games (trilogy: 2008-10)
  4. S.E. Hinton The Outsiders (1968)
  5. Philip Pullman His Dark Materials (trilogy: 1995-2000)
  6. Gary Paulsen Hatchet (1987)
  7. Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
  8. Judy Blume Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret (1972)
  9. Markus Zusak The Book Thief (2005)
  10. John Green Looking for Alaska (2005)

  11. Mark Haddon The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003)
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings (trilogy: 1954-55)
  13. William Golding Lord of the Flies (1954)
  14. J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
  15. Ursula K. Le Guin The Earthsea Cycle (series: 1968-2001)
  16. Sherman Alexie The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2007)
  17. Rick Riordan Percy Jackson & the Olympians (series: 2005-09)
  18. Ellen Raskin The Westing Game (1978)
  19. Neil Gaiman The Graveyard Book (2009)
  20. Jack London The Call of the Wild (1903)

  21. Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)
  22. Stephen Chbosky The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999)
  23. John Green The Fault in Our Stars (2012)
  24. Orscon Scott Card Ender’s Game (1968)
  25. Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl (aka The Diary of Anne Frank) (1947)
  26. Richard Adams Watership Down (1972)
  27. Meg Rosoff How I Live Now (2004)
  28. Judy Blume Forever… (1975)
  29. Diana Wynne Jones Howl’s Moving Castle (1986)
  30. Laurie Anderson Speak (2011)

  31. Christopher Paolini Eragon (2003)
  32. Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
  33. William Goldman The Princess Bride (1973)
  34. Gene Luen Yang American Born Chinese (2006)
  35. T.H. White The Sword in the Stone (1938)
  36. Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice (1813)
  37. Patrick Ness A Monster Calls (2011)
  38. Veronica Roth Divergent (series: 2011-13)
  39. anonymous Go Ask Alice (1976)
  40. Scott Westerfeld Uglies (trilogy: 2005-06)

  41. Stephenie Meyer Twilight Saga (series: 2005-09)
  42. Jay Asher Thirteen Reasons Why (2011)
  43. Walter Dean Myers Fallen Angels (1988)
  44. Paul Zindel The Pigman (1968)
  45. Robert Cormier The Chocolate War (1986)
  46. Nancy Farmer The House of the Scorpion (2004)
  47. Malorie Blackman Noughts and Crosses (2001)
  48. Gail Garson Levine Ella Enchanted (1997)
  49. Cynthia Voigt Homecoming (1981)
  50. Sarah Dessen Just Listen (2006)

Children’s Novels: Top 50

First posted 2/19/2019.

image from aol.com

These are the top 50 children’s books based on an aggregate of titles’ appearances on 25+ general children’s book lists, and another 50+ general book lists. You can also see a list of top children’s picture books here.

  1. Lewis Carroll Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)/Through the Looking Glass (1871)
  2. E.B. White Charlotte’s Web (1952)
  3. J.K. Rowling Harry Potter (series, 1997-2007)
  4. C.S. Lewis The Chronicles of Narnia (series: 1950-1956)
  5. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince (1943)
  6. Louisa May Alcott Little Women (1869)
  7. Jonathan Swift Gulliver’s Travels (1726)
  8. William Grahame The Wind in the Willows (1908)
  9. L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables (1908)
  10. A.A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)/House at Pooh Corner (1928)

  11. Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe (1719)
  12. Roald Dahl Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
  13. Madeleine L’Engle A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
  14. Frances Hodgson Burnett The Secret Garden (1987)
  15. Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island (1883)
  16. Alexandre Dumas The Three Musketeers (1844)
  17. Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
  18. anonymous/translated by Andrew Lang Arabian Nights (aka “One Thousand and One Nights”) (800 AD)
  19. Katherine Paterson Bridge to Terabithia (1978)
  20. Anna Sewel Black Beauty (1877)

  21. Charles Dickens Oliver Twist (1838)
  22. Jeff Kinney Diary of a Wimpy Kid (series: 2007-present)
  23. Johanna Spyri Heidi (1880)
  24. Roald Dahl Matilda (1988)
  25. Louis Sachar Holes (1999)
  26. Norton Juster The Phantom Tollbooth (1961)
  27. L. Frank Baum The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
  28. Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House on the Prairie (series: 1932-71)
  29. Astrid Lindgren Pippi Longstocking (1945)
  30. Jakob & Wilhelm Grimm Grimm’s Fairy Tales (1812)

