100 Greatest Books OF ALL TIMES by Entertainment weekly
1. Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
2. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
3. Great Expectations Charles Dickens
4. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
5. My Antonia Willa Carter
6. The Harry Potter Series J.K. Rowling
7. The Rabbit Quartet John Updike
8. Beloved Toni Morrison
10. Charlotte's Web E.B. White
11. Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf
12. The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner
13. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
14. Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky
15. Ragtime E.L. Doctorow
16. Jayne Eyre Charlotte Bronte
17. The Road Cormac McCarthy
18. Moby Dick Herman Melville
19. Lolita Vladimir Nabokove
20. Lonesome Dove Larry McMurty
21. American Tragedy Theodore Dreiser
22. Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
23. The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky
24. A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man James Joyce
25. Bleak House Charles dickens
26. Invisible Man Ralph Ellison
27. A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L’Engle
28. War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
29. The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood
31. Native Son Richard Wright
32. Blindness Jose Saramago
32. The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
33. Maus Art Spiegelman
34. The World According to Garp John Irving
35. A Personal Matter Kenzaburo Oe
36. Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand
37. The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway
38. The Regeneration Trilogy Pat Barker
39. Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides
40. Suitable Boy Vikram Seth
41. Go Tell It on The Mountain James Baldwin
42. The Stand Stephen King
43. A Confederacy of Dunces John Kenedy Toole
44. His Dark Materials Phillip Pullman
45. The Color Purple Alice Walker
46. The Age of Innocence Edith Wharton
47. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami
48. The Talented Mr Ripley Patricia Highsmith
49. Ender’s Game Orson Scott Card
50. Snow Orhan Pamuk
51. The Corrections Jonathan Franzen
52. Song of Solomon Toni Morrison
53. Gone With The Wind Margaret Mitchell
54. Billi Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Ben Fountain
55. A Fine Balance Robinson Mistry
56. Sophie’s Choice William Styron
57. The Children of Men P.D. James
58. Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie
59. Dracula Bram Stoker
60. Their Eyes were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston
61. Love in The Time of Cholera Gabriel Garcia Marquez
62. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
63. Portnoy’s Complaint Phillip Roth
64. Infinite Jest David Forster Wallace
65. Herzog Saul Bellow
66. Howard’s End E.M. Forster
67. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Kay Michael habon
68. Middlemarch George Elliot
69. Money Martin Amis
70. Neuromancer William Gibson
71. The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien
72. The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro
73. The Spay Who Came From The Cold John Le Carre
74. Cold Mountain Charles Frazier
75. Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
76. The Golden Notebook Doris Lessing
77. Tom Jones Henry Fielding
78. A House for Mr Biswas V.S. Naipaul
79. Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
80. Swann’s Way Marcel Proust
81. Frankenstein Mary Shelly
82. Disgrace J.M. Coetze
83. The Stone Diaries Carol Shields
84. Clockers Richard Price
85. Catch-22 Joseph Heller
86. A Home at the End Of The World Michael Cunningham
87. White Teeth Zadie Smith
88. The Bonfire of Vanities Tom Wolfe
89. Tristram Shandy Lawrence Sterne
90. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter Carson McCullers
91. The Leopard Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampera
92. The Glass Bead Games Hermann Hesse
93. Bastard out of Carolina Dorothy Allison
94. The Moonstone Wilkie Collins
95. The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver
96. If on a winter’s night a Traveler Italo Calvino
97. The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler
98. Are you there God ? It’s me Margaret Judy Blume
99. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
100. The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan.
How we chose our 100 All-Time Greatest Novels
We’ve gotten a landslide of mail about the All-Time Greatest issue, much of it along the following lines:
“Dear Dips–t Editors:
How could could you possibly be so dips—-y?
You put [name of masterpiece] on your Top 100 list even though it fully sucks. I mean, even my 8-year-old sister who drools when she sleeps knows the immense power of its suckage! Yet you totally ignored the awesomeness of [name of something pretty good]. You can explain yourself but I don’t care, and won’t listen, and hate you. Please die. Sincerely, A longtime subscriber”
Well, then. Here’s how we assembled the books list: We sat in a conference room talking about books we loved and admired. Our books editor, Tina Jordan, then made a rough list based on the conversation, and we argued about it endlessly, moved things around endlessly, cut and added things endlessly. This went on for at least six months, during which time we read like fiends. Eventually, this guy named Lou Vogel, who’s in charge of making sure we actually get around to publishing a magazine every week, said, “OK, you absolutely must turn in the final list right this second or I will scream and never stop screaming.”
We never expected our books lists to please everyone. How could you agree with every book on a list like this unless you wrote the list yourself? And even you, whoever you are, like things that not everybody loves. Admit it, you like some pretty weird stuff.
Another reason we’ll all never agree on a list is that we’ll never even agree on the definition of “greatest.” Does it mean the most influential? The most perfect? The most moving? It means some unquantifiable combination of all these things. My daughter thinks The Great Gatsby should have been No. 1 because it’s the most flawless thing ever. My wife thinks The Road should have been number No. 1 because it’s astonishing and it bridges genres — and it isn’t prehistoric, like Anna Karenina. These are good arguments. I love having them because I love talking about books.
When we were down in the trenches arguing over this issue, I lobbied hard for things that ultimately made the list (Blindness, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and Ender’s Game come to mind). But I lost battles too. Everyone here did. Ultimately, though, we stand by the list happily because it’s full of amazing, heart-stopping, heart-changing literature.
Probably you want me to admit to some super-nefarious backroom dealings, so here you go:
Confession No. 1: As our boss, Jess Cagle, said in his editor’s note in the magazine, we didn’t want a handful of authors to dominate the list at the expense of other authors. So there are people like Dickens and Austen who aren’t on the list as often as they could be. By not including six Dickens novels, we made room for a lot of cool voices who wouldn’t have had a chance otherwise. I will state here unequivocally that Austen and Dickens are both really, really good. You should read the novels they have on this list and other ones too.
Confession No. 2: We wanted diversity of every kind on this list. I don’t just mean in terms of the novelist’s gender or race, but also in terms of time period and genre. Our vision of literature is beyond highbrow, middlebrow and lowbrow. Some readers have complained because new books wound up alongside immortal classics. Others have complained that there weren’t ENOUGH new novels. We wanted a mix that reflected fiction as a continually evolving art form. You can’t please all the people all the time, but it turns out you can annoy a whole bunch of them.
One frequently asked question: Why is Harry Potter so high on the list? Because it’s an amazing coming-of-age story that will be read voraciously 100 years from now. You may disagree. We can talk again in 100 years.
Confession No. 3: Just as staffers advocated for novels they personally loved, they fought against stuff they disliked. I’ll give you an example. Phillip Roth is generally thought to be one of the most gifted novelists of the last 50 years. But here’s the thing: Roth has some extremely vocal detractors on our staff—people who feel that he represents everything that is wrong with everything that is wrong. I personally feel that he is underrepresented on our list, but then I feel strongly that The Hobbit (on the list) is a better novel than Lord of the Rings (not on the list), which many commenters have said is a ridiculous abomination of an opinion.
OK, enough explaining. The bottom line is that all our All-Time Greatest Lists are meant to be tributes, not trash-talk. You should find some stuff on the list you haven’t read and read it. We’re all reading all your comments and emails to look for suggestions, too. I like the idea that people still feel fiercely enough about novels to get mad.
100 Greatest Books OF ALL TIMES by Entertainment weekly
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