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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
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1800 - Present
New York Times Archive

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AMERICAN FICTION 2009

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.InvisiblePaul Auster20097.94
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 178 (3.35 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
2Mark as read.Let the Great World SpinColum McCann20097.52
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 78 (3.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
3Mark as read.The HelpKathryn Stockett20095.76
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 91 (3.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.Catching FireSuzanne Collins20095.58
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 176 (4.76 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Inherent ViceThomas Pynchon20095.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 40 (2.86 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesSeth Grahame-Smith20095.15
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 109 (4.07 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.The Lost SymbolDan Brown20094.46
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 70 (3.49 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.The HumblingPhilip Roth20094.34
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 44 (2.07 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Sag HarborColson Whitehead20093.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.In Other Rooms, Other WondersDaniyal Mueenuddin20093.62
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.War DancesSherman Alexie20093.34
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Chronic CityJonathan Lethem20093.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Homer LangleyE. L. Doctorow20093.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 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 LacunaBarbara Kingsolver20093.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 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.Lark and TermiteJayne Anne Phillips20092.64
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Everything Ravaged, Everything BurnedWells Tower20092.60
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Parrot and Olivier in AmericaPeter Carey20092.50
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 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.Sum: Forty Tales from the AfterlivesDavid Eagleman20092.27
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.The Selected Works of T. S. SpivetReif Larsen20092.23
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Love and ObstaclesAleksandar Hemon20092.20
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 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 Particular Sadness Of Lemon CakeAimee Bender20092.18
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)
22Mark as read.TinkersPaul Harding20091.90
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.FaithlessJoyce Carol Oates20091.88
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.American RustPhilipp Meyer20091.88
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)
25Mark as read.The VagrantsYiyun Li20091.87
Genre: Novel

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)
26Mark as read.Her Fearful SymmetryAudrey Niffenegger20091.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 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.Far NorthMarcel Theroux20091.78
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
28Mark as read.American SalvageBonnie Jo Campbell20091.58
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
29Mark as read.The WomenT. C. Boyle20091.42*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.01 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: 1 (0.41 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: -57.85%
30Mark as read.Big MachineVictor LaValle20091.35
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Nobody MoveDenis Johnson20091.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Love in Infant MonkeysLydia Millet20091.21
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
33Mark as read.Await Your ReplyDan Chaon20091.02
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)
34Mark as read.Last Night in Twisted RiverJohn Irving20090.95
Genre: Novel

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)
# Score
1Mark as read.Invisible (2009)
Paul Auster
7.94
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 178 (3.35 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 6 (2.25 points)
2Mark as read.Let the Great World Spin (2009)
Colum McCann
7.52
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 78 (3.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 14 (1.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 3 (1.57 points)
3Mark as read.The Help (2009)
Kathryn Stockett
5.76
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 91 (3.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
4Mark as read.Catching Fire (2009)
Suzanne Collins
5.58
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 176 (4.76 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.Inherent Vice (2009)
Thomas Pynchon
5.18
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 40 (2.86 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 20 (1.53 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
6Mark as read.Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009)
Seth Grahame-Smith
5.15
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 109 (4.07 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.The Lost Symbol (2009)
Dan Brown
4.46
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 70 (3.49 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.The Humbling (2009)
Philip Roth
4.34
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 44 (2.07 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Sag Harbor (2009)
Colson Whitehead
3.97
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
10Mark as read.In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (2009)
Daniyal Mueenuddin
3.62
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 14 (1.89 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.War Dances (2009)
Sherman Alexie
3.34
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 16 (1.40 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.Chronic City (2009)
Jonathan Lethem
3.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 13 (1.28 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Homer Langley (2009)
E. L. Doctorow
3.25
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 24 (2.35 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 Lacuna (2009)
Barbara Kingsolver
3.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 19 (2.14 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.Lark and Termite (2009)
Jayne Anne Phillips
2.64
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 7 (0.97 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned (2009)
Wells Tower
2.60
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.Parrot and Olivier in America (2009)
Peter Carey
2.50
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 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.Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives (2009)
David Eagleman
2.27
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 22 (2.27 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
19Mark as read.The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet (2009)
Reif Larsen
2.23
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Love and Obstacles (2009)
Aleksandar Hemon
2.20
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 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 Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake (2009)
Aimee Bender
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)
22Mark as read.Tinkers (2009)
Paul Harding
1.90
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
23Mark as read.Faithless (2009)
Joyce Carol Oates
1.88
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 34 (1.88 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
24Mark as read.American Rust (2009)
Philipp Meyer
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)
25Mark as read.The Vagrants (2009)
Yiyun Li
1.87
Genre: Novel

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)
26Mark as read.Her Fearful Symmetry (2009)
Audrey Niffenegger
1.79
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 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.Far North (2009)
Marcel Theroux
1.78
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
28Mark as read.American Salvage (2009)
Bonnie Jo Campbell
1.58
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
29Mark as read.The Women (2009)
T. C. Boyle
1.42*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 18 (1.01 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: 1 (0.41 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: -57.85%
30Mark as read.Big Machine (2009)
Victor LaValle
1.35
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 1 (0.45 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 6 (0.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
31Mark as read.Nobody Move (2009)
Denis Johnson
1.33
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 2 (0.71 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
32Mark as read.Love in Infant Monkeys (2009)
Lydia Millet
1.21
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
33Mark as read.Await Your Reply (2009)
Dan Chaon
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)
34Mark as read.Last Night in Twisted River (2009)
John Irving
0.95
Genre: Novel

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)

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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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