  31. Lois Lowry Number the Stars (1990)
  32. J.M. Barrie Peter Pan (aka “Peter and Wendy”) (1911)
  33. Wilson Rawls Where the Red Fern Grows (1974)
  34. Mildred D. Taylor Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1977)
  35. Esther Forbes Johnny Tremain (1944)
  36. Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book (1894)
  37. E.L. Konigsburg From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1967)
  38. Elizabeth George Speare The Witch of Blackbird Pond (1959)
  39. Roald Dahl The BFG (1982)
  40. Roald Dahl James and the Giant Peach (1988)

  41. Lemony Snicket (pseudonym for Daneil Handler) A Series of Unfortunate Events (series: 1999-2006)
  42. Scott O’Dell Island of the Blue Dolphins (1961)
  43. Brian Selznick The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)
  44. Natalie Babbit Tuck Everlasting (1975)
  45. Rbert C. O’Brien Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (1971)
  46. Kate DiCamillo Because of Winn-Dixie (2000)
  47. Louise Fitzhugh Harriet the Spy (1964)
  48. Patricia MacLachlan Sarah, Plain and Tall (1986)
  49. E.B. White Stuart Little (1945)
  50. Sharon Creech Walk Two Moons (1995)

Children’s Picture Books: All-Time Top 50

First posted 2/17/2019; updated 2/19/2019.

image from delawarelibrary.org

These are the top 50 children’s pictures books based on an aggregate of titles’ appearances on more than a dozen best-of lists specifically about children’s picture books, 25+ more general children’s book lists, and another 50+ general book lists. Words and pictures are both by the same person unless noted otherwise (w = words, p = pictures).

  1. Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are (1964)
  2. Eric Carle The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969)
  3. Margaret Wise Brown (w)/ Clement Hurd (p) Goodnight Moon (1947)
  4. Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat (1957)
  5. Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham (1960)
  6. Shel Silverstein The Giving Tree (1964)
  7. Beatrix Potter The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1901)
  8. Ezra Jack Keats The Snowy Day (1962)
  9. Shel Silverstein Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974)
  10. Judith Viorst (w)/Ray Cruz (p) Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (1972)

  11. H.A. & Margaret Rey Curious George (1941)
  12. P.D. Eastman Go, Dog, Go! (1961)
  13. Robert McCloskey Make Way for Ducklings (1941)
  14. Crockett Johnson Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955)
  15. Don Freeman Corduroy (1976)
  16. Laura Numeroff (w)/Felicia Bond (p) If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (1985)
  17. Dr. Seuss The Lorax (1971)
  18. Ludwig Bemelmans Madeline (1939)
  19. Robert Munsch (w)/Sheila McGraw (p) Love You Forever (1986)
  20. Jon Scieszka (w)/Lane Smith (p) The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (1989)

  21. Esphyr Slobdkina Caps for Sales (1947)
  22. Bill Martin Jr. & John Archambault (w)/Lois Ehlert (p) Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (1989)
  23. Russell Hoban (w)/Lillian Hoban (p) Bread and Jam for Frances (1964)
  24. Harry Allard (w)/James Marshall (p) Miss Nelson Is Missing! (1977)
  25. Ian Falconer Olivia (2000)
  26. Munro Leaf (w)/Robert Lawson (p) The Story of Ferdinand 1936)
  27. Sam McBratney (w)/Anita Jeram (p) Guess How Much I Love You (1994)
  28. Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1964)
  29. Chris Van Allsburg The Polar Express (1985)
  30. Bill Martin Jr. (w)/Eric Carle (p) Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (1967)

  31. William Steig Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (1969)
  32. Watty Piper (w)/George & Doris Hauman (p) The Little Engine That Could (1930)
  33. Dr. Seuss Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990)
  34. Jean de Brunhoff The Story of Babar (1933)
  35. Judi Barrett (w)/Ron Barrett (p) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1978)
  36. Virginia Lee Burton The Little House (1942)
  37. David Shannon No, David! (1998)
  38. Arnold Lobel Frog and Toad Are Friends (1970)
  39. Philip C. Stead A Sick Day for Amos McGee (2010)
  40. Chris Van Allsburg Jumanji (1981)

