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METACANON 0.7
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METACANON 0.7

This is not a greatest books list.

Metacanon is a database that offers an alternative to the genre of the greatest books list. Unlike lists compiled by individuals or small committees of experts, metacanon builds custom book lists by culling data from tens of thousands of scholarly texts. This data-driven approach results in a more comprehensive, flexible, and inclusive gateway into the canon(s).

Metacanon 0.7 is limited primarily to American fiction after 1800, but future updates will expand to include other areas, genres, and periods.

Use the menu below to generate your own version of the canon.

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19th Century
20th Century
1800 - Present
New York Times Archive

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Althorithm Modifications

Change the weight of these data points in order to change the shape of your canon.










# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.MeridianAlice Walker197613.55
2Mark as read.Flight to CanadaIshmael Reed197610.40
3Mark as read.RootsAlex Haley19769.99
4Mark as read.A River Runs Through ItNorman Maclean19769.88
5Mark as read.Interview with the VampireAnne Rice19768.52
6Mark as read.Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?Raymond Carver19767.63
7Mark as read.The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble KnightsJohn Steinbeck19766.93
8Mark as read.TritonSamuel R. Delany19766.85
9Mark as read.SlapstickKurt Vonnegut19766.68
10Mark as read.Ratner's StarDon DeLillo19766.28
11Mark as read.Even Cowgirls Get the BluesTom Robbins19766.08
12Mark as read.The Spectator BirdWallace Stegner19765.78
13Mark as read.Ordinary PeopleJudith Guest19765.16
14Mark as read.The Bicentennial ManIsaac Asimov19764.96
15Mark as read.Children of DuneFrank Herbert19764.55
16Mark as read.KinflicksLisa Alther19764.53
17Mark as read.TrinityLeon Uris19764.30
18Mark as read.Heart of AztlanRudolfo Anaya19764.22
19Mark as read.Chilly Scenes of WinterAnn Beattie19764.07
20Mark as read.Details of a SunsetVladimir Nabokov19763.80
21Mark as read.PatternmasterOctavia Butler19763.80
22Mark as read.The Great SantiniPat Conroy19763.79
23Mark as read.The Shattered ChainMarion Zimmer Bradley19763.71
24Mark as read.A Plain Brown RapperRita Mae Brown19763.70
25Mark as read.The Education of Little TreeForrest Carter19763.48
26Mark as read.Bottom DogsEdward Dahlberg19763.38
27Mark as read.A Piece of My HeartRichard Ford19763.33
28Mark as read.LoverBertha Harris19763.04
29Mark as read.DistortionsAnn Beattie19762.84
30Mark as read.SpeedboatRenata Adler19762.83
31Mark as read.The DeepPeter Benchley19761.98
32Mark as read.The BalloonistMacDonald Harris19761.55
# Score
1Mark as read.Meridian (1976)
Alice Walker
13.55
2Mark as read.Flight to Canada (1976)
Ishmael Reed
10.40
3Mark as read.Roots (1976)
Alex Haley
9.99
4Mark as read.A River Runs Through It (1976)
Norman Maclean
9.88
5Mark as read.Interview with the Vampire (1976)
Anne Rice
8.52
6Mark as read.Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (1976)
Raymond Carver
7.63
7Mark as read.The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976)
John Steinbeck
6.93
8Mark as read.Triton (1976)
Samuel R. Delany
6.85
9Mark as read.Slapstick (1976)
Kurt Vonnegut
6.68
10Mark as read.Ratner's Star (1976)
Don DeLillo
6.28
11Mark as read.Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976)
Tom Robbins
6.08
12Mark as read.The Spectator Bird (1976)
Wallace Stegner
5.78
13Mark as read.Ordinary People (1976)
Judith Guest
5.16
14Mark as read.The Bicentennial Man (1976)
Isaac Asimov
4.96
15Mark as read.Children of Dune (1976)
Frank Herbert
4.55
16Mark as read.Kinflicks (1976)
Lisa Alther
4.53
17Mark as read.Trinity (1976)
Leon Uris
4.30
18Mark as read.Heart of Aztlan (1976)
Rudolfo Anaya
4.22
19Mark as read.Chilly Scenes of Winter (1976)
Ann Beattie
4.07
20Mark as read.Details of a Sunset (1976)
Vladimir Nabokov
3.80
21Mark as read.Patternmaster (1976)
Octavia Butler
3.80
22Mark as read.The Great Santini (1976)
Pat Conroy
3.79
23Mark as read.The Shattered Chain (1976)
Marion Zimmer Bradley
3.71
24Mark as read.A Plain Brown Rapper (1976)
Rita Mae Brown
3.70
25Mark as read.The Education of Little Tree (1976)
Forrest Carter
3.48
26Mark as read.Bottom Dogs (1976)
Edward Dahlberg
3.38
27Mark as read.A Piece of My Heart (1976)
Richard Ford
3.33
28Mark as read.Lover (1976)
Bertha Harris
3.04
29Mark as read.Distortions (1976)
Ann Beattie
2.84
30Mark as read.Speedboat (1976)
Renata Adler
2.83
31Mark as read.The Deep (1976)
Peter Benchley
1.98
32Mark as read.The Balloonist (1976)
MacDonald Harris
1.55

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Include only:


Include only works published between and .

Althorithm Modifications

Change the weight of these data points in order to change the shape of your canon.








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N-gram Frequency Correction.

Titles consisting of words or phrases that are exceedingly common in the English language corpus (such as Stephen King's It or Joyce Carol Oates's them) tend to be overrepresented in search results, thus resulting in an articially inflated citation count. To counteract this tendency, Metacanon adjusts the scores for these works accordingly. Scores subjected to n-gram frequency correction are estimates only and are marked with an asterisk. N-gram freqencies are drawn from the Corpus of Contemporary American English, a project created by Mark Davies.


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Non-unique author Correction.

Books by authors with a non-unique name (for example "Winston Churchill," the American novelist) tend to be overrepresented in search results, thus resulting in an articially inflated citation count. To counteract this tendency, Metacanon adjusts the scores for these works accordingly. Scores subjected to non-unique author correction are estimates only and are marked with a dagger.


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