Stephan's Suggestions for Further Reading -not everyone listed!, e.g. the usual, Brontes (Jane Eyre) Dostoyevsky (Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov), Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby), Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)--a few favorites marked with *)

and check out Newsweek's 2009 list of 50 books for What to Read Now. And Why,

and Meta List of Top 100 books:

See further lists further below, incuding The Guardian's list of the 100 greatest novels of all time!

Curious about what's on my current coffee table/contemporary eight novels to-read-list, some of which I've now read:

Alan Hollinghurst, The Sparsholt Affair (2018)

Alan Warner, The Deadman's Pedal (2012)--solid

Aminatta Forna, The Hired Man (2013)--excellent

Tom McCarthy, Remainder: A Novel (2005)--fascinating

Sarah Waters, Affinity (1999)--compelling

Paul Beatty, The Sellout (2015)

Ali Smith, How to Be Both (2014)

Joakim Zander, The Swimmer: A Novel (2013)

Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2012)

Karen Russell, Swamplandia! (2011)

Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being (2013)

Michel Faber, The Book of Strange New Things (2014)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (2013)--on to read list, along with her earlier novel, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006)

Suggestions for further reading!:

Adiga, Aravind. The White Tiger (2008)--very good
Amis, Kingsley. Lucky Jim (1954)--funny/sharp
Amis, Martin. Money: A Suicide Note (1984)--acerbic
Amis, Martin. The Zone of Interest: A Novel (2014)
Amis, Martin. Time's Arrow (1991)
Ariely, Dan. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (2008; second edition 2010)
*Austen, Jane. Emma; Mansfield Park, Persuasion, . . .

Barnes, Julian. The Sense of an Ending (2011)
*Barry, Sebastian. The Secret Scripture (2008)
Batuman, Elif. The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them (2010)--good
Beckett, Samuel. Molloy; Malone Dies; The Unnamable (1955-58); Mercier and Camier (1970)
Bolano, Roberto. 2666 (2004, trans. 2008), and The Savage Detectives (1998, trans. 2007)--to read list
Boll, Heinrich. The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (trans. 1975)--harrowing
Boo, Katherine. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (2012)--excellent.
Brighton, Terry. Hell Riders: The True Story of the Charge of the Light Brigade (2004)
Bront‘, Charlotte.* Villette (1853)
Brooks, Geraldine. Year of Wonders (2001) on to read list; March (2005)OK
Burney, Fanny. *Evelina (1778)—also Cecilia, Camilla, and The Wanderer
Byatt, A. S. Possession: A Romance (1990)--good

Carr, Caleb. The Alienist(1994); The Angel of Darkness(1997)
Chabon, Michael. *The Yiddish Policemen's Union (2007)
Chadwick, Charles. It's All Right Now--(2005) on to read list
Chase, Joan. During the Reign of the Queen of Persia (1983)
Coe, Jonathan. Like a Fiery Elephant: the Story of BS Johnson--(2004)to read list; The Winshaw Legacy: Or, What a Carve Up! (1994)
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games trilogy (esp. first novel, The Hunger Games, 2008; also Catching Fire and Mockingjay)
Coplin, Amanda. The Orchardist (2012)
Culler, Jonathan. Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (1997)--but many works could be listed under this topic!

Davies, Robertson. *The Deptford Trilogy(1970-75); Cornish Trilogy(1981-88)
Dickens, Charles.* Bleak House (1852-53); *Our Mutual Friend . . .*Great Expectations . . . Dombey and Son . . .
Doig, Ivan. This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind (1978)
Dupuy, Philippe and Charles Berberian. Get a Life (2006)

Edgeworth, Maria. *Belinda (1801)
Egan, Jennifer. A Visit from the Goon Squad (2011)
Egan, Timothy. The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009)
Eliot, George. *Middlemarch (1871-72); Daniel Deronda (reading now)
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man (1952)
Ellroy, James. L. A. Confidential (1990)--very good
Enquist, Per Olov. The Visit of the Royal Physician--(1999) to read list
Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine(1984; expanded version 1993); The Roundhouse (2012---very good)

Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury; *As I Lay Dying . . .
Finder, Joseph. Paranoia (2004)--great holiday book
Flynn, Gillian. Gone Girl (2012)
Ford, Ford Madox. *The Good Soldier (1915)
Forster, E.M. Howard's End-- (in conjunction with Zadie Smith's On Beauty)
French, Tana. In the Woods (2007)