  41. P.D. Eastman Are You My Mother? (1960)
  42. Dr. Seuss One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (1960)
  43. Dr. Suess Hop on Pop (1963)
  44. Virginia Lee Burton Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (1939)
  45. Jan Brett The Mitten (1989)
  46. Gene Zion (w)/Margaret Bloy Graham (p) Harry the Dirty Dog (1956)
  47. Wanda Gag Millions of Cats (1928)
  48. Dr. Seuss Horton Hears a Who! (1954)
  49. Margery Wlliams (w)/William Nicholson (p) The Velveteen Rabbit (1922)
  50. Mo Willems Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (2003)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

All Time Best Books: Top 100

First posted 5/26/2018. Updated 2/16/2019.

image from time.com

Inspired by the 2018 PBS special The Great American Read, I assembled more than 60 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. Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote (1615)
  4. J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
  5. F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby (1925)
  6. Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
  7. George Orwell 1984 (1949)
  8. Vladimir Nabokov Lolita (1955)
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings (trilogy: 1954-55)
  10. Joseph Heller Catch-22 (1961)

  11. John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
  12. Lewis Carroll Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
  13. Muhammad Quran (632 A.D.)
  14. James Joyce Ulysses (1922)
  15. Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)
  16. Leo Tolstoy War and Peace (1869)
  17. Margaret Mitchell Gone with the Wind (1936)
  18. Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre (1847)
  19. Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights (1847)
  20. E.B. White Charlotte’s Web (1952)

  21. Jack Kerouac On the Road (1957)
  22. William Golding Lord of the Flies (1954)
  23. Toni Morrison Beloved (1987)
  24. Herman Melville Moby-Dick (1851)
  25. J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit (1937)
  26. Aldous Huxley Brave New World (1932)
  27. Homer The Odyssey (800 B.C.)
  28. Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness (1899)
  29. Ernest Hemingway The Sun Also Rises (1926)
  30. Georges Simenon Maigret (series, 1931-1972)

  31. George Orwell Animal Farm (1954)
  32. Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
  33. Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl (aka The Diary of Anne Frank) (1947)
  34. Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice (1813)
  35. Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment (1866)
  36. Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
  37. J.K. Rowling Harry Potter (series, 1997-2007)
  38. C.S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1970)
  39. Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)
  40. Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina (1877)

  41. Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are (1964)
  42. William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury (1929)
  43. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince (1943)
  44. Charles Dickens Great Expectations (1861)
  45. Ralph Ellison Invisible Man (1952)
  46. Alice Walker The Color Purple (1982)
  47. Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse (1927)
  48. Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
  49. Homer The Iliad (800 B.C.)
  50. Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart (1958)

  51. George Eliot Middlemarch, a Study of Provincial Life (1872)
  52. Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary (1857)
  53. Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter (1850)
  54. Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
  55. Salman Rushdie Midnight’s Children (1981)
  56. Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince (1532)
  57. Louisa May Alcott Little Women (1869)
  58. Stephen Hawking A Brief History of Time (1988)
  59. James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)
  60. Fyodor M. Dostoyevsky The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

  61. Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange (1962)
  62. Charles Darwin The Origin of Species (1859)
  63. Ernest Hemingway For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)
  64. John Steinbeck Of Mice and Men (1937)
  65. Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged (1957)
  66. Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962)
  67. William Grahame The Wind in the Willows (1908)
  68. Mary Shelley Frankenstein (1818)
  69. Jonathan Swift Gulliver’s Travels (1726)
  70. A.A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)

  71. Plato The Republic (380 B.C.)
  72. Rachel Carson Silent Spring (1962)
  73. Frank Herbert Dune (1965)
  74. Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
  75. Dante Alighieri Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy) (1304)
  76. Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale (1986)
  77. Henry David Thoreau Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854)
  78. Charles Dickens David Copperfield (1850)
  79. E.M. Forster A Passage to India (1924)
  80. Paulo Coelho O Alquimista (The Alchemist) (1987)

  81. Albert Camus The Stranger (1942)
  82. Jack London The Call of the Wild (1903)
  83. William Faulkner As I Lay Dying (1930)
  84. Margaret Wise Brown Goodnight Moon (1947)
  85. Daphne Du Maurier Rebecca (1938)
  86. John Bunyan The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678)
  87. Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence (1920)
  88. Eric Carle The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969)
  89. Truman Capote In Cold Blood (1966)
  90. Richard Wright Native Son (1940)

  91. Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe (1719)
  92. Sigmund Freud The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)
  93. Wei Jiangong (editor) Xinhua Zidian (Xinhua Dictionary) (1953)
  94. Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea (1952)
  95. L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables (1908)
  96. Richard Adams Watership Down (1972)
  97. Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo (1844)
  98. Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (1855)
  99. Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury Tales (1387)
  100. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1887)

Saturday, February 9, 2019

10 Books Which Impacted Me

First posted 2/9/2019.

