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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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1800 - Present
New York Times Archive

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









AMERICAN FICTION 2007

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoJunot Diaz200712.00
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 383 (6.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 74 (2.49 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 7 (2.42 points)
2Mark as read.Falling ManDon DeLillo200710.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 307 (5.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (2.02 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 7 (2.42 points)
3Mark as read.The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianSherman Alexie20077.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 313 (5.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
4Mark as read.Exit GhostPhilip Roth20076.51
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 86 (3.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 99 (2.76 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.The Yiddish Policemen's UnionMichael Chabon20076.14
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 73 (3.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
6Mark as read.A Thousand Splendid SunsKhaled Hosseini20076.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 141 (4.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Spook CountryWilliam Gibson20075.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 83 (3.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 31 (1.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Tree of SmokeDenis Johnson20075.27
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
9Mark as read.Then We Came to the EndJoshua Ferris20074.41
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.A Free LifeHa Jin20073.63
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.Gentlemen of the RoadMichael Chabon20073.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.Varieties of DisturbanceLydia Davis20073.00
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Every Day is for the ThiefTeju Cole20072.98
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Gentlemen of the RoadMichael Chabon20072.86
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.You Don't Love Me YetJonathan Lethem20072.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
16Mark as read.Bridge of SighsRichard Russo20072.70
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: 1 (0.79 points)
17Mark as read.Shakespeare's KitchenLore Segal20072.57
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Name of the WindPatrick Rothfuss20072.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.The Gravedigger's DaughterJoyce Carol Oates20072.47
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Call Me By Your NameAndre Aciman20072.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.The Ministry of Special CasesNathan Englander20072.29
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)
22Mark as read.FieldworkMischa Berlinski20072.17
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
23Mark as read.Hotel de DreamEdmund White20072.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.The Septembers of ShirazDalia Sofer20072.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.AwayAmy Bloom20072.00*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 72 (0.95 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: -90.61%
26Mark as read.Returning to EarthJim Harrison20071.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster CaseyChuck Palahniuk20071.89
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 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.An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New EnglandBrock Clarke20071.88
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)
29Mark as read.Like You'd Understand, AnywayJim Shepard20071.69
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Playing for PizzaJohn Grisham20071.28
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)
31Mark as read.Last Night at the LobsterStewart O'Nan20071.05
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)
32Mark as read.Man Gone DownMichael Thomas20070.90
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)
33Mark as read.The MaytreesAnnie Dillard20070.63
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)
# Score
1Mark as read.The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007)
Junot Diaz
12.00
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 383 (6.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 74 (2.49 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 7 (2.42 points)
2Mark as read.Falling Man (2007)
Don DeLillo
10.12
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 307 (5.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 41 (2.02 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 7 (2.42 points)
3Mark as read.The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2007)
Sherman Alexie
7.28
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 313 (5.72 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 21 (1.56 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
4Mark as read.Exit Ghost (2007)
Philip Roth
6.51
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 86 (3.75 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 99 (2.76 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.The Yiddish Policemen's Union (2007)
Michael Chabon
6.14
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 73 (3.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 15 (1.36 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
6Mark as read.A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007)
Khaled Hosseini
6.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 141 (4.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 24 (1.65 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Spook Country (2007)
William Gibson
5.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 83 (3.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 31 (1.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Tree of Smoke (2007)
Denis Johnson
5.27
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
9Mark as read.Then We Came to the End (2007)
Joshua Ferris
4.41
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.A Free Life (2007)
Ha Jin
3.63
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 23 (2.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.Gentlemen of the Road (2007)
Michael Chabon
3.08
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
12Mark as read.Varieties of Disturbance (2007)
Lydia Davis
3.00
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Every Day is for the Thief (2007)
Teju Cole
2.98
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.Gentlemen of the Road (2007)
Michael Chabon
2.86
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
15Mark as read.You Don't Love Me Yet (2007)
Jonathan Lethem
2.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
16Mark as read.Bridge of Sighs (2007)
Richard Russo
2.70
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: 1 (0.79 points)
17Mark as read.Shakespeare's Kitchen (2007)
Lore Segal
2.57
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
18Mark as read.The Name of the Wind (2007)
Patrick Rothfuss
2.55
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.The Gravedigger's Daughter (2007)
Joyce Carol Oates
2.47
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Call Me By Your Name (2007)
Andre Aciman
2.29
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.The Ministry of Special Cases (2007)
Nathan Englander
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)
22Mark as read.Fieldwork (2007)
Mischa Berlinski
2.17
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
23Mark as read.Hotel de Dream (2007)
Edmund White
2.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.The Septembers of Shiraz (2007)
Dalia Sofer
2.02
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 6 (1.28 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
25Mark as read.Away (2007)
Amy Bloom
2.00*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 4 (1.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 72 (0.95 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: -90.61%
26Mark as read.Returning to Earth (2007)
Jim Harrison
1.91
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
27Mark as read.Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey (2007)
Chuck Palahniuk
1.89
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 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.An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England (2007)
Brock Clarke
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)
29Mark as read.Like You'd Understand, Anyway (2007)
Jim Shepard
1.69
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 11 (1.19 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
30Mark as read.Playing for Pizza (2007)
John Grisham
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)
31Mark as read.Last Night at the Lobster (2007)
Stewart O'Nan
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)
32Mark as read.Man Gone Down (2007)
Michael Thomas
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)
33Mark as read.The Maytrees (2007)
Annie Dillard
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)

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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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