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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
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1800 - Present
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AMERICAN FICTION 1976

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.MeridianAlice Walker197613.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 182 (4.82 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 331 (4.07 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 10 (2.85 points)
2Mark as read.RootsAlex Haley197611.30*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 617 (7.04 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 210 (2.83 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 5 (1.43 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.

N-gram Frequency Correction: -49.02%
3Mark as read.Flight to CanadaIshmael Reed197610.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 146 (4.48 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 109 (2.85 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
4Mark as read.A River Runs Through ItNorman Maclean19769.88
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 268 (5.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 64 (2.37 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
5Mark as read.Interview with the VampireAnne Rice19768.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 314 (5.73 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?Raymond Carver19767.63
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 85 (3.74 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble KnightsJohn Steinbeck19766.93
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 77 (3.61 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 57 (2.27 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.TritonSamuel R. Delany19766.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 95 (2.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
9Mark as read.SlapstickKurt Vonnegut19766.68
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 46 (3.01 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 86 (2.63 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Ratner's StarDon DeLillo19766.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 38 (2.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 56 (2.26 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.Even Cowgirls Get the BluesTom Robbins19766.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 122 (4.22 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Spectator BirdWallace Stegner19765.78
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Ordinary PeopleJudith Guest19765.16
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 63 (3.37 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Bicentennial ManIsaac Asimov19764.96
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 76 (3.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Children of DuneFrank Herbert19764.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 42 (2.91 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.KinflicksLisa Alther19764.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.TrinityLeon Uris19764.30
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 49 (2.15 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.Heart of AztlanRudolfo Anaya19764.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 35 (2.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Chilly Scenes of WinterAnn Beattie19764.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
20Mark as read.Details of a SunsetVladimir Nabokov19763.80
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 23 (1.62 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.PatternmasterOctavia Butler19763.80
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Great SantiniPat Conroy19763.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.The Shattered ChainMarion Zimmer Bradley19763.71
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.A Plain Brown RapperRita Mae Brown19763.70
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 38 (2.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.The Education of Little TreeForrest Carter19763.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
26Mark as read.LoverBertha Harris19763.42*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 53 (1.79 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.

N-gram Frequency Correction: -43.39%
27Mark as read.Bottom DogsEdward Dahlberg19763.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.A Piece of My HeartRichard Ford19763.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.In Her DayRita Mae Brown19762.97
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
30Mark as read.DistortionsAnn Beattie19762.84
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.SpeedboatRenata Adler19762.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.The DeepPeter Benchley19761.98
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.Orsinian TalesUrsula K. Le Guin19761.82
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.The BalloonistMacDonald Harris19761.55
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
35Mark as read.A Fine RomanceCynthia Propper Seton19761.13
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.Meridian (1976)
Alice Walker
13.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 182 (4.82 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 331 (4.07 points) | American Literature: 9 (1.81 points) | American Literary History: 10 (2.85 points)
2Mark as read.Roots (1976)
Alex Haley
11.30*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 617 (7.04 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 210 (2.83 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 5 (1.43 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.

N-gram Frequency Correction: -49.02%
3Mark as read.Flight to Canada (1976)
Ishmael Reed
10.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 146 (4.48 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 109 (2.85 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
4Mark as read.A River Runs Through It (1976)
Norman Maclean
9.88
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 268 (5.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 64 (2.37 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
5Mark as read.Interview with the Vampire (1976)
Anne Rice
8.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 314 (5.73 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (1976)
Raymond Carver
7.63
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 85 (3.74 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976)
John Steinbeck
6.93
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 77 (3.61 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 57 (2.27 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Triton (1976)
Samuel R. Delany
6.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 95 (2.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
9Mark as read.Slapstick (1976)
Kurt Vonnegut
6.68
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 46 (3.01 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 86 (2.63 points) | American Literature: 3 (1.04 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Ratner's Star (1976)
Don DeLillo
6.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 38 (2.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 56 (2.26 points) | American Literature: 4 (1.22 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976)
Tom Robbins
6.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 122 (4.22 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Spectator Bird (1976)
Wallace Stegner
5.78
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Ordinary People (1976)
Judith Guest
5.16
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 63 (3.37 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Bicentennial Man (1976)
Isaac Asimov
4.96
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 76 (3.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Children of Dune (1976)
Frank Herbert
4.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 42 (2.91 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Kinflicks (1976)
Lisa Alther
4.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Trinity (1976)
Leon Uris
4.30
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 49 (2.15 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.Heart of Aztlan (1976)
Rudolfo Anaya
4.22
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 35 (2.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Chilly Scenes of Winter (1976)
Ann Beattie
4.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
20Mark as read.Details of a Sunset (1976)
Vladimir Nabokov
3.80
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 23 (1.62 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Patternmaster (1976)
Octavia Butler
3.80
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 33 (1.86 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Great Santini (1976)
Pat Conroy
3.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.The Shattered Chain (1976)
Marion Zimmer Bradley
3.71
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.A Plain Brown Rapper (1976)
Rita Mae Brown
3.70
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 38 (2.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.The Education of Little Tree (1976)
Forrest Carter
3.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
26Mark as read.Lover (1976)
Bertha Harris
3.42*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 53 (1.79 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.

N-gram Frequency Correction: -43.39%
27Mark as read.Bottom Dogs (1976)
Edward Dahlberg
3.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.A Piece of My Heart (1976)
Richard Ford
3.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.In Her Day (1976)
Rita Mae Brown
2.97
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
30Mark as read.Distortions (1976)
Ann Beattie
2.84
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Speedboat (1976)
Renata Adler
2.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.The Deep (1976)
Peter Benchley
1.98
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.Orsinian Tales (1976)
Ursula K. Le Guin
1.82
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.The Balloonist (1976)
MacDonald Harris
1.55
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
35Mark as read.A Fine Romance (1976)
Cynthia Propper Seton
1.13
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)

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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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