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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 2002

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.MiddlesexJeffrey Eugenides200210.16
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 233 (5.21 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 65 (2.38 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
2Mark as read.Everything is IlluminatedJonathan Safran Foer20027.96
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 224 (5.15 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (2.02 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
3Mark as read.The Bondwoman's NarrativeHannah Crafts20027.17
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 128 (4.29 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 45 (2.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.The Secret Life of BeesSue Monk Kidd20026.54
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 130 (4.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.The Book of IllusionsPaul Auster20026.35
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 106 (4.03 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.The Lovely BonesAlice Sebold20025.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 117 (4.16 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.You Shall Know Our Velocity!Dave Eggers20024.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.Agape AgapeWilliam Gaddis20023.96
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Servants of the MapAndrea Barrett20023.87
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.When the Emperor Was DivineJulie Otsuka20023.68
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 54 (3.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The CrazedHa Jin20023.37
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 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.That Old Ace in the HoleAnnie Proulx20023.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The Little FriendDonna Tartt20023.17
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.EragonChristopher Paolini20023.15
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Three JunesJulia Glass20022.91
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Nanny DiariesEmma McLaughlin20022.75
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 36 (2.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.You Are Not a Stranger HereAdam Haslett20022.72
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.LullabyChuck Palahniuk20022.51
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)
19Mark as read.The Piano TunerDaniel Mason20022.46
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.July, JulyTim O'Brien20022.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Enemy WomenPaulette Jiles20021.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.SummerlandMichael Chabon20021.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Big IfMark Costello20021.55
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Blackwood FarmAnne Rice20021.47
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Train DreamsDenis Johnson20021.45
Genre: Novella

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
26Mark as read.The EcstaticVictor LaValle20021.27
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.The Whore's ChildRichard Russo20020.95
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

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)
28Mark as read.Basket CaseCarl Hiaasen20020.90
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.In the Hand of DanteNick Tosches20020.90
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 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.Child of My HeartAlice McDermott20020.63
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)
31Mark as read.Gorgeous LiesMartha McPhee20020.50
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.The Heaven of MercuryBrad Watson20020.50
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.Middlesex (2002)
Jeffrey Eugenides
10.16
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 233 (5.21 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 65 (2.38 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
2Mark as read.Everything is Illuminated (2002)
Jonathan Safran Foer
7.96
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 224 (5.15 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (2.02 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
3Mark as read.The Bondwoman's Narrative (2002)
Hannah Crafts
7.17
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 128 (4.29 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 45 (2.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.The Secret Life of Bees (2002)
Sue Monk Kidd
6.54
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 130 (4.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 17 (1.43 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.The Book of Illusions (2002)
Paul Auster
6.35
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 106 (4.03 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.The Lovely Bones (2002)
Alice Sebold
5.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 117 (4.16 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.You Shall Know Our Velocity! (2002)
Dave Eggers
4.45
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.Agape Agape (2002)
William Gaddis
3.96
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Servants of the Map (2002)
Andrea Barrett
3.87
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.When the Emperor Was Divine (2002)
Julie Otsuka
3.68
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 54 (3.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Crazed (2002)
Ha Jin
3.37
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 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.That Old Ace in the Hole (2002)
Annie Proulx
3.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The Little Friend (2002)
Donna Tartt
3.17
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Eragon (2002)
Christopher Paolini
3.15
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Three Junes (2002)
Julia Glass
2.91
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Nanny Diaries (2002)
Emma McLaughlin
2.75
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 36 (2.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.You Are Not a Stranger Here (2002)
Adam Haslett
2.72
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.Lullaby (2002)
Chuck Palahniuk
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)
19Mark as read.The Piano Tuner (2002)
Daniel Mason
2.46
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.July, July (2002)
Tim O'Brien
2.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Enemy Women (2002)
Paulette Jiles
1.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Summerland (2002)
Michael Chabon
1.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Big If (2002)
Mark Costello
1.55
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Blackwood Farm (2002)
Anne Rice
1.47
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Train Dreams (2002)
Denis Johnson
1.45
Genre: Novella

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
26Mark as read.The Ecstatic (2002)
Victor LaValle
1.27
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.The Whore's Child (2002)
Richard Russo
0.95
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

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)
28Mark as read.Basket Case (2002)
Carl Hiaasen
0.90
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
29Mark as read.In the Hand of Dante (2002)
Nick Tosches
0.90
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 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.Child of My Heart (2002)
Alice McDermott
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)
31Mark as read.Gorgeous Lies (2002)
Martha McPhee
0.50
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.The Heaven of Mercury (2002)
Brad Watson
0.50
Genre: Novel

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