Newsweek magazine has evaluated all the book lists being bantered about and arrived at their own Meta-list of Top 100 Books of All Time.
Declaring the best book ever written is tricky business. Who’s to say what the best is? We went one step further: we crunched the numbers from 10 top books lists (Modern Library, the New York Public Library, St. John’s College reading list, Oprah’s, and more) to come up with The Top 100 Books of All Time. It’s a list of lists — a meta-list. Let the debate begin.
Now, granted that no will ever agree on which books should be included or in what order, I am pleased to see Pride and Prejudice included in the top ten, above Shakespeare and The Bible! Oh my! What would dear Jane think to be listed above two such august authors of world wide acclaim? I have incuded the list designating which books I have read with a *, which books I want to read with a +, and which books I might be tempted to read later with a -.
- War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy*
- 1984, by George Orwell*
- Ulysses, by James Joyce+
- Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov*
- The Sound and The Fury, by William Faulkner+
- Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison-
- To The Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf+
- The Illiad and the Odyssey, by Homer*
- Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen****************
- Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri*
- Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer*
- Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift*
- Middlemarch, by George Eliot*
- Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe-
- The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger*
- Gone with the Wind, Margaret by Mitchell*
- One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez+
- The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald*
- Catch-22, by Joseph Heller*
- Beloved, by Toni Morrison*
- The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck*
- Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie-
- Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley*
- Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf*
- Native Son, by Richard Wright+
- Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville-
- On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin*
- The Histories, by Herodotus*
- The Social Contract, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau+
- Das Kapital, by Karl Marx-
- The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli*
- Confessions, by St. Augustine*
- Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes-
- The History of the Peloponnesian War, by Thucydides+
- The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien*
- Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne*
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis*
- A Passage to India, by E. M. Forster*
- On the Road, by Jack Kerouac-
- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee*
- The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version*
- A Clockwork Orange, by Antony Burgess*
- Light in August, by William Faulkner+
- The Souls of Black Folk, by W. E. Du Bois+
- Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys*
- Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert*
- Paradise Lost, by John Milton*
- Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy*
- Hamlet, by William Shakespeare*
- King Lear, by William Shakespeare*
- Othello, by William Shakespeare*
- Sonnets, by William Shakespeare*
- Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman*
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain*
- Kim, by Rudyard Kipling*
- Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley*
- Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison+
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey*
- For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway*
- Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut*
- Animal Farm, by George Orwell*
- Lord of the Flies, by William Golding*
- In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote*
- The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing-
- Remembrance of Things Past, by Marcel Proust+
- The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler*
- As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner+
- The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway*
- I, Claudius, by Robert Graves*
- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, by Carson McCullers*
- Sons and Lovers, by D. H. Lawrence*
- All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren+
- Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin+
- Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White*
- Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad+
- Night, by Elie Wiesel*
- Rabbit Run, by John Updike+
- The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton*
- Portney’s Complaint, by Philip Roth*
- An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser+
- The Day of the Locust, by Nathaniel West*
- Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller+
- The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiel Hammett*
- His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman1/2*
- Death Comes for the Archbishop, by Willa Cather+
- The Interpretation of Dreams, by Sigmund Freud-
- The Education of Henry Adams, by Henry Adams-
- Quotations from Chairman Mao, by Mao Zedong-
- The Varieties of Religious Experience, by William James-
- Brideshead Revisted, by Evelyn Waugh*
- Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson*
- The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, by John Maynard Keynes-
- Lord Jim, by Joseph Conrad*
- Goodbye to All That, by Robert Graves+
- The Affluent Society, by John Kenneth Galbraith-
- The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame*
- The Autobiograhy of Malcom X, by Alex Haley & Malcom X-
- Eminent Victorians, by Lytton Strachey+
- The Color Purple, by Alice Walker*
- The Second World War, by Winston Churchill+
+want to read
Favorite inclusions: Middlemarch, Gone with the Wind, Mrs. Dalloway, Winnie-the-Pooh, A Passage to India, To Kill a Mockingbird, Kim, The Big Sleep, I Claudius, The Age of Innocence, The Maltese Falcon, and Brideshead Revisted.
Surprises: The Golden Notebook and Wide Sargasso Sea
Shocking omissions: anything by Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Charlotte or Emily Bronte, Henry James, Anthony Trollope or Jacqueline Susann! (just kidding)
Interesting list. Much different than the What To Read Now. And Why: Fifty Books For Our Times list that Newsweek also posted last week. Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now was #1. Alas, Jane didn’t make that list at all. Life is never fair.
I was shocked to see 1984 ranked so highly. I definitely think a Thomas Hardy book should have been there instead.
Ugh! War and Peace? Number one? Surely not! And where, pray, is A Room With a View? One of the best books evah! And Catcher in the Rye BELOW?!?!? Middlemarch. This list is a joke, right? Blah! No further comment necessary!
Fascinating list! And I especially agree with you on the curious omission of Dickens and the Brontes… And where is Douglas Adams?! :-)
Shocking, indeed! My poor, beloved Dickens—how could they leave your off the list?
What I really don’t understand is why they decided to list four Shakespeare plays separately. Had they simply listed the complete works there would have been plenty of room for Dickens, Bronte AND Douglas Adams. :D
Looking at a list like that I think, “I truly havent lived…” wow. There are so many books out there I have yet to read. Sleep is becoming less and less important… lol
One Persons Journey Through a World of Books
LOL, Christine H. :) Exactly!!
Where the heck is Elizabeth Gaskell? Come on! And what about José Saramago? This unbelivable!
I always find these lists interesting but I also always take them with a grain of salt as they are quite subjective depending on who is putting the list together I find. I am always disappointed as an Australian to see our authors usually miss out!
I’m not sure these are the top 100 books of all time. Given their criteria, these are the most read books of our current time. Had Newsweek taken ten book lists from every decade for 200 years from all the continents, other books would be sitting there. We might see Carl Sandburg’s biography of Abraham Lincoln, for example, and the top sellers of 1890 and 1790 included, as well as preferences from other lands. The Koran might show up, or the Kama Sutra.
Having said that, this is one of the better lists I’ve seen and I’m impressed with the number that you’ve read already. I recall having to read Mao’s quotations in college and my father owning every volume of Winston Churchill’s WW2, which I only recently gave away to a collector.
It’s rather sad that the Bible isn’t higher on the listing.. Wonder what Jane would think of that?
I counted and find that I’ve read 23 of those listed.. guess I’m more well read than I thought. MY top 100 would read a bit different….Dickens, Bronte, Fenimore-Cooper, and Asimov would be included.
Good point on the bible. should be on there.
ABC (similar to BBC in UK) had top 100 books of all time a few years ago. I think it was by readers voting. And our Pride and Prejudice ranked No.2 after Lords of the Rings, higher than the Bible too. I don’t see a problem about that as I’m a near Buddhist.
Bargain with the Devil
Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan…
Make sure you have Cliff’s Notes for The Sound and Fury. I still am not completely sure what the heck was going on in that one.