The Greatest Books Of All Time : As Voted by 125 Famous Authors

Published March 26, 2013 by Shadow Girl

Originaly written by Maria Popova in the BRAIN PICKINGS Newsletter.
* Click HERE to see the original article in full *

“Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work,” Jennifer Egan once said. This intersection of reading and writing is both a necessary bi-directional life skill for us mere mortals and a secret of iconic writers’ success, as bespoken by their personal libraries. The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books asks 125 of modernity’s greatest British and American writers —including Norman Mailer, Ann Patchett, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, and Joyce Carol Oates — “to provide a list, ranked, in order, of what [they] consider the ten greatest works of fiction of all time–novels, story collections, plays, or poems.”

Of the 544 separate titles selected, each is assigned a reverse-order point value based on the number position at which it appears on any list — so, a book that tops a list at number one receives 10 points, and a book that graces the bottom, at number ten, receives 1 point.

★ TOP TEN WORKS OF THE 20TH CENTURY ★

1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
4. Ulysses* by James Joyce
5. Dubliners* by James Joyce
6. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
7. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
8. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
9. The complete stories of Flannery O’Connor
10. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

★ TOP TEN WORKS OF THE 19th CENTURY ★

1. Anna Karenina* by Leo Tolstoy
2. Madame Bovary* by Gustave Flaubert
3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
5. The stories of Anton Chekhov
6. Middlemarch* by George Eliot
7. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
8. Great Expectations* by Charles Dickens
9. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
10. Emma* by Jane Austen

★ TOP TEN AUTHORS BY NUMBER OF BOOKS SELECTED ★

1. William Shakespeare — 11
2. William Faulkner — 6
3. Henry James — 6
4. Jane Austen — 5
5. Charles Dickens — 5
6. Fyodor Dostoevsky — 5
7. Ernest Hemingway — 5
8. Franz Kafka — 5
9. (tie) James Joyce, Thomas Mann, Vladimir Nabokov, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf — 4

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★ TOP TEN AUTHORS BY POINTS EARNED ★

1. Leo Tolstoy — 327
2. William Shakespeare — 293
3. James Joyce — 194
4. Vladimir Nabokov — 190
5. Fyodor Dostoevsky — 177
6. William Faulkner — 173
7. Charles Dickens — 168
8. Anton Chekhov — 165
9. Gustave Flaubert — 163
10. Jane Austen — 161

As MARIA POPOVA went on to say… “As a nonfiction loyalist, I’d love a similar anthology of nonfiction favorites —then again, famous writers might wave a knowing finger and point me to the complex relationship between truth and fiction.”

*** Brain Pickings has, a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles.

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