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The 100 Greatest Novels

Name the 100 greatest novels of all time, according to these "subjective and cranky standards" :)
List by Ted Gioia @ Great Books Guide.
Quiz by ZacharyGeorgeNN
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Last updated: March 4, 2015
First submittedMay 15, 2012
Times taken31,250
Rating3.78
13:00
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#
Author
Novel
1
Marcel Proust
In Search of Lost Time
2
Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Brothers Karamazov
3
Thomas Mann
The Magic Mountain
4
Henry James
The Ambassadors
5
Miguel de Cervantes
Don Quixote
6
Herman Melville
Moby-Dick
7
William Faulkner
Absalom, Absalom!
8
Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace
9
Henry Fielding
Tom Jones
10
Mark Twain
The Adventures
of Huckleberry Finn
11
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One Hundred Years
of Solitude
12
Henry James
The Wings of the Dove
13
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Crime and Punishment
14
Charles Dickens
Great Expectations
15
Victor Hugo
Les Miserables
16
Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice
17
Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Idiot
18
Ernest Hemingway
The Sun Also Rises
19
Hermann Broch
The Sleepwalkers
20
Franz Kafka
The Trial
21
James Joyce
Ulysses
22
Gustave Flaubert
Madame Bovary
23
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby
24
William Faulkner
The Sound and the Fury
25
George Eliot
Middlemarch
26
Ralph Ellison
Invisible Man
27
Henry James
The Golden Bowl
28
Stendhal
The Red and the Black
29
Henry James
The Portrait of a Lady
30
Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina
31
Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness
32
Virginia Woolf
To the Lighthouse
33
William Thackeray
Vanity Fair
34
Ivan Turgenev
Fathers and Sons
35
Vladimir Nabokov
Pale Fire
36
Saul Bellow
The Adventures of
Augie March
37
Charles Dickens
Bleak House
38
Ian McEwan
Atonement
39
George Eliot
Silas Marner
40
Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Gambler
41
Honore de Balzac
Le Pere Goriot
42
John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath
43
J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye
44
Jane Austen
Emma
45
Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre
46
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights
47
Joseph Conrad
Nostromo
48
Ken Kesey
One Flew Over the
Cuckoo's Nest
49
Truman Capote
In Cold Blood
50
Henry James
The American
#
Author
Novel
51
Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist
52
Nathanael West
Miss Lonelyhearts
53
John Fowles
The French
Lieutenant's Woman
54
Jonathan Franzen
The Corrections
55
Laurence Sterne
Tristram Shandy
56
Nathanel West
The Day of the Locust
57
John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men
58
Joseph Conrad
Lord Jim
59
George Orwell
1984
60
Edgar Allan Poe
The Narrative of Arthur
Gordon Pym of Nantucket
61
Evelyn Waugh
Brideshead Revisited
62
Stendhal
The Charterhouse of Parma
63
Willa Cather
Death Comes for the
Archbishop
64
George Orwell
Animal Farm
65
James Fenimore Cooper
The Last of the Mohicans
66
Graham Greene
The Power and the Glory
67
Kingsley Amis
Lucky Jim
68
Raymond Chandler
The Big Sleep
69
J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer's Stone
70
Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hound of the Baskervilles
71
Jack Kerouac
On the Road
72
Rudyard Kipling
Kim
73
Thomas Hardy
Tess of the d'Urbervilles
74
Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities
75
Philip Roth
American Pastoral
76
Robert Heinlen
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
77
Mary Shelley
Frankenstein
78
Jonathan Lethem
The Fortress of Solitude
79
Zane Grey
Riders of the Purple Sage
80
William Gibson
Neuromancer
81
Martin Amis
Money
82
Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter
83
Agatha Christie
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
84
William Faulkner
As I Lay Dying
85
Henry James
Daisy Miller
86
Thomas Hardy
The Return of the Native
87
David Foster Wallace
Infinite Jest
88
Ernest Hemingway
For Whom the Bell Tolls
89
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Demons/The Possessed
90
Leo Tolstoy
The Death of Ivan Illych
91
Thomas Mann
Buddenbrooks
92
Leo Tolstoy
The Kreutzer Sonata
93
Virginia Woolf
Mrs. Dalloway
94
Charles Dickens
David Copperfield
95
Henry James
The Spoils of Poynton
96
V.S. Naipaul
A Bend in the River
97
Frank Herbert
Dune
98
Thomas Hardy
Jude the Obscure
99
Philip K. Dick
Ubik
100
Thomas Pynchon
Gravity's Rainbow
+1
level 77
May 25, 2012
Terrific quiz! Very enjoyable and educational --- a great combination!
