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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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Change the weight of these data points in order to change the shape of your canon.









AMERICAN FICTION 1995

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.Native SpeakerChang-rae Lee19959.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 140 (4.42 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 65 (2.38 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 8 (2.58 points)
2Mark as read.Sabbath's TheaterPhilip Roth19958.50
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 89 (3.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 67 (2.41 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
3Mark as read.Left BehindTim LaHaye19958.37
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 208 (5.03 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 46 (2.11 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
4Mark as read.Reservation BluesSherman Alexie19957.58
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 160 (4.62 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 69 (2.43 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Independence DayRichard Ford19957.30
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 70 (3.49 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (2.02 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.The Diamond AgeNeal Stephenson19956.92
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 286 (5.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.MooJane Smiley19955.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 53 (3.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.The Stories of Vladimir NabokovVladimir Nabokov19955.96
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 94 (3.87 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 45 (2.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The Tortilla CurtainT. C. Boyle19955.70
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 111 (4.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.The Hundred Secret SensesAmy Tan19955.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 131 (4.32 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.WickedGregory Maguire19955.59
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 111 (4.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Lost WorldMichael Crichton19954.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 57 (3.25 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 23 (1.62 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.ZombieJoyce Carol Oates19954.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 47 (2.12 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Complete StoriesDorothy Parker19954.67
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.Complete StoriesZora Neale Hurston19954.53
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 38 (2.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Bloodchild and Other StoriesOctavia Butler19954.42
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 45 (2.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Wonder BoysMichael Chabon19954.14
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
18Mark as read.In the CutSusanna Moore19954.04
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
19Mark as read.American KneesShawn Wong19953.80
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Mr. Ives' ChristmasOscar Hijuelos19953.61
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.My Education: A Book of DreamsWilliam S. Burroughs19953.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.KatherineAnchee Min19953.03
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Flesh and BloodMichael Cunningham19953.03
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.The Grandmothers' ClubAlan Cheuse19952.71
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
25Mark as read.The Giant's HouseElizabeth McCracken19952.68
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.RL's DreamWalter Mosley19952.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.AtticusRon Hansen19951.83
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.Trinity FieldsBradford Morrow19951.67
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.High Tide in TucsonBarbara Kingsolver19951.50
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Five Minutes in HeavenLisa Alther19951.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.The River Beyond the WorldJanet Peery19950.82
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.Native Speaker (1995)
Chang-rae Lee
9.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 140 (4.42 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 65 (2.38 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 8 (2.58 points)
2Mark as read.Sabbath's Theater (1995)
Philip Roth
8.50
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 89 (3.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 67 (2.41 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
3Mark as read.Left Behind (1995)
Tim LaHaye
8.37
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 208 (5.03 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 46 (2.11 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
4Mark as read.Reservation Blues (1995)
Sherman Alexie
7.58
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 160 (4.62 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 69 (2.43 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Independence Day (1995)
Richard Ford
7.30
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 70 (3.49 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (2.02 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.The Diamond Age (1995)
Neal Stephenson
6.92
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 286 (5.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Moo (1995)
Jane Smiley
5.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 53 (3.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov (1995)
Vladimir Nabokov
5.96
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 94 (3.87 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 45 (2.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The Tortilla Curtain (1995)
T. C. Boyle
5.70
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 111 (4.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.The Hundred Secret Senses (1995)
Amy Tan
5.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 131 (4.32 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.Wicked (1995)
Gregory Maguire
5.59
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 111 (4.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Lost World (1995)
Michael Crichton
4.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 57 (3.25 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 23 (1.62 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Zombie (1995)
Joyce Carol Oates
4.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 47 (2.12 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Complete Stories (1995)
Dorothy Parker
4.67
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.Complete Stories (1995)
Zora Neale Hurston
4.53
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 38 (2.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995)
Octavia Butler
4.42
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 45 (2.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Wonder Boys (1995)
Michael Chabon
4.14
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
18Mark as read.In the Cut (1995)
Susanna Moore
4.04
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
19Mark as read.American Knees (1995)
Shawn Wong
3.80
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Mr. Ives' Christmas (1995)
Oscar Hijuelos
3.61
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.My Education: A Book of Dreams (1995)
William S. Burroughs
3.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Katherine (1995)
Anchee Min
3.03
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Flesh and Blood (1995)
Michael Cunningham
3.03
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.The Grandmothers' Club (1995)
Alan Cheuse
2.71
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
25Mark as read.The Giant's House (1995)
Elizabeth McCracken
2.68
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.RL's Dream (1995)
Walter Mosley
2.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.Atticus (1995)
Ron Hansen
1.83
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.Trinity Fields (1995)
Bradford Morrow
1.67
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.High Tide in Tucson (1995)
Barbara Kingsolver
1.50
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Five Minutes in Heaven (1995)
Lisa Alther
1.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.The River Beyond the World (1995)
Janet Peery
0.82
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 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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