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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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1800 - Present
New York Times Archive

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AMERICAN FICTION 1989

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Joy Luck ClubAmy Tan198911.85
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 814 (7.65 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 117 (2.92 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
2Mark as read.Tripmaster MonkeyMaxine Hong Kingston198911.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 236 (5.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 119 (2.93 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 10 (2.85 points)
3Mark as read.JasmineBharati Mukherjee198910.42
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 266 (5.44 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 118 (2.92 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
4Mark as read.The Mambo Kings Play Songs of LoveOscar Hijuelos19898.89
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 95 (3.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
5Mark as read.The Temple of My FamiliarAlice Walker19897.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 176 (4.76 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 60 (2.32 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Number the StarsLois Lowry19897.61
Genre: Novel, Other

Google Scholar: 304 (5.67 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Moon PalacePaul Auster19897.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 88 (3.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 77 (2.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.Billy BathgateE. L. Doctorow19895.94
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 31 (1.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
9Mark as read.The Ancient ChildN. Scott Momaday19895.64
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 85 (3.74 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.A Prayer for Owen MeanyJohn Irving19895.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 74 (3.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Bellarosa ConnectionSaul Bellow19895.16
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 36 (2.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.CloserDennis Cooper19894.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 56 (2.26 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.Girl with Curious HairDavid Foster Wallace19894.77
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.ImagoOctavia Butler19894.70
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 29 (2.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My HeartJoyce Carol Oates19894.40
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.A TheftSaul Bellow19894.05
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells AllAllan Gurganus19893.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.American AppetitesJoyce Carol Oates19893.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.The Terrible ThreesIshmael Reed19893.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 23 (1.62 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Love LifeBobbie Ann Mason19893.21
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 42 (2.04 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Crystal ExpressBruce Sterling19893.14
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.ChromosFelipe Alfau19893.02
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Dirty WorkLarry Brown19892.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.ParadiseElena Castedo19892.53
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.SpartinaJohn Casey19892.52
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.Sweet Diamond Dust and Other StoriesRosario Ferre19892.49
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.The Neon BibleJohn Kennedy Toole19892.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.HenceBrad Leithauser19892.00
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.One: A NovelRichard Bach19891.77
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.CavernsKen Kesey19891.32
Genre: Novel

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)
31Mark as read.Calm at Sunset, Calm at DawnPaul Watkins19891.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Secret HarmoniesAndrea Barrett19890.90
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.The Joy Luck Club (1989)
Amy Tan
11.85
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 814 (7.65 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 117 (2.92 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
2Mark as read.Tripmaster Monkey (1989)
Maxine Hong Kingston
11.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 236 (5.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 119 (2.93 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 10 (2.85 points)
3Mark as read.Jasmine (1989)
Bharati Mukherjee
10.42
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 266 (5.44 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 118 (2.92 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
4Mark as read.The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (1989)
Oscar Hijuelos
8.89
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 95 (3.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
5Mark as read.The Temple of My Familiar (1989)
Alice Walker
7.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 176 (4.76 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 60 (2.32 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Number the Stars (1989)
Lois Lowry
7.61
Genre: Novel, Other

Google Scholar: 304 (5.67 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 37 (1.94 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Moon Palace (1989)
Paul Auster
7.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 88 (3.78 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 77 (2.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.Billy Bathgate (1989)
E. L. Doctorow
5.94
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 31 (1.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
9Mark as read.The Ancient Child (1989)
N. Scott Momaday
5.64
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 85 (3.74 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989)
John Irving
5.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 74 (3.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Bellarosa Connection (1989)
Saul Bellow
5.16
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 36 (2.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Closer (1989)
Dennis Cooper
4.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 56 (2.26 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.Girl with Curious Hair (1989)
David Foster Wallace
4.77
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Imago (1989)
Octavia Butler
4.70
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 29 (2.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart (1989)
Joyce Carol Oates
4.40
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.A Theft (1989)
Saul Bellow
4.05
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (1989)
Allan Gurganus
3.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.American Appetites (1989)
Joyce Carol Oates
3.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.The Terrible Threes (1989)
Ishmael Reed
3.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 23 (1.62 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Love Life (1989)
Bobbie Ann Mason
3.21
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 42 (2.04 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Crystal Express (1989)
Bruce Sterling
3.14
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Chromos (1989)
Felipe Alfau
3.02
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Dirty Work (1989)
Larry Brown
2.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Paradise (1989)
Elena Castedo
2.53
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Spartina (1989)
John Casey
2.52
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.Sweet Diamond Dust and Other Stories (1989)
Rosario Ferre
2.49
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.The Neon Bible (1989)
John Kennedy Toole
2.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.Hence (1989)
Brad Leithauser
2.00
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.One: A Novel (1989)
Richard Bach
1.77
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Caverns (1989)
Ken Kesey
1.32
Genre: Novel

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)
31Mark as read.Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn (1989)
Paul Watkins
1.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Secret Harmonies (1989)
Andrea Barrett
0.90
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 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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