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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 1998

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Poisonwood BibleBarbara Kingsolver19989.32
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 270 (5.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
2Mark as read.Mason and DixonThomas Pynchon19988.57
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 185 (4.84 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.The HoursMichael Cunningham19988.50
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 172 (4.73 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.Cities of the PlainCormac McCarthy19987.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 102 (3.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 93 (2.70 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.My Year of MeatsRuth Ozeki19987.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 109 (4.07 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
6Mark as read.I Married a CommunistPhilip Roth19987.34
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 116 (4.15 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 153 (3.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.CaucasiaDanzy Senna19986.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 85 (3.74 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.The Antelope WifeLouise Erdrich19985.81
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 80 (3.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 49 (2.15 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.DreamerCharles Johnson19985.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 71 (2.46 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.GlamoramaBret Easton Ellis19985.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 59 (3.29 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.Parable of the TalentsOctavia Butler19985.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 61 (3.33 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.CloudsplitterRussell Banks19985.00
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.The HealingGayl Jones19984.81
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 53 (2.22 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Kaaterskill FallsAllegra Goodman19984.29
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
15Mark as read.Yo-Yo Boing!Giannina Braschi19984.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 35 (2.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Charming BillyAlice McDermott19984.10
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.CavedwellerDorothy Allison19983.89
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.By The Light of My Father's SmileAlice Walker19983.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 52 (3.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Eccentric NeighborhoodsRosario Ferre19983.86
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 25 (2.39 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Tomcat in LoveTim O'Brien19983.35
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
21Mark as read.Black and BlueAnna Quindlen19983.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Men of Brewster PlaceGloria Naylor19983.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 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.The Vampire ArmandAnne Rice19983.16
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Digital FortressDan Brown19983.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 38 (2.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.DefianceCarole Maso19983.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.The Cambridge QuintetJohn L. Casti19983.00
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.The Store of a Million ItemsMichelle Cliff19982.91
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.Ghost TownRobert Coover19982.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.In the PondHa Jin19982.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 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.The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie NewtonJane Smiley19982.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 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 Voyage of the NarwhalAndrea Barrett19982.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Blue LightWalter Mosley19982.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.A Widow for One YearJohn Irving19982.67
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.The Rum DiaryHunter S. Thompson19982.52
Genre: Novel

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)
35Mark as read.Midnight MagicBobbie Ann Mason19982.09
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
36Mark as read.EveningSusan Minot19981.90*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (0.85 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: -73.16%
37Mark as read.FreedomlandRichard Price19981.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
38Mark as read.My Heart Laid BareJoyce Carol Oates19981.09
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)
# Score
1Mark as read.The Poisonwood Bible (1998)
Barbara Kingsolver
9.32
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 270 (5.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 30 (1.79 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
2Mark as read.Mason and Dixon (1998)
Thomas Pynchon
8.57
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 185 (4.84 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.The Hours (1998)
Michael Cunningham
8.50
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 172 (4.73 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.Cities of the Plain (1998)
Cormac McCarthy
7.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 102 (3.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 93 (2.70 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.My Year of Meats (1998)
Ruth Ozeki
7.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 109 (4.07 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 28 (1.75 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
6Mark as read.I Married a Communist (1998)
Philip Roth
7.34
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 116 (4.15 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 153 (3.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Caucasia (1998)
Danzy Senna
6.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 85 (3.74 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 40 (2.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.The Antelope Wife (1998)
Louise Erdrich
5.81
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 80 (3.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 49 (2.15 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Dreamer (1998)
Charles Johnson
5.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 71 (2.46 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.Glamorama (1998)
Bret Easton Ellis
5.48
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 59 (3.29 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.Parable of the Talents (1998)
Octavia Butler
5.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 61 (3.33 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.Cloudsplitter (1998)
Russell Banks
5.00
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.The Healing (1998)
Gayl Jones
4.81
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 53 (2.22 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Kaaterskill Falls (1998)
Allegra Goodman
4.29
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
15Mark as read.Yo-Yo Boing! (1998)
Giannina Braschi
4.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 35 (2.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Charming Billy (1998)
Alice McDermott
4.10
Genre: Mixed Genre

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Cavedweller (1998)
Dorothy Allison
3.89
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.By The Light of My Father's Smile (1998)
Alice Walker
3.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 52 (3.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Eccentric Neighborhoods (1998)
Rosario Ferre
3.86
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 25 (2.39 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Tomcat in Love (1998)
Tim O'Brien
3.35
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
21Mark as read.Black and Blue (1998)
Anna Quindlen
3.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Men of Brewster Place (1998)
Gloria Naylor
3.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 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.The Vampire Armand (1998)
Anne Rice
3.16
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Digital Fortress (1998)
Dan Brown
3.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 38 (2.80 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Defiance (1998)
Carole Maso
3.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 38 (1.96 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.The Cambridge Quintet (1998)
John L. Casti
3.00
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.The Store of a Million Items (1998)
Michelle Cliff
2.91
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.Ghost Town (1998)
Robert Coover
2.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.In the Pond (1998)
Ha Jin
2.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 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.The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton (1998)
Jane Smiley
2.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 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 Voyage of the Narwhal (1998)
Andrea Barrett
2.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Blue Light (1998)
Walter Mosley
2.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.A Widow for One Year (1998)
John Irving
2.67
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.The Rum Diary (1998)
Hunter S. Thompson
2.52
Genre: Novel

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)
35Mark as read.Midnight Magic (1998)
Bobbie Ann Mason
2.09
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
36Mark as read.Evening (1998)
Susan Minot
1.90*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Mixed Genre

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (0.85 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: -73.16%
37Mark as read.Freedomland (1998)
Richard Price
1.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
38Mark as read.My Heart Laid Bare (1998)
Joyce Carol Oates
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)

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Include only:

Include only works published between and .

Althorithm Modifications

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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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