These are the books which have most inspired me to read, write, imagine, and create. These titles span from childhood to adulthood, presented (as much as I can remember) in the order in which I discovered them.


A.A. Milne The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh (1994)

This is a packaging of Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and House at Pooh Corner (1928), the two classics which introduced the world to Christopher Robin and Pooh, his stuffed-animal bear. Pooh is a self-admitted bear-of-very-little-brain, but his optimism and heart of gold modeled a way of life we should all try to emulate. In fact, Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh (1982) is another favorite book of mine because of how well it captures the essence of Pooh in describing a philosophy of life.


J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit (1937)

In the summer after my sixth grade year, my family went down to Georgia for a week, as we did every summer. My grandmother was bed-ridden and a neighbor, feeling like my brother and I might be bored, brought over a box of books. I plucked The Hobbit from the stack. I’d heard of it, but didn’t know much about it. I devoured it that week – and many times after that throughout junior high and high school. Read a more in-depth review of the book here.


John Steinbeck Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976)

This was Steinbeck’s adaptation of Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur (1485) and my introduction to King Arthur when I read it in English class in 8th grade. It led to a fascination with King Arthur, even resulting in me writing my middle-grade fiction series, Otter and Arthur, which retold the legends of King Arthur through the eyes of a mouse.


Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)

Like millions of others, I was exposed to this book as required reading in high school. Also like millions of others, I was completely drawn in by Lee’s powerful story about Scout, a young girl who comes face-to-face with racial discrimination in her small town – and recognizes her own prejudices in how she judges her reclusive neighbor, Boo Radley. Having re-read the book multiple times, I’ve come to be enamored with the story-telling style of the book and how it makes the small-town setting essential to the book. Read a more detailed review of the book here.


John Irving The World According to Garp (1978)

I saw the movie version of Garp when I was in high school. I watched it because I was a Robin Williams fan, but fell in love with the movie because of its quirky characters and unique story. I eventually read the book, which led me to devour everything Irving had written prior to that. Since then, A Prayer for Owen Meany has supplanted Garp as my favorite John Irving novel and one of my favorite books of all-time, but this was the one which introduced me to him as an author.


Joel Whitburn Top Pop Singles 1955-1996 (1997)

As a music chart fanatic, I was overjoyed when I found Whitburn’s Record Research company, which published books compiling chart data from Billboard magazine. The granddaddy of them all was this book, which gathered data for all songs to ever hit the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart and then listed them by the recording acts. Not only have I gone through multiple editions of this book, but I have gone on to line my shelves with other Record Research books covering rock, country, R&B, and album charts.


Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen Type Talk: The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love, and Work (1989)

I dropped out of college in 1989, a semester-shy from graduating. It forced me to go to work and I stumbled into the afterschool arena. I soon realized that was what I wanted to do with my life and within a few years finished my degree. In that second time around, I was reinvigorated by having a career focus and specifically wanting to gain a better insight into personality types and how they affect learning. One of my professors steered me toward the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and whetted an appetite in me for recognizing how people learn differently.


Dave Whitaker Games, Games, Games: Creating Hundreds of Group Games and Sports (1996)

Sometime in the mid-‘90s, my supervisor recommended I go to the airport to meet Rich Scofield, a publisher in the afterschool arena. I showed him the game activity book I’d created for work and he told me it could practically be published as it was. This was not only the first of some twenty-something books I’ve now published (see my author page at Amazon), but sowed the seeds for me to start my own company, Toolbox Training, focused on providing resources, training, and consulting to afterschool programs.


Dave Marsh Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made (1989)

The Whitburn books fed my interest in charts. This book fed my interest in collecting lists which ranked songs without consideration to chart performance. It led to the creation of my Dave’s Music Database website and my own self-published, list-oriented books, including The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999, The Top 100 Albums of All Time, and The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Era, 1890-1953.


