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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 2011

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The Pale KingDavid Foster Wallace20115.95
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 73 (3.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
2Mark as read.Salvage the BonesJesmyn Ward20114.45
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.Open CityTeju Cole20114.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 60 (3.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
4Mark as read.The Marriage PlotJeffrey Eugenides20114.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
5Mark as read.Leaving the Atocha StationBen Lerner20114.05
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
6Mark as read.A Dance With DragonsGeorge R. R. Martin20113.77
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 52 (3.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.The Buddha in the AtticJulie Otsuka20113.09
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Swamplandia!Karen Russell20113.07
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Ready Player OneErnest Cline20113.03
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 29 (2.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.The Art of FieldingChad Harbach20112.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Tiger's WifeTea Obreht20112.64
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Summer without MenSiri Hustvedt20112.62
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The Angel EsmeraldaDon DeLillo20112.36
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Evolution of Bruno LittlemoreBenjamin Hale20112.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Lost Memory of SkinRussell Banks20111.88
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)
16Mark as read.The Night CircusErin Morgenstern20111.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.State of WonderAnn Patchett20111.78
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)
18Mark as read.The Song of AchillesMadeline Miller20111.77
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 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.Binocular VisionEdith Pearlman20111.47
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 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.DamnedChuck Palahniuk20111.39
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.ReamdeNeal Stephenson20111.28
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)
22Mark as read.Rules of CivilityAmor Towles20111.21
Genre: Novel

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)
23Mark as read.Once Upon a RiverBonnie Jo Campbell20111.21
Genre: Novel

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)
24Mark as read.The Snow ChildEowyn Ivey20111.21
Genre: Novel

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)
25Mark as read.The Sisters BrothersPatrick deWitt20111.17
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)
26Mark as read.A Moment in the SunJohn Sayles20111.05
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)
27Mark as read.The MartianAndy Weir20110.90
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)
28Mark as read.House of HolesNicholson Baker20110.71
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)
29Mark as read.The SojournAndrew Krivak20110.50
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 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 Pale King (2011)
David Foster Wallace
5.95
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 73 (3.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 35 (1.90 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
2Mark as read.Salvage the Bones (2011)
Jesmyn Ward
4.45
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.Open City (2011)
Teju Cole
4.40
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 60 (3.31 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 9 (1.09 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
4Mark as read.The Marriage Plot (2011)
Jeffrey Eugenides
4.36
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
5Mark as read.Leaving the Atocha Station (2011)
Ben Lerner
4.05
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 20 (2.19 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
6Mark as read.A Dance With Dragons (2011)
George R. R. Martin
3.77
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 52 (3.14 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.The Buddha in the Attic (2011)
Julie Otsuka
3.09
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 18 (2.09 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Swamplandia! (2011)
Karen Russell
3.07
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 15 (1.94 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.Ready Player One (2011)
Ernest Cline
3.03
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 29 (2.53 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.The Art of Fielding (2011)
Chad Harbach
2.82
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
11Mark as read.The Tiger's Wife (2011)
Tea Obreht
2.64
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
12Mark as read.The Summer without Men (2011)
Siri Hustvedt
2.62
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 16 (2.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.The Angel Esmeralda (2011)
Don DeLillo
2.36
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore (2011)
Benjamin Hale
2.11
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Lost Memory of Skin (2011)
Russell Banks
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)
16Mark as read.The Night Circus (2011)
Erin Morgenstern
1.83
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 13 (1.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
17Mark as read.State of Wonder (2011)
Ann Patchett
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)
18Mark as read.The Song of Achilles (2011)
Madeline Miller
1.77
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 12 (1.77 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.Binocular Vision (2011)
Edith Pearlman
1.47
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 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.Damned (2011)
Chuck Palahniuk
1.39
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 3 (0.90 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.Reamde (2011)
Neal Stephenson
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)
22Mark as read.Rules of Civility (2011)
Amor Towles
1.21
Genre: Novel

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)
23Mark as read.Once Upon a River (2011)
Bonnie Jo Campbell
1.21
Genre: Novel

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)
24Mark as read.The Snow Child (2011)
Eowyn Ivey
1.21
Genre: Novel

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)
25Mark as read.The Sisters Brothers (2011)
Patrick deWitt
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)
26Mark as read.A Moment in the Sun (2011)
John Sayles
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)
27Mark as read.The Martian (2011)
Andy Weir
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)
28Mark as read.House of Holes (2011)
Nicholson Baker
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)
29Mark as read.The Sojourn (2011)
Andrew Krivak
0.50
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 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 .

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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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