Gaskell, Elizabeth. *North and South (1855)
Gilbert, Daniel. Stumbling on Happiness (2006)
Gloss, Molly. The Jump-Off Creek (1989)
Goldberg, Myla. Bee Season (2001)
Gombrowicz, Witold. Ferdydurke—on to read list.
Greenblatt, Stephen. Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare (2004)
Greene, Graham. The Comedians (1965)
Groff, Laura. Arcadia (2012, on to read list)
Guterson, David. Snow Falling on Cedars (1994)

Hager, Thomas. The Demon Under the Microscope: From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor's Heroic Search for the World's First Miracle Drug (2006)
Hamid, Mohsin. Exit West (2017)
Harr, Jonathan. A Civil Action (1995)--harrowing
Harrison, A.S.A. The Silent Wife: A Novel (2013)--very good-- better than Gone Girl
Haruf, Kent. Plainsong (1999)
Hasek, Jaroslav. The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War—on to read list.
Hassler, Jon. Staggerford; North of Hope
Heti, Sheila. "How Should a Person Be?" (2012, on to read list)
Helprin, Mark. Winter's Tale; others also recommend Soldier of the Great War
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises . . .
Hillenbrand, Laura. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (2010)
Hite, Molly. Class Porn (hilarious)
Hollinghurst, Alan. The Line of Beauty (2004)--to read list
Holmes, Richard. The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (2008)--on to read list
Hornby, Nick. A Long Way Down; The Complete Polysyllabic Spree
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner (2004)
Hunter, John. World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements (2013, on to read list)
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God

Indridason, Arnaldur. Silence of the Grave (2001; trans. 2005)
Ishiguro, Kazuo. *The Remains of the Day (1989)
Irving, John. *A Prayer for Owen Meany; A Widow for One Year . . . Until I Find You (July '05))

James, Henry. *The Portrait of a Lady . . .
Jameson, Kay Redfield. An Unquiet Mind (1995)
Johnson, Adam. The Orphan Master's Son (2012, on to read list--won Pulitzer Prize)

Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking Fast and Slow (2011)
Kandel, Eric. In Search of Memory (2006) good
Kundera, Milan. Immortality (1988, uneven but on the list)

Larson, Erik. *The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America (2003); In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin (2011)--each excellent.
Larsson, Stieg. *Millenium Trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2005); The Girl Who Played with Fire; The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Lawrence, D. H. The Rainbow (1915)
Lehrer, Jonah. How We Decide (2009)
Lodge, David. Changing Places (1975); Small World (1984); Nice Work (1988) funny, and pair with Gaskell's North and South

Levy, Andrea. Small Island (2004)
Lewis, Michael. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (2010) excellent

Mafouz, Naguib. Midaq Alley; to read list: Palace Walk
Makos, Adam. A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II (2012)
Mantel, Hilary. Wolf Hall (2009, reading now) and Bring Up the Bodies (2012)--on to read list.
McBride, Eimear. A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing (2013)
McGinn, Colin. The Making of a Philosopher: My Journey Through Twentieth-Century Philosophy (2002)
McLean, Bethany and Joe Nocera. All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis (2010)--on to read list.
Melville, Herman. *Moby-Dick--and listen to/see wonderful reading/illustrations by different folks/artists
Menand, Louis. * The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America (2001)
Meyer, Phillip. American Rust (2009) very good; The Son (2013, on to read list)
Meredith, Robin. The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What It Means for All of Us--to read list
Michaels, Anne. Fugitive Pieces: A Novel (1996)
Mieville, China. The City & The City (2009)
Millard, Candace. The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey (2005)--excellent; Destiny of a Republic (2012)
Miller, Derek B. Norwegian by Night--excellent (2013)--see also its audiobook version with great narrator/reader.
Mitchell, David. Cloud Atlas (2004) good; The Bone Clocks (2014, on to read list)
Mullen, Thomas. The Last Town on Earth (2006)
Murakami, Haruki. Kafka on the Shore (2005)
Morrison, Toni. * Song of Solomon; Sula . . .
Moshfegh, Ottessa. Eileen: A Novel (2015)

Nabokov, Vladimir. *Pnin; Lolita
Nessar, Håkan. Woman with Birthmark (1996?, English trans. 2009)
Ng, Celeste. Everything I Never Told You (2014)

Orozco, Daniel. Orientation: And Other Stories (2011)
Ozeki, Ruth. *My Year of Meats (1999); others rec. All Over Creation

