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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.JazzToni Morrison199218.17
2Mark as read.All the Pretty HorsesCormac McCarthy199212.02
3Mark as read.Snow CrashNeal Stephenson19929.87
4Mark as read.Possessing the Secret of JoyAlice Walker19929.79
5Mark as read.A Good Scent from a Strange MountainRobert Olen Butler19927.33
6Mark as read.Red MarsKim Stanley Robinson19927.10
7Mark as read.IshmaelDaniel Quinn19926.86
8Mark as read.LeviathanPaul Auster19926.79
9Mark as read.Bailey's CafeGloria Naylor19926.57
10Mark as read.Einstein's DreamsAlan Lightman19926.52
11Mark as read.Rising SunMichael Crichton19925.98
12Mark as read.The ForgottenElie Wiesel19925.74
13Mark as read.The Volcano LoverSusan Sontag19925.74
14Mark as read.Brazil-MaruKaren Tei Yamashita19925.63
15Mark as read.Waiting to ExhaleTerry McMillan19925.57
16Mark as read.The Secret HistoryDonna Tartt19925.21
17Mark as read.White ButterflyWalter Mosley19925.14
18Mark as read.The LivingAnnie Dillard19925.08
19Mark as read.Brightness FallsJay McInerney19925.03
20Mark as read.The Bridges of Madison CountyRobert James Waller19924.88
21Mark as read.Black WaterJoyce Carol Oates19924.58
22Mark as read.Operation Wandering SoulRichard Powers19924.31
23Mark as read.In the Presence of the SunN. Scott Momaday19924.22
24Mark as read.The Tale of the Body ThiefAnne Rice19923.83
25Mark as read.Before and AfterRosellen Brown19923.58
26Mark as read.The Pugilist at RestThom Jones19923.58
27Mark as read.VoxNicholson Baker19923.43
28Mark as read.Jesus' SonDenis Johnson19923.28
29Mark as read.Strong MotionJonathan Franzen19923.02
30Mark as read.Book: A NovelRobert Grudin19922.85
31Mark as read.Come to MeAmy Bloom19922.75
32Mark as read.Green Shadows, White WhaleRay Bradbury19922.61
33Mark as read.The CertificateIsaac Bashevis Singer19922.17
34Mark as read.Booked to DieJohn Dunning19922.07
35Mark as read.The Black EchoMichael Connelly19921.20
36Mark as read.Sailor SongKen Kesey19921.09
37Mark as read.For Love of the GameMichael Shaara19920.90
# Score
1Mark as read.Jazz (1992)
Toni Morrison
18.17
2Mark as read.All the Pretty Horses (1992)
Cormac McCarthy
12.02
3Mark as read.Snow Crash (1992)
Neal Stephenson
9.87
4Mark as read.Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992)
Alice Walker
9.79
5Mark as read.A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (1992)
Robert Olen Butler
7.33
6Mark as read.Red Mars (1992)
Kim Stanley Robinson
7.10
7Mark as read.Ishmael (1992)
Daniel Quinn
6.86
8Mark as read.Leviathan (1992)
Paul Auster
6.79
9Mark as read.Bailey's Cafe (1992)
Gloria Naylor
6.57
10Mark as read.Einstein's Dreams (1992)
Alan Lightman
6.52
11Mark as read.Rising Sun (1992)
Michael Crichton
5.98
12Mark as read.The Forgotten (1992)
Elie Wiesel
5.74
13Mark as read.The Volcano Lover (1992)
Susan Sontag
5.74
14Mark as read.Brazil-Maru (1992)
Karen Tei Yamashita
5.63
15Mark as read.Waiting to Exhale (1992)
Terry McMillan
5.57
16Mark as read.The Secret History (1992)
Donna Tartt
5.21
17Mark as read.White Butterfly (1992)
Walter Mosley
5.14
18Mark as read.The Living (1992)
Annie Dillard
5.08
19Mark as read.Brightness Falls (1992)
Jay McInerney
5.03
20Mark as read.The Bridges of Madison County (1992)
Robert James Waller
4.88
21Mark as read.Black Water (1992)
Joyce Carol Oates
4.58
22Mark as read.Operation Wandering Soul (1992)
Richard Powers
4.31
23Mark as read.In the Presence of the Sun (1992)
N. Scott Momaday
4.22
24Mark as read.The Tale of the Body Thief (1992)
Anne Rice
3.83
25Mark as read.Before and After (1992)
Rosellen Brown
3.58
26Mark as read.The Pugilist at Rest (1992)
Thom Jones
3.58
27Mark as read.Vox (1992)
Nicholson Baker
3.43
28Mark as read.Jesus' Son (1992)
Denis Johnson
3.28
29Mark as read.Strong Motion (1992)
Jonathan Franzen
3.02
30Mark as read.Book: A Novel (1992)
Robert Grudin
2.85
31Mark as read.Come to Me (1992)
Amy Bloom
2.75
32Mark as read.Green Shadows, White Whale (1992)
Ray Bradbury
2.61
33Mark as read.The Certificate (1992)
Isaac Bashevis Singer
2.17
34Mark as read.Booked to Die (1992)
John Dunning
2.07
35Mark as read.The Black Echo (1992)
Michael Connelly
1.20
36Mark as read.Sailor Song (1992)
Ken Kesey
1.09
37Mark as read.For Love of the Game (1992)
Michael Shaara
0.90

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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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