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









AMERICAN FICTION 2013

# Title Author Year Score
1Mark as read.The CircleDave Eggers20135.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 109 (4.07 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
2Mark as read.Bleeding EdgeThomas Pynchon20134.80
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
3Mark as read.The FlamethrowersRachel Kushner20133.84
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
4Mark as read.The LowlandJhumpa Lahiri20133.82
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.The GoldfinchDonna Tartt20133.78
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.AmericanahChimamanda Ngozi Adichie20133.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.InfernoDan Brown20133.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Claire of the Sea LightEdwidge Danticat20132.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The Good Lord BirdJames McBride20132.38
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | 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)
10Mark as read.Tenth of DecemberGeorge Saunders20132.33
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
11Mark as read.An Unnecessary WomanRabih Alameddine20131.89
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
12Mark as read.We Are All Completely Beside OurselvesKaren Joy Fowler20131.83
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)
13Mark as read.The Woman Who Lost Her SoulBob Shacochis20131.58
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize 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)
14Mark as read.At Night We Walk in CirclesDaniel Alarcon20131.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Dissident GardensJonathan Lethem20131.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Burgess BoysElizabeth Strout20131.02
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)
17Mark as read.RipperIsabel Allende20131.02
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)
18Mark as read.Quiet DellJayne Anne Phillips20131.02
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)
19Mark as read.The SonPhilipp Meyer20131.00
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Middle CWilliam H. Gass20130.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.All That IsJames Salter20130.63
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 Circle (2013)
Dave Eggers
5.21
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 109 (4.07 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 10 (1.14 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
2Mark as read.Bleeding Edge (2013)
Thomas Pynchon
4.80
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 41 (2.88 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 1 (0.79 points)
3Mark as read.The Flamethrowers (2013)
Rachel Kushner
3.84
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 8 (1.47 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 2 (1.24 points)
4Mark as read.The Lowland (2013)
Jhumpa Lahiri
3.82
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 34 (2.69 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 3 (0.63 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
5Mark as read.The Goldfinch (2013)
Donna Tartt
3.78
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Winner (1.00 point) | Google Scholar: 17 (2.05 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
6Mark as read.Americanah (2013)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
3.66
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 32 (2.63 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
7Mark as read.Inferno (2013)
Dan Brown
3.53
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 28 (2.50 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 8 (1.03 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
8Mark as read.Claire of the Sea Light (2013)
Edwidge Danticat
2.52
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 11 (1.70 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 5 (0.82 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
9Mark as read.The Good Lord Bird (2013)
James McBride
2.38
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Winner (1.00 point) | 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)
10Mark as read.Tenth of December (2013)
George Saunders
2.33
Genre: Collection of Short Stories

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
11Mark as read.An Unnecessary Woman (2013)
Rabih Alameddine
1.89
Genre: Novel

National Book Award Finalist (0.50 points) | 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)
12Mark as read.We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (2013)
Karen Joy Fowler
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)
13Mark as read.The Woman Who Lost Her Soul (2013)
Bob Shacochis
1.58
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize 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)
14Mark as read.At Night We Walk in Circles (2013)
Daniel Alarcon
1.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
15Mark as read.Dissident Gardens (2013)
Jonathan Lethem
1.49
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 5 (1.17 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 1 (0.32 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
16Mark as read.The Burgess Boys (2013)
Elizabeth Strout
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)
17Mark as read.Ripper (2013)
Isabel Allende
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)
18Mark as read.Quiet Dell (2013)
Jayne Anne Phillips
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)
19Mark as read.The Son (2013)
Philipp Meyer
1.00
Genre: Novel

Pulitzer Prize Finalist (0.50 points) | Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 2 (0.50 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
20Mark as read.Middle C (2013)
William H. Gass
0.73
Genre: Novel

Google Scholar: 0 (0.00 points) | JSTOR (Language and Literature): 4 (0.73 points) | American Literature: 0 (0.00 points) | American Literary History: 0 (0.00 points)
21Mark as read.All That Is (2013)
James Salter
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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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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