Howard Gardner Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983)

My undergraduate degree was marked by my fascination with Myers-Briggs. My pursuit of a Masters in Education in the early 2000’s was marked by my discovery of Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. Like Myers-Briggs, it had important implications on my understanding of how people learned differently – and deserved to be understood as individuals. My final thesis resulted in my second published book, Multiple Intelligences & After-School Environments: Keeping All Children in Mind (2002).

Non-Fiction Books: Top 100

First posted 2/9/2019.

image from prowritingaid.com

These are the best non-fiction books of all-time, according to an aggregate of more than 20 lists focused specifically on non-fiction books and another 50+ general book lists.

  1. Various writers The Holy Bible: King James Version (1451)
  2. Mao Zedong Quotations from Mao Tse-tung (1966)
  3. Muhammad Quran (632 A.D.)
  4. Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl (aka The Diary of Anne Frank) (1947)
  5. Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince (1532)
  6. Charles Darwin The Origin of Species (1859)
  7. Stephen Hawking A Brief History of Time (1988)
  8. Plato The Republic (380 B.C.)
  9. Henry David Thoreau Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854)
  10. Rachel Carson Silent Spring (1962)

  11. Wei Jiangong (editor) Xinhua Zidian (Xinhua Dictionary) (1953)
  12. Truman Capote In Cold Blood (1966)
  13. Sigmund Freud The Interpretation of Dreams (1900)
  14. Virginia Woolf A Room of One’s Own (1929)
  15. William Strunk & E.B. White The Elements of Style (1959)
  16. Simone de Beauvoir The Second Sex (1948)
  17. Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels The Communist Manifesto (1888)
  18. Alex Haley & Malcolm X The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)
  19. Adam Smith Wealth of Nations (1776)
  20. George Orwell Homage to Catalonia (1938)

  21. John Maynard Kenyes General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936)
  22. Maya Angelou I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970)
  23. Elie Weisel Night (Un di Velt Hot Geshvign) (1958)
  24. Hunter S. Thompson Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971)
  25. James D. Watson The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (1968)
  26. St. Augustine of Hippo The Confessions (400 A.D.)
  27. Thomas S. Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)
  28. Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936)
  29. Sun Tzu The Art of War (5th century B.C.)
  30. Marcus Aurelius Meditations (167 A.D.)

  31. Henry Adams The Education of Henry Adams (1918)
  32. Dr. Benjamin Spock The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946)
  33. Thucydides The History of the Peloponnesian War (5th century B.C.)
  34. Frederick Douglass Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845)
  35. Confucious The Analects (4th century B.C.)
  36. W.E.B. DuBois The Souls of Black Folks (1903)
  37. Thomas Hobbes Leviathan (1651)
  38. Herodotus The Histories of… (5th century B.C.)
  39. Albert Einstein Relativity: The Special and the General Theory (1916)
  40. Betty Friedan The Feminine Mystique (1963)

  41. Jean-Jacques Rousseau Confessions (1781)
  42. Thomas Paine The Rights of Man (1791)
  43. Mary Wollstonecraft A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)
  44. Thomas Paine Common Sense (1776)
  45. Jared Diamond Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (2005)
  46. Michel de Montaigne Essays (1580)
  47. William James The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902)
  48. Howard Zinn A People's History of the United States (2005)
  49. Oxford University Press The Oxford English Dictionary (1948)
  50. Tom Wolfe The Right Stuff (1979)

  51. Robert Pirsig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974)
  52. Edward Said Orientalism (1978)
  53. Publius (Alexander Hamilton/James Madison/John Jay) (edited by Clinton Rossiter) The Federalist Papers (1788)
  54. Vladimir Nabokov Speak, Memory (1951)
  55. Noah Webster Webster’s Dictionary (1783)
  56. Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich (1937)
  57. Thomas Cranmer The Book of Common Prayer (1549)
  58. Lao Tzu The Way and Its Power (Tao Te Ching) (4th century B.C.)
  59. Joseph Smith The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ (1830)
  60. Edward Gibbon The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1787)

  61. Robert Baden-Powell Scouting for Boys (1908)
  62. Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America (1840)
  63. John Stewart Mill On Liberty (1859)
  64. William James Pragmatism (1907)
  65. Shelby Foote The Civil War (1974)
  66. Mark C. Young The Guinness Book of Records (1955)
  67. Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene (2006)
  68. Robert Graves Goodbye to All That (1929)
  69. Frank McCourt Angela’s Ashes (1996)
  70. Stephen R. Covey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989)