+2
level 70
May 25, 2012
Gah, one of these days I will learn to spell d'Urbervilles...wrote a paper on it once and had to look it up every time. I always forget the apostrophe, or the second "r," or turn the first "e" into a different vowel.
+3
level 35
May 25, 2012
Well, I find this list rather odd. No 'A Clockwork Orange' or 'Brave New World'. And I'm happy to see Phillip K. Dick on the list, but would have thought that 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?' would have been the choice. Same with Jonathan Lethem; 'Gun, With Occasional Music' would seem like a better choice.
+1
level 64
Jun 5, 2019
I saw phillip k dick ( never heard of him..) and thought, ow yea, moby dick! It was on here, but go shame me, I dont recognise the authors name..
+4
level 51
May 25, 2012
Good list! Never read #1. But looks like I have to clear my schedule for a year to do so! It has 3,200 pages.
+1
level 72
Jul 10, 2016
Is that all? For some reason I though it was even longer.
+2
level 39
May 29, 2012
oh man, so many books i need to get too. only got 32 and most of those i read last year. reading war & peace right now
+1
level 55
May 30, 2012
Hmmm ... I got 51 out of 100 right, and this beats or equals 97.9% of test takers! Some that I missed I actually knew, but couldn't spell. Anyway, great quiz! Thanks.
+1
level 32
May 30, 2012
Can you moderate the quiz that original titles also work; e.g. "Der Process" for "The Trial" and furthermore "Le Père Goriot" for "Le Pere Goriot"? BTW, however made this list hasn't read a quarter of those books. Many of them are just BS. German is my original language and I can assure that Thomas Mann is an horrible, highly-overrated author.
+1
level 64
Jun 5, 2019
Le père goriot would have allready worked, interpunction does not matter on this site.
+3
level 71
Jun 14, 2019
German is my original language and I can assure that Thomas Mann is a delightful, highly capable author.
+1
level 32
May 30, 2012
BTW @ShoTheVipa: I found A Clockwork Orange a rather dull and boring book, the film was a thousand times better. But I got your point.
+2
level 12
Aug 22, 2012
This quiz is frustrating if you don't know the engish titles.
+1
level 40
Dec 25, 2012
I spent half the time trying to get the P K Dick novel. I must've tried 10 Dick novels. Never even thought of Ubik. Unusual choice.
+4
level 77
Feb 20, 2013
Given all the great novels left off this list, the inclusion of friggin Harry Potter is an egregious insult.
+1
level 51
Jan 11, 2014
what makes you say that
+2
level 77
May 24, 2015
... are you trolling?
+1
level 49
Jul 20, 2018
I agree the Harry Potter series is an odd selection. It is certainly popular but nothing in it seems to be original, I found it distinctly lacking in charm (I couldn't start the 4th book I disliked it so much). The writing is average, I couldn't care less about the characters and it had no redeeming moral. I like those sorts of books but wouldn't put Harry Potter in the Top 25 of Sci-Fi/Fantasy. It paled in comparison to the Lord of the Rings, The various Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Fahrenheit 451, Dune (the first book and a half), The Foundation Trilogy, the Hobbit, the Silmarillion, A Song of Fire and Ice, the Earthsea Trilogy, the Belgariad, Watership Down, The Once and Future King, the Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, The Sword of Shannara, the Eye of the World, the Dragons of Pern, the Princess Bride, the Drawing of the Dark, the King of Elfland's Daughter, the Narnia Series, the Mists of Avalon, Redwall, 2001, The Martian Chronicles, the Titans of Siren, etc.
+4
level 67
Sep 21, 2018
PHG1960 did you seriously just knock Harry Potter as unoriginal and then praise The Sword of Shannara, which is basically Lord of the Rings with the serial numbers filed off? Don't get me wrong, Terry Brooks was my gateway into fantasy literature and I have fond memories of his work, but it's hardly fair to praise him while criticizing Potter for lacking originality.
+2
level 68
Aug 12, 2016
Yeah, some bizarre inclusions and some glaring omissions!
+1
level 22
Mar 6, 2014
I think it would be fair if "Sherlock Holmes" were acceptable in place of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" since the protagonist of Holmes is who most people connect Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with.
+1
level 76
Jun 16, 2015
Except that this is a list of books, not series. It would be like accepting "Hercule Poirot" for "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd".
+1
level 64
Jun 5, 2019
but simply harry potter is accepted... so it would make sense in my opinion, just to be consistent.
+1
level 76
Jul 19, 2019
^The difference being that 'Harry Potter' is part of the title of all the books featuring him, whereas 'Sherlock Holmes' is not.
