The Best 100 Books List

How The Books Were Ranked

Twelve great books lists were compiled. If a book appeared on a list, it was given one vote. Books in a series (such as the Harry Potter series were considered as one book, so that whether the Philosopher’s Stone or the Prisoner of Azkaban, etc. appeared on the list it was counted simply as “Harry Potter Series.” You can see that the wildly popular Harry Potter series received more votes than there were lists (12) and this is why.

Which makes the ten votes received by To Kill a Mockingbird stunning considering it is just one volume compared to the seven in the Harry Potter series. And yes, The Lord of the Rings, but remember that has three volumes, and we did see people voting for different particular volumes. One Hundred Years of Solitude did not surprise us as being wildly popular, but yowza! Eight votes!

Anything ranked above a seven we consider to be an all-out smash hit of staggering proportions; a must read; an incredible book of massive popularity. Not necessarily worthy of the ages… but worth a peek if nothing more than to understand the zeitgeist of the age.

Titles are listed in reverse alphabetical order according to the number of votes received. Titles receiving the same number of votes are of the same rank, so Anne Frank which received three votes is just as popular as Things Fall Apart, which also received three votes. Nearly one-third of the titles are ranked as having three votes.

So, if you will read this list and will be going to read something but not choosing exactly what book. Then simply read free book summary reviews to decide what to read first.

How The Lists Were Chosen

We aren’t interested in finding out which books two guys in a room (experts) thought were great. We want to find the vox populi.

We also did not want to compile a list of Great Books of the Western Canon. In other words, books that have had the most influence on western civilization. We may get to that later in the life of this blog, but for now, if you are interested in such things here is a list of lists of Great Books of the Western Canon.

Any list that was compiled by less than 100 people went out the window. This included the Modern Library list of 100 Great Novels as well as their 100 Great Non-Fiction Books.

This also includes NPR’s 100 Best Books list, because although they heard from 2000 people, they then had their expert panel “whittle” down the list, leaving us in the dark as to what was truly popular.

We came across list after list compiled by panels of “experts” and very few (12) that were true votes of the people. Even then we’re pretty sure that the opinion of experts has leaked into our list by way of school assignments, the herd effect and because one of our lists is a giant compilation of the recommendation of experts which we included because it was an enormous meta-list of more than 30,000 opinions, some of which were popular votes.

No list is going to perfectly reflect the voice of the people, but we will continue to polish our Great Books List using more data as it becomes available. Over time our list will mirror quite nicely what actual, everyday, average people find to be “great books.”

Now, finally, move on to our list!

Book Author Nationality Votes
1 Harry Potter Series J.K. Rowling English 16
2 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee American 10
3 The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien English 9
4 One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez Columbian 8
5 Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen English 7
6 The Odyssey Homer Greek 7
7 The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald American 7
8 Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger American 7
9 Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell English 7
10 Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte English 6
11 Ulysses James Joyce Irish 6
12 Twilight Saga Stephanie Meyer American 6
13 The Hobbit J.R.R. Tolkien English 6
14 The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck American 6
15 Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell American 6
16 Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky Russian 6
17 Catch-22 Joseph Heller American 6
18 Beloved Toni Morrison American 6
19 Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy Russian 6
20 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain American 6
21 War and Peace Leo Tolstoy Russian 5
22 A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens English 5
23 Stand Stephen King American 5
24 Slaughterhouse Five Kurt Vonnegut American 5
25 The Scarlett Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne American 5
26 Rebecca Daphne du Maurier English 5
27 Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck American 5
28 Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie English 5
29 The Lord of the Flies William Golding English 5
30 Lolita Vladimir Nabokov Russian 5
31 Life of Pi Yann Martel Canadian 5
32 Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte English 5
33 The Illiad Homer Greek 5
34 Hunger Games Series Suzanne Collins American 5
35 Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams English 5
36 His Dark Materials Philip Pullman English 5
37 The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood Canadian 5
38 Great Expectations Charles Dickens English 5
39 Frankenstein Mary Shelley English 5
40 Fifty Shades Series E.L. James English 5
41 Emma Jane Austen English 5
42 The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas French 5
43 The Chronicles of Narnia C.S. Lewis Irish 5
44 Brave New World Aldous Huxley English 5
45 Animal Farm George Orwell English 5
46 The Alchemist Paulo Coelho Brazilian 5
47 The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame Scottish 4
48 Watership Down Richard Adams English 4
49 The Trial Franz Kafka Czech/German 4
50 To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf English 4
51 The Stranger Albert Camus French 4
52 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce Irish 4
53 On the Road Jack Kerouac American 4
54 Middlemarch George Eliot English 4
55 Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden American 4
56 Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert French 4
57 Love in the Time of Cholera Gabriel Garcia Marquez Columbian 4
58 Les Miserables Victor Hugo French 4
59 Dune Frank Herbert American 4
60 Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes Spanish 4
61 The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky Russian 4
62 A Prayer for Owen Meany John Irving American 4
63 Anne of Green Gables L.M. Montgomery Canadian 4
64 Alices Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll English 4
65 A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess English 4
66 Tin Drum Gunter Grass German 3
67 The Time Travelers Wife Audrey Niffenegger American 3
68 Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe Nigerian 3
69 Tess of the D’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy English 3
70 The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner American 3
71 Sons and Lovers D.H. Lawrence English 3
72 Siddhartha  Herman Hesse German/Swiss 3
73 The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett English-American 3
74 The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver American 3
75 The Pillars of the Earth Ken Follett Welsh/English 3
76 Persuasion Jane Austen English 3
77 The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway American 3
78 Oedipus the King Sophocles Greek 3
79 The Name of the Rose Umberto Eco Italian 3
80 Moby Dick Herman Melville American 3
81 Little Women Lousia May Alcott American 3
82 The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini Afghan/American 3
83 The Invisible Man Ralph Ellison American 3
84 The Bible Various Israel 3
85 Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad Polish 3
86 Hamlet William Shakespeare English 3
87 Fountainhead Ayn Rand American 3
88 Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury American 3
89 Enders Game Scott Orson Card American 3
90 East of Eden John Steinbeck American 3
91 Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri Italian 3
92 The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown American 3
93 David Copperfield Charles Dickens English 3
94 The Color Purple Alice Walker American 3
95 Charlottes Web E.B. White American 3
96 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis de Bernieres English 3
97 The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer English 3
98 Bridget Jone’s Diary: A Novel Helen Fielding English 3
99 Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh English 3
100 The Book Thief Markus Zusak Australian 3

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.
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