  71. Gertrude Stein The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1993)
  72. Karl Marx Das Kapital (Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Vol. 1: The Process of Production of Capital) (1867)
  73. Karen Blixen (as Isak Dinesen) Out of Africa (1937)
  74. Benjamin Franklin The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1793)
  75. Tom Wolfe The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968)
  76. James Boswell The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791)
  77. Jehovah’s Witnesses The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life (1982)
  78. René DescartesDiscourse on Method (Discours sur la Méthode) (1637)
  79. Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spake Zarathustra (1885)
  80. Elizabeth Gilbert Eat Pray Love (2010)

  81. Paul Kalanithi When Breath Becomes Air (2016)
  82. Eric Schlosser Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (2001)
  83. Joan Didion The Year of Magical Thinking (2005)
  84. Ernest Hemingway Moveable Feast (1964)
  85. John Hersey Hiroshima (1946)
  86. Henry David Thoreau Civil Disobedience (1849)
  87. Winston Churchill The Second World War (series: 1948-1953)
  88. Richard Wright Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth (1945)
  89. Ellen G. White Steps to Christ (1892)
  90. E.P. Thompson Making of the English Working Class (1963)

  91. Bill Wilson Alcoholic’s Anonymous Big Book (1939)
  92. Milton Friedman Capitalism and Freedom (1962)
  93. Euclid Euclid’s Elements (280 B.C.)
  94. Hannah Arendt The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951)
  95. Ralph Waldo Emerson Essays (1841)
  96. World Almanac Editors World Almanac (1868)
  97. Jack Canfield & Victor Hansen Chicken Soup for the Soul (1993)
  98. Viktor Frankl Man’s Search for Meaning (1946)
  99. Mitch Albom Tuesdays with Morrie (1997)
  100. Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (1999

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Best-Selling Books of All-Time: Top 100

Updated 2/7/2019.

image from digbooks.net

While it would seemingly be an easy task to find a list of the top-selling books of all-time, there are multiple sources and varying estimates. By assembling a variety of sources, here’s what I’ve come up with as the list of the best-selling books of all-time (see sources here).

Note: with the exception of Lord of the Rings (which was intended as one book, but published in three parts), series are not included. However, individual titles can make the list. For example, the Harry Potter series collectively sold 500 million copies, but is listed by individual titles since all 7 books made the list on their own accord.

There are also numerous cases of books, especially references and religious texts, where they have been reprinted and reproduced in multiple editions. The first year of publication is the one cited.

When multiple titles are estimated to have sold the same amount, the books are listed in order of which have the most overall points in my database.

Enough talk. Here are the results:


  1. 6.7 billion: various writers The Holy Bible: King James Version (1451)
  2. 6.5 billion: Mao Zedong Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (1966)
  3. 800 million: Muhammad Quran (632 A.D.)
  4. 500 million: Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote (1615)
  5. 400 million: Wei Jiangong (editor) Xinhua Zidian/Xinhua Dictionary (1957)
  6. 200 million: Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities (1859)
  7. 150 million: J.R.R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955)
  8. 150 million: Robert Baden-Powell Scouting for Boys (1908)
  9. 142 million: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) (1943)
  10. 140.6 million: J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit (1937)

  11. 125 million: John Bunyan The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678)
  12. 125 million: John Foxe Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (1563)
  13. 125 million: Thomas Cranmer The Book of Common Prayer (1549)
  14. 123 million: Joseph Smith The Book of Mormon (1830)
  15. 120 million: J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (aka Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) (1997)
  16. 120 million: Jehovahs’ Witnesses The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life (1982)
  17. 115 million: Mark C. Young The Guinness Book of Records (1955)
  18. 105 million: Jehovah’s Witnesses You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth (1982)
  19. 100 million: Lewis Carroll Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
  20. 100 million: Agatha Christie And Then There Were None (1939)

