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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.White NoiseDon DeLillo198516.02
2Mark as read.Blood MeridianCormac McCarthy198511.90
3Mark as read.Annie JohnJamaica Kincaid19859.59
4Mark as read.In CountryBobbie Ann Mason19859.38
5Mark as read.Lonesome DoveLarry McMurtry19858.21
6Mark as read.The Accidental TouristAnne Tyler19857.54
7Mark as read.Continental DriftRussell Banks19857.49
8Mark as read.Less than ZeroBret Easton Ellis19857.15
9Mark as read.The Vampire LestatAnne Rice19857.02
10Mark as read.Ender's GameOrson Scott Card19856.98
11Mark as read.Carpenter's GothicWilliam Gaddis19856.82
12Mark as read.Linden HillsGloria Naylor19856.74
13Mark as read.GalapagosKurt Vonnegut19856.68
14Mark as read.DarknessBharati Mukherjee19856.47
15Mark as read.The Prague OrgyPhilip Roth19856.36
16Mark as read.The Cider House RulesJohn Irving19856.28
17Mark as read.QueerWilliam S. Burroughs19855.52
18Mark as read.SchismatrixBruce Sterling19855.49
19Mark as read.Betsey BrownNtozake Shange19855.08
20Mark as read.The Beans of Egypt, MaineCarolyn Chute19854.20
21Mark as read.Other WomenLisa Alther19853.82
22Mark as read.DogsongGary Paulsen19853.73
23Mark as read.ContactCarl Sagan19853.72
24Mark as read.The Fifth SonElie Wiesel19853.59
25Mark as read.Davita's HarpChaim Potok19853.36
26Mark as read.The ClassErich Segal19852.82
27Mark as read.Walk Me to the DistancePercival Everett19852.81
28Mark as read.Days Between StationsSteve Erickson19852.50
29Mark as read.The Mammoth HuntersJean M. Auel19852.49
30Mark as read.Waiting for the End of the WorldMadison Smartt Bell19852.09
31Mark as read.The Cat Who Walks Through WallsRobert Heinlein19851.94
32Mark as read.Death Is a Lonely BusinessRay Bradbury19851.80
33Mark as read.Song of KaliDan Simmons19851.67
# Score
1Mark as read.White Noise (1985)
Don DeLillo
16.02
2Mark as read.Blood Meridian (1985)
Cormac McCarthy
11.90
3Mark as read.Annie John (1985)
Jamaica Kincaid
9.59
4Mark as read.In Country (1985)
Bobbie Ann Mason
9.38
5Mark as read.Lonesome Dove (1985)
Larry McMurtry
8.21
6Mark as read.The Accidental Tourist (1985)
Anne Tyler
7.54
7Mark as read.Continental Drift (1985)
Russell Banks
7.49
8Mark as read.Less than Zero (1985)
Bret Easton Ellis
7.15
9Mark as read.The Vampire Lestat (1985)
Anne Rice
7.02
10Mark as read.Ender's Game (1985)
Orson Scott Card
6.98
11Mark as read.Carpenter's Gothic (1985)
William Gaddis
6.82
12Mark as read.Linden Hills (1985)
Gloria Naylor
6.74
13Mark as read.Galapagos (1985)
Kurt Vonnegut
6.68
14Mark as read.Darkness (1985)
Bharati Mukherjee
6.47
15Mark as read.The Prague Orgy (1985)
Philip Roth
6.36
16Mark as read.The Cider House Rules (1985)
John Irving
6.28
17Mark as read.Queer (1985)
William S. Burroughs
5.52
18Mark as read.Schismatrix (1985)
Bruce Sterling
5.49
19Mark as read.Betsey Brown (1985)
Ntozake Shange
5.08
20Mark as read.The Beans of Egypt, Maine (1985)
Carolyn Chute
4.20
21Mark as read.Other Women (1985)
Lisa Alther
3.82
22Mark as read.Dogsong (1985)
Gary Paulsen
3.73
23Mark as read.Contact (1985)
Carl Sagan
3.72
24Mark as read.The Fifth Son (1985)
Elie Wiesel
3.59
25Mark as read.Davita's Harp (1985)
Chaim Potok
3.36
26Mark as read.The Class (1985)
Erich Segal
2.82
27Mark as read.Walk Me to the Distance (1985)
Percival Everett
2.81
28Mark as read.Days Between Stations (1985)
Steve Erickson
2.50
29Mark as read.The Mammoth Hunters (1985)
Jean M. Auel
2.49
30Mark as read.Waiting for the End of the World (1985)
Madison Smartt Bell
2.09
31Mark as read.The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1985)
Robert Heinlein
1.94
32Mark as read.Death Is a Lonely Business (1985)
Ray Bradbury
1.80
33Mark as read.Song of Kali (1985)
Dan Simmons
1.67

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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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