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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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Include only works published between and .

Althorithm Modifications

Change the weight of these data points in order to change the shape of your canon.









AMERICAN FICTION 2006

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The RoadCormac McCarthy200612.26*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 411 (6.22 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 393 (2.94 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 4 (0.60 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 9 (1.49 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: -69.40%
2Mark as read.EverymanPhilip Roth20068.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 96 (3.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 185 (3.39 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
3Mark as read.The Echo MakerRichard Powers20067.37
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 73 (3.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.Against the DayThomas Pynchon20067.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 110 (4.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 61 (2.33 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.What Is the WhatDave Eggers20066.58
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 90 (3.81 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.New MoonStephenie Meyer20066.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 172 (4.73 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.A Disorder Peculiar to the CountryKen Kalfus20065.93
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 63 (3.37 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.The Emperor's ChildrenClaire Messud20065.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 49 (3.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
9Mark as read.The Lay of the LandRichard Ford20064.95
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.The ZeroJess Walter20064.62
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 31 (2.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.The People of PaperSalvador Plascencia20064.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 31 (2.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.Only RevolutionsMark Z. Danielewski20064.15
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Digging to AmericaAnne Tyler20064.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.Travels in the ScriptoriumPaul Auster20063.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 61 (3.33 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.AbsurdistanGary Shteyngart20063.80
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Twilight of the SuperheroesDeborah Eisenberg20063.60
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
17Mark as read.Special Topics in Calamity PhysicsMarisha Pessl20063.05
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.Special Topics in Calamity PhysicsMarisha Pessl20062.96
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 27 (2.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Apex Hides the HurtColson Whitehead20062.92
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 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.World War ZMax Brooks20062.69
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: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Water for ElephantsSara Gruen20062.68
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Brief History of the DeadKevin Brockmeier20062.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.The Interpretation of MurderJed Rubenfeld20062.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 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.After ThisAlice McDermott20062.28
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
25Mark as read.Thirteen MoonsCharles Frazier20062.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 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.The World to ComeDara Horn20062.10
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 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.Eat the DocumentDana Spiotta20061.88
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.Brief Encounters With Che GuevaraBen Fountain20061.67
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

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)
29Mark as read.The KeepJennifer Egan20061.63
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.This Book Will Save Your LifeA. M. Homes20061.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 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.TwilightWilliam Gay20061.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.The Poe ShadowMatthew Pearl20061.09
Genre: Novel

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)
33Mark as read.The Amalgamation PolkaStephen Wright20061.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
# Score
1Mark as read.The Road (2006)
Cormac McCarthy
12.26*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 411 (6.22 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 393 (2.94 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 4 (0.60 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 9 (1.49 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: -69.40%
2Mark as read.Everyman (2006)
Philip Roth
8.85
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 96 (3.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 185 (3.39 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
3Mark as read.The Echo Maker (2006)
Richard Powers
7.37
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 73 (3.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.Against the Day (2006)
Thomas Pynchon
7.20
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 110 (4.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 61 (2.33 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
5Mark as read.What Is the What (2006)
Dave Eggers
6.58
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 90 (3.81 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 39 (1.98 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.New Moon (2006)
Stephenie Meyer
6.01
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 172 (4.73 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.A Disorder Peculiar to the Country (2006)
Ken Kalfus
5.93
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 63 (3.37 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
8Mark as read.The Emperor's Children (2006)
Claire Messud
5.38
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 49 (3.08 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
9Mark as read.The Lay of the Land (2006)
Richard Ford
4.95
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 33 (2.66 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 19 (1.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.The Zero (2006)
Jess Walter
4.62
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 31 (2.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
11Mark as read.The People of Paper (2006)
Salvador Plascencia
4.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 31 (2.60 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.Only Revolutions (2006)
Mark Z. Danielewski
4.15
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Digging to America (2006)
Anne Tyler
4.07
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
14Mark as read.Travels in the Scriptorium (2006)
Paul Auster
3.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 61 (3.33 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.Absurdistan (2006)
Gary Shteyngart
3.80
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 30 (2.56 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Twilight of the Superheroes (2006)
Deborah Eisenberg
3.60
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
17Mark as read.Special Topics in Calamity Physics (2006)
Marisha Pessl
3.05
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.Special Topics in Calamity Physics (2006)
Marisha Pessl
2.96
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 27 (2.46 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.Apex Hides the Hurt (2006)
Colson Whitehead
2.92
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 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.World War Z (2006)
Max Brooks
2.69
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: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Water for Elephants (2006)
Sara Gruen
2.68
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
22Mark as read.The Brief History of the Dead (2006)
Kevin Brockmeier
2.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.The Interpretation of Murder (2006)
Jed Rubenfeld
2.31
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 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.After This (2006)
Alice McDermott
2.28
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
25Mark as read.Thirteen Moons (2006)
Charles Frazier
2.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 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.The World to Come (2006)
Dara Horn
2.10
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 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.Eat the Document (2006)
Dana Spiotta
1.88
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
28Mark as read.Brief Encounters With Che Guevara (2006)
Ben Fountain
1.67
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

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)
29Mark as read.The Keep (2006)
Jennifer Egan
1.63
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.This Book Will Save Your Life (2006)
A. M. Homes
1.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 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.Twilight (2006)
William Gay
1.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.The Poe Shadow (2006)
Matthew Pearl
1.09
Genre: Novel

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)
33Mark as read.The Amalgamation Polka (2006)
Stephen Wright
1.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 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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