  21. 100 million: Ts’ao Hsueh-ch’in The Dream of the Red Chamber (1791)
  22. 100 million: Noah Webster The American Spelling Book/Webster’s Dictionary (1783)
  23. 100 million: H. Rider Haggard She: A History of Adventure (1887)
  24. 85 million: C.S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
  25. 80 million: Dan Brown The Da Vinci Code (2004)
  26. 80 million: Carlo Collodi The Adventures of Pinocchio (1881)
  27. 80 million: World Almanac editors World Almanac (1868)
  28. 80 million: Ved Prakash Sharma Vardi Wala Gunda (1992)
  29. 79 million: Kazuko Hosoki Rokusei Senjutsu (Six-Star Astrology Tells Your Fortune) (1986)
  30. 77 million: J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998)
  31. 70 million: Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich (1937)

    65 million:

  32. J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
  33. Paulo Coelho O Alquimista (The Alchemist) (1987)
  34. J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999)
  35. J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000)
  36. J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007)
  37. J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003)
  38. J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005)

    60 million:

  39. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1887)
  40. Jules Verne Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870)
  41. Robert James Waller The Bridges of Madison County (1992)
  42. Ellen G. White Steps to Christ (1892)

    50-55 million:

  43. Merriam-Webster Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (1898)
  44. Vladimir Nabokov Lolita (1955)
  45. Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)
  46. E.B. White Charlotte’s Web (1952)
  47. L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables (1908)
  48. Richard Adams Watership Down (1972)
  49. Umberto Eco The Name of the Rose (Il Nome della Rosa) (1980)
  50. Dr. Benjamin Spock The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946)

  51. Anna Sewell Black Beauty (1877)
  52. Johanna Spyri Heidi (Heidi's Years of Wandering and Learning) (Heidis Lehr - und Wnaderjahre) (1880)
  53. Lew Wallace Ben-Hur (1880)
  54. J.P. Donleavy The Ginger Man (1955)
  55. Shere Hite The Hite Report on Female Sexuality (1976)
  56. Louise Hay You Can Heal Your Life (1984)
  57. Jack Higgins The Eagle Has Landed (1975)
  58. Johnston McCulley The Curse of Capistrano (aka “The Mark of Zorro”) (1919)

    40-45 million:

  59. Homer The Odyssey (800 B.C.)
  60. Beatrix Potter The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1901)
  61. Richard Bach Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970)
  62. Eric Carle The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969)
  63. Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
  64. E.L. James Fifty Shades of Grey (2011)
  65. Elbert Hubbard A Message to Garcia (1899)
  66. V.C. Andrews Flowers in the Attic (1979)
  67. Jostein Gaardner Sophie’s World (Sofies Verden) (1991)
  68. Hong Sung-Dae The Principle of Mathematics (1966)
  69. Peter Mark Roget Roget’s Thesaurus (1852)

    36-39 million:

  70. Dan Brown Angels and Demons (2000)
  71. Jeffrey Archer Kane and Abel (1979)
  72. Nikolai Ostrovsky How the Steel Was Tempered (Kak Zaalyalas' stal) (1932)
  73. Leo Tolstoy War and Peace (1869)

    32-35 million:

  74. Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl (aka The Diary of Anne Frank) (1947)
  75. Hal Lindsey and C.C. Carlson The Late Great Planet Earth (1970)
  76. Wayne Dyer Your Erroneous Zones (1976)
  77. Margaret Mitchell Gone with the Wind (1936)
  78. Colleen McCullough The Thorn Birds (1977)
  79. Khaled Hosseini The Kite Runner (2003)
  80. Jacqueline Susann The Valley of the Dolls (1966)

    30 million:

  81. George Orwell 1984 (1949)
  82. Oxford University Press The Oxford English Dictionary (1948)
  83. Stieg Larsson The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2005)
  84. Reverend Charles Monroe Sheldon In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do? (1896)
  85. Bill Wilson Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book (1939)
  86. Rick Warren The Purpose Driven Life (2002)
  87. William Bradford Huie The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1951)
  88. various authors The Michelin Guide: France (1900)
  89. Dan Brown The Lost Symbol (2009)

    25-26 million:

  90. Spencer Johnson Who Moved My Cheese? (1998)
  91. Alexander Alexandrovich Fadeyev The Young Guard (1945)
  92. F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby (1925)
  93. Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged (1957)
  94. William Grahame The Wind in the Willows (1908)
  95. Stephen R. Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989)

    22-24 million:

  96. Mikhail Sholokhov Virgin Soil Upturned (1935)
  97. Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games (2008)
  98. John Green The Fault in Our Stars (2012)
  99. James Refield The Celestine Prophecy (1993)
  100. William P. Young The Shack (2007)