Philbrick, Nathaniel. Mayflower (2006)
Phillips, Arthur. The Egyptologist (2004)—on possible to read list
Phillips, Caryl. The Nature of Blood (1997)
Pullman, Philip. * The Golden Compass (aka Northern Lights, first novel in His Dark Materials trilogy, also see The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass)
Proulx, E. Annie. *The Shipping News (1993)
Pym, Barbara. A Glass of Blessings; A Few Green Leaves; Excellent Women

Quammen, David. The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction

Rachman, Tom. *The Imperfectionists (2010)
Reid, T.R. The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care (2009--very good)
Richardson, Samuel. * Clarissa (1747-48; if necessary, you could read the Broadview Press abridged version, 2010)
Robinson, Kim Stanley. 2312 (2012)
Robinson, Marilyn. *Housekeeping; others rec. Gilead
Roosevelt, Kermit. In the Shadow of the Law.--to read list
Roth, Philip. *The Human Stain (2000)
Rothenberg, Molly Anne. The Excessive Subject: A New Theory of Social Change (2010)

Saramago, Jose. The Cave (2002)
Sarup, Madan. An Introductory Guide to Post-structuralism and Postmodernism, 2nd ed.
Saunders, George. Tenth of December: Stories (2013)
Schlink, Bernhard. The Reader (trans. 1997) good
Schmidtberger, Paul. Design Flaws of the Human Condition (2007) funny
Schumacher, Julie. Dear Committee Members: A Novel (2014)--academic satire with some very funny moments
Sebald, W. G. Austerlitz (2001)
Semple, Maria. Where'd You Go, Bernadette? (2012) highly enjoyable/very good
Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony
Sittenfeld, Curtis. Prep (2005)
Smith, Zadie. White Teeth(2000); On Beauty(2005); NW: A Novel (2012, on to read list)
Sobel, Dava. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time (1995) good
Stegner, Wallace. Crossing to Safety (1987)
Sterne, Laurence. Tristram Shandy
Stiles, Bert. Serenade to the Big Bird (1947)
Strout, Elizabeth. Olive Kitteridge (2008)--very good
Sullivan, John Jeremiah. Pulphead: Essays (2011)

Walter, Jess. Citizen Vince (2005) good, set in Spokane, WA; Beautiful Ruins (2012, on to read list)
Ware, Chris. Building Stories (2012)--on to read/assemble list, which means it's on my coffee table
Waters, Sarah. *Fingersmith (2002), also The Paying Guests (2014) and The Little Stranger (2009)
Weiner, Jonathan. Time, Love, Memory: A Great Biologist and His Quest for the Origins of Behavior—see also Weiner's The Beak of the Finch
Wharton, Edith. *The House of Mirth
White, T. H. *The Once and Future King
Williams, John. Stoner (1965)--trenchant yet also deeply affecting, finely wrought
Winslow, Don. The Dawn Patrol (2008) summer mystery/surfing
Winters, Ben H. The Last Policeman (2012)
Wodehouse, P. G. *Psmith (and other funny stories)

Real Simple: 20 Great Beach Reads

Real Simple: 50 Great Books That Will Change Your Life

For poetry, some opinions/10 best lists/anthology:

The 10 Best American Poems

The 10 Best Poets

see as well via direct link

and see the many poems in The Best of the Best American Poetry: 25th Anniversary Edition (2013)

Poetry Foundation

Poetry Daily

or a list of best plays

better yet, just get some anthologies!: Broadview Press,


OR SEE THIS LIST for more novels: home
The 100 greatest novels of all time: The list

The case for the defence. Don't like the list? Post your own suggestions for the 100 best books on the Observer blog.
o Robert McCrum
o The Observer, Sunday 12 October 2003

1. Don Quixote Miguel De Cervantes
The story of the gentle knight and his servant Sancho Panza has entranced readers for centuries.

2. Pilgrim's Progress John Bunyan
The one with the Slough of Despond and Vanity Fair.

3. Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe
The first English novel.

4. Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift
A wonderful satire that still works for all ages, despite the savagery of Swift's vision.

5. Tom Jones Henry Fielding
The adventures of a high-spirited orphan boy: an unbeatable plot and a lot of sex ending in a blissful marriage.

6. Clarissa Samuel Richardson
One of the longest novels in the English language, but unputdownable.

7. Tristram Shandy Laurence Sterne
One of the first bestsellers, dismissed by Dr Johnson as too fashionable for its own good.

8. Dangerous Liaisons Pierre Choderlos De Laclos
An epistolary novel and a handbook for seducers: foppish, French, and ferocious.

9. Emma Jane Austen
Near impossible choice between this and Pride and Prejudice. But Emma never fails to fascinate and annoy.

