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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 2004

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Plot Against AmericaPhilip Roth200410.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 297 (5.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 172 (3.31 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
2Mark as read.GileadMarilynne Robinson20048.78
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 114 (4.13 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 67 (2.41 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.VillagesJohn Updike20046.34
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 89 (2.66 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
4Mark as read.OblivionDavid Foster Wallace20045.91
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 45 (2.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 48 (2.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.State of FearMichael Crichton20045.54
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 210 (5.04 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.ResistanceBarry Lopez20045.40*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 126 (2.34 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: 7 (1.68 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: -51.12%
7Mark as read.Oracle NightPaul Auster20045.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 48 (3.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.My Sister's KeeperJodi Picoult20044.54
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 107 (4.04 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.I Am Charlotte SimmonsTom Wolfe20044.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 96 (3.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.The Final SolutionMichael Chabon20044.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.The Jane Austen Book ClubKaren Joy Fowler20044.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 63 (3.37 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.War TrashHa Jin20044.13
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The News from ParaguayLily Tuck20043.66
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The DarlingRussell Banks20043.48
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: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.The FallsJoyce Carol Oates20043.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Heir to the Glimmering WorldCynthia Ozick20043.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The TaqwacoresMichael Muhammad Knight20043.03
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 47 (3.03 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Rule of FourIan Caldwell20042.51
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.Ideas of HeavenJoan Silber20042.36
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Amateur MarriageAnne Tyler20042.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.The EgyptologistArthur Phillips20041.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Sweet Land StoriesE. L. Doctorow20041.86
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Men and cartoons Jonathan Lethem20041.78
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 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.An Unfinished SeasonWard Just20041.71
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
25Mark as read.Song Of SusannahStephen King20041.47
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)
26Mark as read.Madeleine is SleepingSarah Shun-Lien Bynum20041.27
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 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.Skinny DipCarl Hiaasen20041.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 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.The Pacific and Other StoriesMark Helprin20040.95
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)
29Mark as read.Our KindKate Walbert20040.82
Genre: Novel, Collection of Short Stories

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)
30Mark as read.The Confessions of Max TivoliAndrew Sean Greer20040.71
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 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 Plot Against America (2004)
Philip Roth
10.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 297 (5.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 172 (3.31 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
2Mark as read.Gilead (2004)
Marilynne Robinson
8.78
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 114 (4.13 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 67 (2.41 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.Villages (2004)
John Updike
6.34
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 89 (2.66 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 5 (2.05 points)
4Mark as read.Oblivion (2004)
David Foster Wallace
5.91
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 45 (2.98 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 48 (2.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.State of Fear (2004)
Michael Crichton
5.54
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 210 (5.04 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Resistance (2004)
Barry Lopez
5.40*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 126 (2.34 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: 7 (1.68 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: -51.12%
7Mark as read.Oracle Night (2004)
Paul Auster
5.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 48 (3.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
8Mark as read.My Sister's Keeper (2004)
Jodi Picoult
4.54
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 107 (4.04 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.I Am Charlotte Simmons (2004)
Tom Wolfe
4.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 96 (3.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.The Final Solution (2004)
Michael Chabon
4.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.The Jane Austen Book Club (2004)
Karen Joy Fowler
4.19
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 63 (3.37 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.War Trash (2004)
Ha Jin
4.13
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The News from Paraguay (2004)
Lily Tuck
3.66
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Darling (2004)
Russell Banks
3.48
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: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.The Falls (2004)
Joyce Carol Oates
3.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 29 (1.77 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Heir to the Glimmering World (2004)
Cynthia Ozick
3.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.The Taqwacores (2004)
Michael Muhammad Knight
3.03
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 47 (3.03 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Rule of Four (2004)
Ian Caldwell
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.Ideas of Heaven (2004)
Joan Silber
2.36
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.The Amateur Marriage (2004)
Anne Tyler
2.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.The Egyptologist (2004)
Arthur Phillips
1.87
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Sweet Land Stories (2004)
E. L. Doctorow
1.86
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Men and cartoons (2004)
Jonathan Lethem
1.78
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 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.An Unfinished Season (2004)
Ward Just
1.71
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
25Mark as read.Song Of Susannah (2004)
Stephen King
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)
26Mark as read.Madeleine is Sleeping (2004)
Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum
1.27
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 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.Skinny Dip (2004)
Carl Hiaasen
1.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 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.The Pacific and Other Stories (2004)
Mark Helprin
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)
29Mark as read.Our Kind (2004)
Kate Walbert
0.82
Genre: Novel, Collection of Short Stories

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)
30Mark as read.The Confessions of Max Tivoli (2004)
Andrew Sean Greer
0.71
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 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

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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