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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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AMERICAN FICTION 1997

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.ParadiseToni Morrison199716.89
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 305 (5.67 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 927 (5.56 points) | American Literature: 11 (1.98 points) | American Literary History: 18 (3.67 points)
2Mark as read.UnderworldDon DeLillo199713.95
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 377 (6.06 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 241 (3.69 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 13 (3.20 points)
3Mark as read.American PastoralPhilip Roth199713.68
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 294 (5.61 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 270 (3.82 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 7 (2.42 points)
4Mark as read.The ActualSaul Bellow19979.61
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 463 (4.52 points) | American Literature: 6 (1.50 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
5Mark as read.The Man Made of WordsN. Scott Momaday19979.57
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 228 (5.18 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 101 (2.77 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.Tropic of OrangeKaren Tei Yamashita19977.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 82 (3.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 7 (2.42 points)
7Mark as read.Cold MountainCharles Frazier19977.67
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 112 (4.10 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.Straight ManRichard Russo19975.84
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 53 (3.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
9Mark as read.Blu's HangingLois-Ann Yamanaka19975.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
10Mark as read.Tales of Burning LoveLouise Erdrich19975.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 49 (3.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Mistress of SpicesChitra Banerjee Divakaruni19975.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 85 (3.74 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.NicolaeTim LaHaye19974.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 36 (2.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Gone Fishin'Walter Mosley19974.32
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.Always Outnumbered, Always OutgunnedWalter Mosley19974.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Hotline HealersGerald Vizenor19973.81
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 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.The Gospel According to the SonNorman Mailer19973.51
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The InheritanceLouisa May Alcott19973.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.My IshmaelDaniel Quinn19973.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Almost No MemoryLydia Davis19973.42
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Bear Comes HomeRafi Zabor19973.24
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
21Mark as read.Memoirs of a GeishaArthur Golden19973.13
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Leave It to MeBharati Mukherjee19973.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Under the Red FlagHa Jin19972.94
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.FrenzyPercival Everett19972.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Cloud ChamberMichael Dorris19972.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.The Angel of DarknessCaleb Carr19972.57
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.Wizard And GlassStephen King19972.57
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 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.Lives of the Monster DogsKirsten Bakis19972.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.Bear and his DaughterRobert Stone19972.03
Genre: Mixed Genre

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.TimequakeKurt Vonnegut19971.72
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.The Aguero SistersCristina Garcia19971.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse WomanWalter M. Miller, Jr.19971.39
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.Man CrazyJoyce Carol Oates19971.24
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.An Acquaintance with DarknessAnn Rinaldi19971.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
35Mark as read.ResentmentGary Indiana19971.09
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
36Mark as read.The Deep Green SeaRobert Olen Butler19970.95
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.Paradise (1997)
Toni Morrison
16.89
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 305 (5.67 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 927 (5.56 points) | American Literature: 11 (1.98 points) | American Literary History: 18 (3.67 points)
2Mark as read.Underworld (1997)
Don DeLillo
13.95
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 377 (6.06 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 241 (3.69 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 13 (3.20 points)
3Mark as read.American Pastoral (1997)
Philip Roth
13.68
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 294 (5.61 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 270 (3.82 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 7 (2.42 points)
4Mark as read.The Actual (1997)
Saul Bellow
9.61
Genre: Novella

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 463 (4.52 points) | American Literature: 6 (1.50 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
5Mark as read.The Man Made of Words (1997)
N. Scott Momaday
9.57
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 228 (5.18 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 101 (2.77 points) | American Literature: 2 (0.83 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.Tropic of Orange (1997)
Karen Tei Yamashita
7.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 82 (3.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 7 (2.42 points)
7Mark as read.Cold Mountain (1997)
Charles Frazier
7.67
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 112 (4.10 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.Straight Man (1997)
Richard Russo
5.84
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 53 (3.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
9Mark as read.Blu's Hanging (1997)
Lois-Ann Yamanaka
5.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
10Mark as read.Tales of Burning Love (1997)
Louise Erdrich
5.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 49 (3.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 50 (2.17 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Mistress of Spices (1997)
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
5.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 85 (3.74 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Nicolae (1997)
Tim LaHaye
4.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 36 (2.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Gone Fishin' (1997)
Walter Mosley
4.32
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (1997)
Walter Mosley
4.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Hotline Healers (1997)
Gerald Vizenor
3.81
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 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.The Gospel According to the Son (1997)
Norman Mailer
3.51
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The Inheritance (1997)
Louisa May Alcott
3.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 25 (1.67 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.My Ishmael (1997)
Daniel Quinn
3.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Almost No Memory (1997)
Lydia Davis
3.42
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 22 (1.59 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Bear Comes Home (1997)
Rafi Zabor
3.24
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
21Mark as read.Memoirs of a Geisha (1997)
Arthur Golden
3.13
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Leave It to Me (1997)
Bharati Mukherjee
3.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Under the Red Flag (1997)
Ha Jin
2.94
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Frenzy (1997)
Percival Everett
2.74
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 26 (1.70 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Cloud Chamber (1997)
Michael Dorris
2.69
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.The Angel of Darkness (1997)
Caleb Carr
2.57
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.Wizard And Glass (1997)
Stephen King
2.57
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 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.Lives of the Monster Dogs (1997)
Kirsten Bakis
2.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.Bear and his Daughter (1997)
Robert Stone
2.03
Genre: Mixed Genre

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Timequake (1997)
Kurt Vonnegut
1.72
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 27 (1.72 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.The Aguero Sisters (1997)
Cristina Garcia
1.65
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman (1997)
Walter M. Miller, Jr.
1.39
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.Man Crazy (1997)
Joyce Carol Oates
1.24
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.An Acquaintance with Darkness (1997)
Ann Rinaldi
1.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
35Mark as read.Resentment (1997)
Gary Indiana
1.09
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
36Mark as read.The Deep Green Sea (1997)
Robert Olen Butler
0.95
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 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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