+5
level 77
May 20, 2014
For Thomas Hardy I wrote "Jude" but the rest of the title was just too obscure for me to remember. ;-)
+1
level 82
May 25, 2014
It's Mary Shelley, not Mary Shelly!

Also I am a bit peeved I knew and tried to write Hound of Baskerville (yes I wrote it like that) and also The Scalett Letter (yeah probably with two T's) and missed both. Ultimately got 30/100, but could/should've known Tom Jones, The Idiot, Vanity Fair, The Catcher in the Rye (I missed Salinger, that's the only way I missed that!), Emma, Jane Eyre, The Last of the Mohicans, Mrs Dalloway and Jude the Obscure. Also Robert Heinlein! - most peeved I missed him, more people should get him! -- so max 40 that I knew :P
+1
level 64
Jun 5, 2019
Scalett is clearly wrong and a different word. But I too am often tempted to write the hound of baskerville, that is how I originally remember(ed)/heard/learned it and have a hard time shaking it.
+2
level 55
Jun 2, 2014
Metamorphosis is a LOT better than The Trial!
+1
level 72
Jul 10, 2016
Isn't Metamorphosis a short story, though? Or at best a novella?
+1
level 74
Nov 22, 2016
Yeah, certainly not a novel
+3
level 73
Jun 16, 2014
In every one of these "greatest novels" lists, Jules Verne is inexplicably left off every single time. I don't get it.
+1
level 76
Oct 10, 2015
Yay! A fellow Vernien(ne)! :)
+1
level 64
Jun 5, 2019
Agreed verne definitely agrees to be on some greatest of all times list
+4
level 48
Jun 25, 2014
I know this list is just one guys opinion, but Harry Potter over To Kill A Mocking Bird, really?
+1
level 45
Jun 25, 2014
Its funny that you would put Frankenstein on the list, but no Dracula.
+2
level 76
Sep 16, 2017
The books aren't even similar. I won't go into the individual merits of each, but I always find it weird how they get pigeon-holed into the same category.
+1
level 67
Sep 21, 2018
I think it's a symptom of how genre fiction in general tends to get snubbed. Why are sci-fi and fantasy always lumped together? Same basic reason.
+3
level 69
Nov 2, 2014
Agree with everyone who mentioned To Kill A Mockingbird.
+3
level 51
Nov 2, 2014
Where was 'To Kill a Mockingbird'?
+2
level 67
Nov 2, 2014
I have to strongly disagree with everyone who complains about Harry Potter being on the list. While they're far from my favorite books, they're a modern landmark whose impact cannot be overstated. If anything, more modern books should be on these lists, while overrated trash like The Catcher in the Rye (yeah, I went there) should stop being promoted as classics.
+2
level 49
Jul 20, 2018
I have to disagree. Harry Potter is to literature as Britney Spears is to music. Neither deserve to be on a list of all time greats. Besides, the Lord of the Rings is far superior to Harry Potter and should have been selected. And Gandalf could kick Dumbledork's butt anytime, but he's too much of a gentleman to do so.
+1
level 49
Jul 20, 2018
Harry Potter was a popular series but I don't see it being remembered in a 100 years. The Lord of the Rings is the third best selling novel of all time and has been on the NYT best sellers list on several occasions spanning an era of over 40 years. LOTR has staying power because, in my opinion, it's all time classic. Harry Potter is more a best seller than a classic. The characters (for me) are forgettable and don't draw in the reader. The writing is mundane--Tolkien's style is lyrical, Rowling reads like a gossipy grocery list. At the end of each Potter book (never made it to the 4th and kept wondering why there was so much filler), I kept wondering why this was taking so long and if the writer had lost focus. George R.R. Martin is also a much better writer than Rowling although he has been torturing his readers for I don't know how many years not putting out another book.
+3
level 67
Sep 21, 2018
I disagree with your assessment of Harry Potter. I'm honestly not a huge fan of Rowling's work myself - I read the novels once, found them okay, and moved on with my life - but they remain super popular and with an extremely devoted fandom that's still growing. Do I think Rowling's prose is among the best writers of today, let alone all time? No. Do I think her books will still be read and enjoyed 100 years from now? Absolutely. As a librarian who works with middle school and high school students on a daily basis, they still love these books. Saying they won't endure is like saying the (original) Star Wars movies won't endure.
+2
level 73
Nov 25, 2018
I'm taking exception to your mention of Martin--I dropped out of the GoT series about 75% through book 5, because I simply could.not.take. one more use of the "c-word" to describe Every Single Woman In The Series, or one more description of Tyrion "waddling" somewhere--the poor man can't move without waddling. As for story, I actually think that Martin was sort of planning a few books, and was surprised that they took off, so he just started rambling along, killing people randomly as he went, without any clear plan except to make a lot more money selling as many books as people would buy.
