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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 2012

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.HomeToni Morrison20129.92*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5542 (4.47 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 63 (1.38 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 88 (2.44 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: -91.91%
2Mark as read.CanadaRichard Ford20125.30
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 555 (4.77 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.The Round HouseLouise Erdrich20124.78
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 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.This Is How You Lose HerJunot Diaz20123.97
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.The Fault in Our StarsJohn Green20123.77
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 87 (3.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Flight BehaviorBarbara Kingsolver20123.15
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 39 (2.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.The Yellow BirdsKevin Powers20122.93
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne FrankNathan Englander20122.70
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
9Mark as read.The Orphan Master's SonAdam Johnson20122.70
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Gone GirlGillian Flynn20122.23
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)
11Mark as read.A Hologram for the KingDave Eggers20122.20
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 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.Billy Lynn's Long Halftime WalkBen Fountain20122.05
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Telegraph AvenueMichael Chabon20121.91
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: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.11/22/1963Stephen King20121.83
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)
15Mark as read.In One PersonJohn Irving20121.38
Genre: Novel

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)
16Mark as read.The CoveRon Rash20121.21
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)
17Mark as read.American DervishAyad Akhtar20120.90
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)
18Mark as read.May We Be ForgivenA. M. Homes20120.90
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)
19Mark as read.The Beginner's GoodbyeAnne Tyler20120.71
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)
20Mark as read.The Devil in SilverVictor LaValle20120.63
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.Home (2012)
Toni Morrison
9.92*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus.
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 10 (1.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5542 (4.47 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literature: 63 (1.38 points)*Score adjusted to correct for title consisting of an n-gram occuring with high frequency in the English language corpus. | American Literary History: 88 (2.44 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: -91.91%
2Mark as read.Canada (2012)
Richard Ford
5.30
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 555 (4.77 points) | American Literature: 1 (0.53 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
3Mark as read.The Round House (2012)
Louise Erdrich
4.78
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 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.This Is How You Lose Her (2012)
Junot Diaz
3.97
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 21 (2.23 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 12 (1.24 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.The Fault in Our Stars (2012)
John Green
3.77
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 87 (3.77 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Flight Behavior (2012)
Barbara Kingsolver
3.15
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 39 (2.83 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.The Yellow Birds (2012)
Kevin Powers
2.93
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 26 (2.43 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank (2012)
Nathan Englander
2.70
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
9Mark as read.The Orphan Master's Son (2012)
Adam Johnson
2.70
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
10Mark as read.Gone Girl (2012)
Gillian Flynn
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)
11Mark as read.A Hologram for the King (2012)
Dave Eggers
2.20
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 7 (1.38 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.Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2012)
Ben Fountain
2.05
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 9 (1.55 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 0 (0.00 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
13Mark as read.Telegraph Avenue (2012)
Michael Chabon
1.91
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: 0 (0.00 points)
14Mark as read.11/22/1963 (2012)
Stephen King
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)
15Mark as read.In One Person (2012)
John Irving
1.38
Genre: Novel

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)
16Mark as read.The Cove (2012)
Ron Rash
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)
17Mark as read.American Dervish (2012)
Ayad Akhtar
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)
18Mark as read.May We Be Forgiven (2012)
A. M. Homes
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)
19Mark as read.The Beginner's Goodbye (2012)
Anne Tyler
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)
20Mark as read.The Devil in Silver (2012)
Victor LaValle
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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