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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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Althorithm Modifications

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AMERICAN FICTION 2003

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Da Vinci CodeDan Brown200312.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 926 (7.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 118 (2.92 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
2Mark as read.LoveToni Morrison200312.02*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 25 (2.39 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5298 (5.05 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 68 (1.78 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 76 (2.80 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: -87.36%
3Mark as read.The Known WorldEdward P. Jones20038.58
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 84 (3.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 47 (2.12 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
4Mark as read.CosmopolisDon DeLillo20038.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 196 (4.93 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 42 (2.04 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
5Mark as read.The Kite RunnerKhaled Hosseini20038.50
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 249 (5.32 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 65 (2.38 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.The NamesakeJhumpa Lahiri20038.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 335 (5.84 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.The Fortress of SolitudeJonathan Lethem20036.26
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 52 (3.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.The Book of SaltMonique Truong20036.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 74 (3.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
9Mark as read.Pattern RecognitionWilliam Gibson20036.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 58 (2.29 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
10Mark as read.The Great FireShirley Hazzard20035.23
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.The Time of Our SingingRichard Powers20035.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 45 (2.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.The Russian Debutante's HandbookGary Shteyngart20035.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.Ten Little IndiansSherman Alexie20034.80
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 61 (3.33 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Time Traveler's WifeAudrey Niffenegger20034.30
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 61 (3.33 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Devil Wears PradaLauren Weisberger20034.13
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 114 (4.13 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Five People You Meet in HeavenMitch Albom20034.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 75 (3.58 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The Dante ClubMatthew Pearl20034.04
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 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 Master Butchers Singing ClubLouise Erdrich20034.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Old SchoolTobias Wolff20033.78
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 36 (2.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.SymptomaticDanzy Senna20033.62
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
21Mark as read.Drop CityT. C. Boyle20033.53
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Lady and the UnicornTracy Chevalier20032.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 25 (2.39 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.QuicksilverNeal Stephenson20032.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Drinking Coffee ElsewhereZZ Packer20032.76
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Shutter IslandDennis Lehane20032.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.A Box of MatchesNicholson Baker20032.26
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 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.The Pleasure of My CompanySteve Martin20031.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.Evidence of Things UnseenMarianne Wiggins20031.90
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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.Villa IncognitoTom Robbins20031.78
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.The Commissariat of EnlightenmentKen Kalfus20031.67
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.FloridaChristine Schutt20031.64
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.SamaritanRichard Price20031.59
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.Uniform JusticeDonna Leon20031.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.Wolves Of The CallaStephen King20031.05
Genre: Novel

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)
35Mark as read.SacramentDave Eggers20031.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
36Mark as read.Lucky GirlsNell Freudenberger20031.02
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
37Mark as read.The King in the TreeSteven Millhauser20030.63
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

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)
38Mark as read.A Ship Made of PaperScott Spencer20030.50
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.The Da Vinci Code (2003)
Dan Brown
12.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 926 (7.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 118 (2.92 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
2Mark as read.Love (2003)
Toni Morrison
12.02*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 25 (2.39 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5298 (5.05 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 68 (1.78 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 76 (2.80 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: -87.36%
3Mark as read.The Known World (2003)
Edward P. Jones
8.58
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 84 (3.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 47 (2.12 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
4Mark as read.Cosmopolis (2003)
Don DeLillo
8.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 196 (4.93 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 42 (2.04 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
5Mark as read.The Kite Runner (2003)
Khaled Hosseini
8.50
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 249 (5.32 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 65 (2.38 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.The Namesake (2003)
Jhumpa Lahiri
8.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 335 (5.84 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
7Mark as read.The Fortress of Solitude (2003)
Jonathan Lethem
6.26
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 52 (3.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.The Book of Salt (2003)
Monique Truong
6.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 74 (3.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
9Mark as read.Pattern Recognition (2003)
William Gibson
6.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 58 (2.29 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 4 (1.83 points)
10Mark as read.The Great Fire (2003)
Shirley Hazzard
5.23
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.The Time of Our Singing (2003)
Richard Powers
5.09
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 45 (2.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.The Russian Debutante's Handbook (2003)
Gary Shteyngart
5.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
13Mark as read.Ten Little Indians (2003)
Sherman Alexie
4.80
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 61 (3.33 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Time Traveler's Wife (2003)
Audrey Niffenegger
4.30
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 61 (3.33 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.The Devil Wears Prada (2003)
Lauren Weisberger
4.13
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 114 (4.13 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2003)
Mitch Albom
4.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 75 (3.58 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The Dante Club (2003)
Matthew Pearl
4.04
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 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 Master Butchers Singing Club (2003)
Louise Erdrich
4.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Old School (2003)
Tobias Wolff
3.78
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 36 (2.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Symptomatic (2003)
Danzy Senna
3.62
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
21Mark as read.Drop City (2003)
T. C. Boyle
3.53
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Lady and the Unicorn (2003)
Tracy Chevalier
2.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 25 (2.39 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.Quicksilver (2003)
Neal Stephenson
2.88
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.Drinking Coffee Elsewhere (2003)
ZZ Packer
2.76
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Shutter Island (2003)
Dennis Lehane
2.72
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
26Mark as read.A Box of Matches (2003)
Nicholson Baker
2.26
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 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.The Pleasure of My Company (2003)
Steve Martin
1.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.Evidence of Things Unseen (2003)
Marianne Wiggins
1.90
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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.Villa Incognito (2003)
Tom Robbins
1.78
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.The Commissariat of Enlightenment (2003)
Ken Kalfus
1.67
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Florida (2003)
Christine Schutt
1.64
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Samaritan (2003)
Richard Price
1.59
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
33Mark as read.Uniform Justice (2003)
Donna Leon
1.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
34Mark as read.Wolves Of The Calla (2003)
Stephen King
1.05
Genre: Novel

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)
35Mark as read.Sacrament (2003)
Dave Eggers
1.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
36Mark as read.Lucky Girls (2003)
Nell Freudenberger
1.02
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
37Mark as read.The King in the Tree (2003)
Steven Millhauser
0.63
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

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)
38Mark as read.A Ship Made of Paper (2003)
Scott Spencer
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 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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