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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 2005

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.No Country for Old MenCormac McCarthy20059.32
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 170 (4.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 133 (3.04 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
2Mark as read.Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseJonathan Safran Foer20059.26
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 390 (6.12 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.TwilightStephenie Meyer20058.17
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 434 (6.33 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
4Mark as read.The Inheritance of LossKiran Desai20057.32
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 325 (5.79 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.The Brooklyn FolliesPaul Auster20056.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 94 (3.87 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.Lunar ParkBret Easton Ellis20055.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 52 (3.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
7Mark as read.Beasts of No NationUzodinma Iweala20054.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 93 (3.85 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.The MarchE. L. Doctorow20054.53
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 45 (2.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The History of LoveNicole Krauss20054.32
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 59 (3.29 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.The Painted DrumLouise Erdrich20054.00
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 35 (2.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.Europe CentralWilliam T. Vollmann20053.73
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The HistorianElizabeth Kostova20053.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.HauntedChuck Palahniuk20053.51
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Specimen DaysMichael Cunningham20053.43
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 27 (2.46 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.Saving Fish from DrowningAmy Tan20053.42
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 50 (3.10 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Memory Keeper's DaughterKim Edwards20053.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.A Feast For CrowsGeorge R. R. Martin20053.12
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)
18Mark as read.MarchGeraldine Brooks20053.03
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 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.TranceChristopher Sorrentino20052.81
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 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.Europe CentralWilliam Vollmann20052.45
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: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.VeronicaMary Gaitskill20052.44
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Until I Find YouJohn Irving20052.26
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.EldestChristopher Paolini20052.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 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.The Last of Her KindSigrid Nunez20052.04
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.The Brief and Frightening Reign of PhilGeorge Saunders20051.87
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)
26Mark as read.Where Three Roads MeetJohn Barth20051.87
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 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.Son of a WitchGregory Maguire20051.78
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)
28Mark as read.Holy SkirtsRene Steinke20051.70
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
29Mark as read.A Changed ManFrancine Prose20051.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 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 Fifty Year SwordMark Z. Danielewski20051.36
Genre: Novella

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)
31Mark as read.Wild Ducks Flying BackwardTom Robbins20051.36
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

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)
32Mark as read.The Wonder SpotMelissa Bank20051.20
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)
33Mark as read.My Life In CIA: A Chronicle of 1973Harry Mathews20051.17
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 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.Last NightJames Salter20051.17*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: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (0.72 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: -51.44%
35Mark as read.Freddy and FrederickaMark Helprin20050.90
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)
# Score
1Mark as read.No Country for Old Men (2005)
Cormac McCarthy
9.32
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 170 (4.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 133 (3.04 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
2Mark as read.Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005)
Jonathan Safran Foer
9.26
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 390 (6.12 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
3Mark as read.Twilight (2005)
Stephenie Meyer
8.17
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 434 (6.33 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 32 (1.84 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
4Mark as read.The Inheritance of Loss (2005)
Kiran Desai
7.32
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 325 (5.79 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.The Brooklyn Follies (2005)
Paul Auster
6.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 94 (3.87 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.47 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.Lunar Park (2005)
Bret Easton Ellis
5.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 52 (3.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
7Mark as read.Beasts of No Nation (2005)
Uzodinma Iweala
4.99
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 93 (3.85 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.The March (2005)
E. L. Doctorow
4.53
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 45 (2.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The History of Love (2005)
Nicole Krauss
4.32
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 59 (3.29 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.The Painted Drum (2005)
Louise Erdrich
4.00
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 35 (2.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.Europe Central (2005)
William T. Vollmann
3.73
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Historian (2005)
Elizabeth Kostova
3.60
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Haunted (2005)
Chuck Palahniuk
3.51
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Specimen Days (2005)
Michael Cunningham
3.43
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 27 (2.46 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.Saving Fish from Drowning (2005)
Amy Tan
3.42
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 50 (3.10 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Memory Keeper's Daughter (2005)
Kim Edwards
3.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.A Feast For Crows (2005)
George R. R. Martin
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)
18Mark as read.March (2005)
Geraldine Brooks
3.03
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 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.Trance (2005)
Christopher Sorrentino
2.81
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 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.Europe Central (2005)
William Vollmann
2.45
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: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Veronica (2005)
Mary Gaitskill
2.44
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.Until I Find You (2005)
John Irving
2.26
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Eldest (2005)
Christopher Paolini
2.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 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.The Last of Her Kind (2005)
Sigrid Nunez
2.04
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil (2005)
George Saunders
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)
26Mark as read.Where Three Roads Meet (2005)
John Barth
1.87
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 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.Son of a Witch (2005)
Gregory Maguire
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)
28Mark as read.Holy Skirts (2005)
Rene Steinke
1.70
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
29Mark as read.A Changed Man (2005)
Francine Prose
1.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 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 Fifty Year Sword (2005)
Mark Z. Danielewski
1.36
Genre: Novella

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)
31Mark as read.Wild Ducks Flying Backward (2005)
Tom Robbins
1.36
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

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)
32Mark as read.The Wonder Spot (2005)
Melissa Bank
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)
33Mark as read.My Life In CIA: A Chronicle of 1973 (2005)
Harry Mathews
1.17
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 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.Last Night (2005)
James Salter
1.17*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: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (0.72 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: -51.44%
35Mark as read.Freddy and Fredericka (2005)
Mark Helprin
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)

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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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