+1
level 64
Jun 5, 2019
I agree that some classics are just there because they are being repeated over and over, and everybody knows the titles. Regardless of if they are truely worthy of a spot.

(I guess that is how popularity goes. Most people know madonna but definately not the best singer out there. There are probably thousands of singer that havent been discovered and only sing in the shower or to their family) Promotion goes a long way over substance.

+2
level 77
Jan 5, 2015
Finally, my second major in Russian literature pays off!! Still, this list seems rather random and subjective.
+1
level 64
Jun 5, 2019
you can not make one that is not subjective. No way to order or measure, all based on opinion and not fact.
+1
level 75
Feb 9, 2015
Is 'In Cold Blood' really a novel? Don't novels have to be fictional?
+1
level 72
Jul 10, 2016
That occurred to me, too, so I Googled it. And it says that "In Cold Blood" is "a non-fiction novel". I'm kinda having trouble wrapping my head around that too.
+2
level 78
Apr 9, 2015
A good half of the list should be french and german novels... did anyone say english-centric?
+5
level 69
May 26, 2015
And Italian, Polish, Catalan, Chinese, Japanese, and many more. The notion that amore than three quarters of the "100 greatest novels" are written in English is beyond ridiculous.
+3
level 67
Sep 21, 2018
If they took all the overrated junk off this list, I imagine there would be plenty of room for more novels in other languages.
+2
level 76
Jul 14, 2018
All Quiet On the Western Front is a glaring absentee.
+1
level 14
Apr 11, 2015
Hi ! Why do you sometimes accept the original title and sometimes not ? I'm french and there are many translations of "A la recherche du temps perdu". How can I do to find the one you choose ? It's just an exemple. I'm surprised you like so much Henry James. I never read him, I'm curions now.
+1
level 21
Apr 25, 2015
Would it be possible to accept the English title of 'Le Pere Goriot' by Balzac?
+5
level 58
May 24, 2015
I'm sure he's good, but Henry James did not write 7% of the greatest books in the world.
+4
level 65
May 24, 2015
Henry James being there so much is ridiculous - his writing is florid and impenetrable
+1
level 60
Aug 7, 2019
I couldn't agree more. I loathe Henry James. I would rather read 1,000 pages of David Foster Wallace's footnotes than a novella by James.
+1
level 69
May 24, 2015
I had not heard of 35 of these books so I dont feel too bad only getting 42/100.
+1
level 56
May 24, 2015
am i the only one that hated jane eyre?
+1
level 45
May 26, 2015
Probably.
+1
level 71
Oct 12, 2015
No
+3
level 69
May 26, 2015
The Divine Comedy, Zorba the Greek, Tirant the White, Berlin Alexanderplatz, Faust, Blindness, the Name of the Rose, Zeno's Conscience... The list is pathetically English-centric.
+1
level 71
May 26, 2015
... and novel-centric.
+2
level 51
May 27, 2015
Is there a particular reason for the proliferation of Henry James novels on this list? I'm not too familiar with his work, but I can't say it's all that well-known these days.
+1
level 35
May 27, 2015
Surprised i don't know most of these. but i'm 13 so who cares
+7
level 68
Oct 7, 2015
I'm a sucker for lists like these - thanks for making it! Now, I just want to point out that there are Africans who write too!(Achebe, Mahfouz, Tayeb Salih, Ngugi, Coetzee, Kateb Yacine, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Ben Okri, and a ton more) And Asians. (Cao Xueqin, Lu Xun, Murasaki, Soseki, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Tagore, Abdelrahman Munif, Yashar Kemal - this could go on forever) And Latin Americans other than Garcia Marquez as well (Borges, Neruda, Allende, Amado, Machado de Assis, Cortazar, Carpentier, and many, many more). So many great Italians, Germans, Austrians and non-Russian eastern Europeans too! I'd encourage people to check out some of these writers' works along with the generally excellent books from this list.
+2
level 50
Jan 1, 2016
Is it just me or is To KiIl a Mockingbird not on here? ...
+3
level 66
Feb 26, 2016
What is with this Henry James obsession of the Great Books Guide?
+1
level 50
Mar 31, 2016
I know that other people have different tastes than I do... But a part of me still rages that Harry Potter was placed over Hound of the Baskervilles.
+1
level 54
Apr 25, 2016
Can you please accept "Devils" for "Demons/The Possessed". This is the title used by Wordsworth Classics.
