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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 1991

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.Almanac of the DeadLeslie Marmon Silko199112.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 402 (6.18 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 140 (3.09 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 9 (2.72 points)
2Mark as read.Bastard Out of CarolinaDorothy Allison199110.84
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 315 (5.73 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 109 (2.85 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.Mao IIDon DeLillo199110.82
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 206 (5.01 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 121 (2.95 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
4Mark as read.Dreaming in CubanCristina Garcia199110.79
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 340 (5.87 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 89 (2.66 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
5Mark as read.American PsychoBret Easton Ellis199110.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 364 (5.99 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 69 (2.43 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
6Mark as read.Woman Hollering CreekSandra Cisneros199110.54
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 390 (6.12 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 104 (2.80 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.How the Garcia Girls Lost Their AccentsJulia Alvarez19919.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 352 (5.93 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 88 (2.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.A Thousand AcresJane Smiley19918.66
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 186 (4.85 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (2.02 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
9Mark as read.The Heirs of ColumbusGerald Vizenor19918.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 100 (3.95 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 118 (2.92 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.Donald DukFrank Chin19917.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 81 (3.68 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 46 (2.11 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
11Mark as read.LilaRobert M. Pirsig19917.01
Genre: Novel, Other

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 404 (6.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Typical AmericanGish Jen19916.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 123 (4.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.The Kitchen God's WifeAmy Tan19916.51
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 179 (4.79 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Cracking IndiaBapsi Sidhwa19915.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 114 (4.13 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Crown of ColumbusLouise Erdrich19915.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 42 (2.91 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 58 (2.29 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Harlot's GhostNorman Mailer19915.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 31 (2.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The Sweet HereafterRussell Banks19914.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 57 (3.25 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Miraculous Day of Amalia GomezJohn Rechy19914.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
19Mark as read.The Last Voyage of Somebody the SailorJohn Barth19914.54
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 45 (2.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.MatingNorman Rush19914.51
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.A Red DeathWalter Mosley19914.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 27 (2.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (2.02 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Two Girls, Fat and ThinMary Gaitskill19913.92
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
23Mark as read.Pinocchio in VeniceRobert Coover19913.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 25 (2.39 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Outerbridge ReachRobert Stone19913.80
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.XenocideOrson Scott Card19913.70
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.Lost in the CityEdward P. Jones19913.47
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.He, She and ItMarge Piercy19913.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.The RiverGary Paulsen19912.80*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.42 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: -51.20%
29Mark as read.Ripley Under WaterPatricia Highsmith19912.51
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.AntoniettaJohn Hersey19911.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.JerniganDavid Gates19911.58
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Making HistoryCarolyn See19911.54
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.Finding the Green StoneAlice Walker19911.49
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.The Autobiography of My BodyDavid Guy19911.44
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
35Mark as read.Something to Remember Me BySaul Bellow19911.36
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
36Mark as read.The Middle KingdomAndrea Barrett19910.63
Genre: Novel

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.Almanac of the Dead (1991)
Leslie Marmon Silko
12.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 402 (6.18 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 140 (3.09 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 9 (2.72 points)
2Mark as read.Bastard Out of Carolina (1991)
Dorothy Allison
10.84
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 315 (5.73 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 109 (2.85 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.Mao II (1991)
Don DeLillo
10.82
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 206 (5.01 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 121 (2.95 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
4Mark as read.Dreaming in Cuban (1991)
Cristina Garcia
10.79
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 340 (5.87 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 89 (2.66 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
5Mark as read.American Psycho (1991)
Bret Easton Ellis
10.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 364 (5.99 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 69 (2.43 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
6Mark as read.Woman Hollering Creek (1991)
Sandra Cisneros
10.54
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 390 (6.12 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 104 (2.80 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (1991)
Julia Alvarez
9.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 352 (5.93 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 88 (2.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.A Thousand Acres (1991)
Jane Smiley
8.66
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 186 (4.85 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (2.02 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
9Mark as read.The Heirs of Columbus (1991)
Gerald Vizenor
8.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 100 (3.95 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 118 (2.92 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.Donald Duk (1991)
Frank Chin
7.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 81 (3.68 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 46 (2.11 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
11Mark as read.Lila (1991)
Robert M. Pirsig
7.01
Genre: Novel, Other

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 404 (6.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Typical American (1991)
Gish Jen
6.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 123 (4.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.The Kitchen God's Wife (1991)
Amy Tan
6.51
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 179 (4.79 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Cracking India (1991)
Bapsi Sidhwa
5.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 114 (4.13 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Crown of Columbus (1991)
Louise Erdrich
5.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 42 (2.91 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 58 (2.29 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Harlot's Ghost (1991)
Norman Mailer
5.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 31 (2.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The Sweet Hereafter (1991)
Russell Banks
4.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 57 (3.25 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez (1991)
John Rechy
4.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
19Mark as read.The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor (1991)
John Barth
4.54
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 45 (2.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Mating (1991)
Norman Rush
4.51
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.A Red Death (1991)
Walter Mosley
4.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 27 (2.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (2.02 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Two Girls, Fat and Thin (1991)
Mary Gaitskill
3.92
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
23Mark as read.Pinocchio in Venice (1991)
Robert Coover
3.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 25 (2.39 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Outerbridge Reach (1991)
Robert Stone
3.80
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Xenocide (1991)
Orson Scott Card
3.70
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.Lost in the City (1991)
Edward P. Jones
3.47
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.He, She and It (1991)
Marge Piercy
3.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.The River (1991)
Gary Paulsen
2.80*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.42 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: -51.20%
29Mark as read.Ripley Under Water (1991)
Patricia Highsmith
2.51
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Antonietta (1991)
John Hersey
1.61
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Jernigan (1991)
David Gates
1.58
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Making History (1991)
Carolyn See
1.54
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.Finding the Green Stone (1991)
Alice Walker
1.49
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.The Autobiography of My Body (1991)
David Guy
1.44
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
35Mark as read.Something to Remember Me By (1991)
Saul Bellow
1.36
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
36Mark as read.The Middle Kingdom (1991)
Andrea Barrett
0.63
Genre: Novel

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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