100 Greatest Books


In the hopes of bettering myself I had an idea that I should read the 100 Greatest Books ever written. The problem is where should I find this list and would it actually be a legitimate list or just someone's personal "I really like these books" list. So I searched the internet and found 4 reasonable lists and 1 Top 10 list and then combined them into one big list so I could figure out how many of the books were unique to a list and how many crossed over between lists. It turns out that this ends up being around 300 different books, stories, plays and novels. Quite an undertaking. I switch back and forth between reading books on the list and reading Star Wars books because, well, I love Star Wars. When I was searching for the lists online I also came across this website where another guy did the exact same thing as I am doing here (I am kind of copying ideas) with the same lists I had found (I found them on my own though). You can download a copy of the shortened list by clicking on the book below.

Current total book count - 145/306 read.




The Different Book Lists



They sell the 100 Greatest Books as an Audio Collection so they might have a little bit of an agenda but this is the first list I found and the list I am the farthest along on. You can look at the Audio Books Website. The books consist of mostly Western literature but do expand into plays, scientific papers and philosophy books. The books are listed in chronological order.

Current book count - 98/100 read.




This list comprises an international selection of books and has no ranking order. The list seems to have the most merit since it was voted on by 100 writers from 54 countries. Unfortunately I have not read as many of these books so I have stayed away from the list, unless the book was repeated on another list, although it is the only other list to include epic poems and plays. The list is organized alphabetically by author's first name. You can view the website here at The Guardian.

Current book count - 34/100 read.




This list, in my opinion, has the least credibility since it is essentially one guy going "I like these books, here read them." He also confines his selection to novels only, so epic poems and plays did not make it on the list, but he does have a good selection and overall it corresponds with the other lists fairly well. The books are listed in chronological order. Check out the Observer Website.

Current book count - 37/100 read.




Although not a collection of professionals, this list is created by the input of the English people. Only the first 21 books are ranked and an author can not have more than one book in the top 21, so the ranking is a little biased but the list is a little more fun to read than the others, containing books like The Lord of the Rings and The Princess Bride. So when I get tired of reading ancient Greek books I can read some with a little more entertainment value. Check out the BBC Website.

Current book count - 56/100 read.




I found this list significantly after the other lists (about 5 years) but I thought it was good enough to add to my list here. The list was created by J. Peder Zane in a book called The Top Ten. To create the list he took a poll of 125 leading authors to find out what their top ten books would be and then he combined all those lists into one ultimate top ten list. Nine of the books appear elsewhere on the lists and only one is new, although it is a compilation of Chekhov's works, which are listed elsewhere, so it is not entirely new. There is also a report on the book in Time, which actually lists the Top Ten books where the book's website does not.

Current book count - 8/10 read.




Even though I am no expert on literature or have a degree in English Lit, I think that just by reading as many of these stories as possible I can help to direct some people who only want to read a few. That is the purpose of my list, to shorten the 300 some books on the other lists to the most enjoyable and easily read of the bunch.

Current List count - 50 books