+2
level 74
Feb 6, 2017
This quiz is too Earth-centric.
+1
level 61
Nov 28, 2017
Murakami once wrote something along the lines of, "when you finish reading In Search of Lost Time you know half your life has already passed." Corrections welcome!
+1
level 49
Dec 27, 2017
How in the world does Agatha Christie's worst murder mystery make it onto this list? I figured the mystery out in the first 10 pages. Surely, the mysterious Affair at Styles, Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile and even Curtain, etc. were better choices.
+1
level 60
Dec 27, 2017
Very odd list, but it's subjective. I am surprised at how many repeats of authors show up. Most lists like this seem to select 1-2 seminal works from an author, but 4 authors (Dickens, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and James) account for 20% of the 100 best novels of all time, apparently.
+1
level 24
Dec 27, 2017
Why did you name Philip K. Dick's book Ubik and not Valis which is what was used on the site that you got your list from???
+1
level 58
Dec 27, 2017
No Atlas Shrugged/Ayn Rand?
+4
level 77
Jul 14, 2018
No Battlefield Earth either. How weird is that?
+3
level 58
Dec 27, 2017
(add-on to last comment): Darn, thought something by Dumas would have made it (Count of Monte Cristo...??)
+1
level 41
Feb 25, 2018
Nothing by Dr. Suess. Outrageous!
+2
level 53
Jul 14, 2018
No To Kill a Mockingbird? Wow. Can't believe this isn't listed.
+1
level 49
Jul 20, 2018
This list was far from my taste and seemed to have a distinctly Euro slant to it. The Russian and German novelists bore me to tears, maybe it's a cultural thing. I'd have added To Kill a Mockingbird--the most shocking omission in my opinion, the Lord of the Rings, Sometimes a Great Notion (better than One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), the House of the Seven Gables instead of the Scarlet Letter and in Cold Blood.
+3
level 58
Jul 20, 2018
Surprised at no Alexandre Dumas on the list; personally one of my favorite novels of all-time is "The Count of Monte Cristo". I was also hoping to see "The Three Musketeers".
+2
level 71
Sep 21, 2018
Looking at this list, I just can’t work out how the compiler defines ‘great’
+2
level 75
Nov 29, 2018
Well, clearly, the compiler sat down and listed the first 100 novels he could think of.
+1
level 51
Sep 21, 2018
You should add To Kill A Mockingbird, The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Sense and Sensibility.
+1
level 44
Nov 9, 2019
While I agree To Kill a Mockingbird should be added, Homer's works are considered epic poems, not novels. Nonetheless, they are all great literary works.
+1
level 67
Sep 21, 2018
Ugh, how did I end up defending Harry Potter so much in these comments? I don't even like them that much, but the backlash they're getting is a little ridiculous.
+1
level 64
Jun 5, 2019
I agree, I think some people think it is cool to be totally against something, which might not be as great as some people make it out to be ( bigger fandoms than you would expect) but not nearly as bad as others make it out to be. I guess they are trying to overcompensate or something, when someone says it is good, I must say it is horrible. (when in reality it is more like, not bad at all)

obviously tastes differ, but yea some reactions are over the top. Like they take it personal (same thing happens on the subject of singers, instead of simply saying they are not good or "meh" at best, they get demonised like it is the worst thing that ever happened to the world)

+1
level 64
Jun 5, 2019
Maybe it is like a highschool clique thing, you must either completely for something or in the other group and completely against it. Have to pick a side to stay with the "in-crowd"
+1
level 75
Nov 28, 2018
I get that the lister loves him some Henry James, but listing him 7 times seems more than extreme. Really? No wonder the lister couldn't find room for Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five," or Huxley's "Brave New World!" And where is "To Kill a Mockingbird?"
+1
level 58
Dec 29, 2018
No Thomas Wolfe?
+1
level 49
Apr 8, 2019
This is a VERY idiosyncratic list. Not really quibbling but so much Henry James! And HOUNDS of the Baskervilles doesn't fly, really?
+1
level 76
Apr 21, 2019
Titles like "Tale of Two Cities" don't work for A Tale of Two Cities?
+1
level 64
Jun 5, 2019
Whattt no terry pratchet?? Outrageous, I will just have to move to a different universe, cause this will not do...
+1
level 76
Jul 19, 2019
Surprised to see Stendhal so little known, but glad to see him highly rated, even if I don't much like or agree with this list. It took me a while to warm to him, but his novels are very enjoyable and clever.
+1
level 57
Aug 13, 2019
All the good names for books have already been used. If I wrote a novel today I would have to name it something stupid like The Fingers and The Toes.
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