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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.The Color PurpleAlice Walker198220.89
2Mark as read.The NamesDon DeLillo198210.31
3Mark as read.The Women of Brewster PlaceGloria Naylor19829.00
4Mark as read.Dinner at the Homesick RestaurantAnne Tyler19827.63
5Mark as read.A Boy's Own StoryEdmund White19827.60
6Mark as read.Oxherding TaleCharles Johnson19827.19
7Mark as read.The Mists of AvalonMarion Zimmer Bradley19827.10
8Mark as read.Burning ChromeWilliam Gibson19826.61
9Mark as read.Shiloh and Other StoriesBobbie Ann Mason19825.89
10Mark as read.You Can't Keep a Good Woman DownAlice Walker19825.83
11Mark as read.God's GraceBernard Malamud19825.78
12Mark as read.SabbaticalJohn Barth19825.16
13Mark as read.The Mosquito CoastPaul Theroux19824.93
14Mark as read.The Terrible TwosIshmael Reed19824.87
15Mark as read.Deadeye DickKurt Vonnegut19824.77
16Mark as read.The Twofold VibrationRaymond Federman19824.39
17Mark as read.Oh What a Paradise It SeemsJohn Cheever19824.02
18Mark as read.Points in TimePaul Bowles19822.47
19Mark as read.The Valley of HorsesJean M. Auel19822.46
20Mark as read.Rabbis and WivesChaim Grade19822.38
21Mark as read.Cadillac JackLarry McMurtry19822.01
22Mark as read.Silence of the LlanoRudolfo Anaya19821.28
# Score
1Mark as read.The Color Purple (1982)
Alice Walker
20.89
2Mark as read.The Names (1982)
Don DeLillo
10.31
3Mark as read.The Women of Brewster Place (1982)
Gloria Naylor
9.00
4Mark as read.Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982)
Anne Tyler
7.63
5Mark as read.A Boy's Own Story (1982)
Edmund White
7.60
6Mark as read.Oxherding Tale (1982)
Charles Johnson
7.19
7Mark as read.The Mists of Avalon (1982)
Marion Zimmer Bradley
7.10
8Mark as read.Burning Chrome (1982)
William Gibson
6.61
9Mark as read.Shiloh and Other Stories (1982)
Bobbie Ann Mason
5.89
10Mark as read.You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down (1982)
Alice Walker
5.83
11Mark as read.God's Grace (1982)
Bernard Malamud
5.78
12Mark as read.Sabbatical (1982)
John Barth
5.16
13Mark as read.The Mosquito Coast (1982)
Paul Theroux
4.93
14Mark as read.The Terrible Twos (1982)
Ishmael Reed
4.87
15Mark as read.Deadeye Dick (1982)
Kurt Vonnegut
4.77
16Mark as read.The Twofold Vibration (1982)
Raymond Federman
4.39
17Mark as read.Oh What a Paradise It Seems (1982)
John Cheever
4.02
18Mark as read.Points in Time (1982)
Paul Bowles
2.47
19Mark as read.The Valley of Horses (1982)
Jean M. Auel
2.46
20Mark as read.Rabbis and Wives (1982)
Chaim Grade
2.38
21Mark as read.Cadillac Jack (1982)
Larry McMurtry
2.01
22Mark as read.Silence of the Llano (1982)
Rudolfo Anaya
1.28

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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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