10. Frankenstein Mary Shelley
Inspired by spending too much time with Shelley and Byron.

11. Nightmare Abbey Thomas Love Peacock
A classic miniature: a brilliant satire on the Romantic novel.

12. The Black Sheep Honore De Balzac
Two rivals fight for the love of a femme fatale. Wrongly overlooked.

13. The Charterhouse of Parma Stendhal
Penetrating and compelling chronicle of life in an Italian court in post-Napoleonic France.

14. The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas
A revenge thriller also set in France after Bonaparte: a masterpiece of adventure writing.

15. Sybil Benjamin Disraeli
Apart from Churchill, no other British political figure shows literary genius.

16. David Copperfield Charles Dickens
This highly autobiographical novel is the one its author liked best.

17. Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff have passed into the language. Impossible to ignore.

18. Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
Obsessive emotional grip and haunting narrative.

19. Vanity Fair William Makepeace Thackeray
The improving tale of Becky Sharp.

20. The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne
A classic investigation of the American mind.

21. Moby-Dick Herman Melville
'Call me Ishmael' is one of the most famous opening sentences of any novel.

22. Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert
You could summarise this as a story of adultery in provincial France, and miss the point entirely.

23. The Woman in White Wilkie Collins
Gripping mystery novel of concealed identity, abduction, fraud and mental cruelty.

24. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland Lewis Carroll
A story written for the nine-year-old daughter of an Oxford don that still baffles most kids.

25. Little Women Louisa M. Alcott
Victorian bestseller about a New England family of girls.

26. The Way We Live Now Anthony Trollope
A majestic assault on the corruption of late Victorian England.

27. Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy
The supreme novel of the married woman's passion for a younger man.

28. Daniel Deronda George Eliot
A passion and an exotic grandeur that is strange and unsettling.

29. The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky
Mystical tragedy by the author of Crime and Punishment.

30. The Portrait of a Lady Henry James
The story of Isabel Archer shows James at his witty and polished best.

31. Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
Twain was a humorist, but this picture of Mississippi life is profoundly moral and still incredibly influential.

32. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson
A brilliantly suggestive, resonant study of human duality by a natural storyteller.

33. Three Men in a Boat Jerome K. Jerome
One of the funniest English books ever written.

34. The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde
A coded and epigrammatic melodrama inspired by his own tortured homosexuality.

35. The Diary of a Nobody George Grossmith
This classic of Victorian suburbia will always be renowned for the character of Mr Pooter.

36. Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy
Its savage bleakness makes it one of the first twentieth-century novels.

37. The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers
A prewar invasion-scare spy thriller by a writer later shot for his part in the Irish republican rising

38. The Call of the Wild Jack London
The story of a dog who joins a pack of wolves after his master's death.

39. Nostromo Joseph Conrad
Conrad's masterpiece: a tale of money, love and revolutionary politics.

40. The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
This children's classic was inspired by bedtime stories for Grahame's son.

41. In Search of Lost Time Marcel Proust
An unforgettable portrait of Paris in the belle epoque. Probably the longest novel on this list.

42. The Rainbow D. H. Lawrence
Novels seized by the police, like this one, have a special afterlife.

43. The Good Soldier Ford Madox Ford
This account of the adulterous lives of two Edwardian couples is a classic of unreliable narration.

44. The Thirty-Nine Steps John Buchan
A classic adventure story for boys, jammed with action, violence and suspense.

45. Ulysses James Joyce
Also pursued by the British police, this is a novel more discussed than read.

46. Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf
Secures Woolf's position as one of the great twentieth-century English novelists.

47. A Passage to India E. M. Forster
The great novel of the British Raj, it remains a brilliant study of empire.

48. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
The quintessential Jazz Age novel.

49. The Trial Franz Kafka
The enigmatic story of Joseph K.

50. Men Without Women Ernest Hemingway
He is remembered for his novels, but it was the short stories that first attracted notice.

51. Journey to the End of the Night Louis-Ferdinand Celine
The experiences of an unattractive slum doctor during the Great War: a masterpiece of linguistic innovation.

52. As I Lay Dying William Faulkner
A strange black comedy by an American master.

53. Brave New World Aldous Huxley
Dystopian fantasy about the world of the seventh century AF (after Ford).

54. Scoop Evelyn Waugh
The supreme Fleet Street novel.

55. USA John Dos Passos
An extraordinary trilogy that uses a variety of narrative devices to express the story of America.

56. The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler
Introducing Philip Marlowe: cool, sharp, handsome - and bitterly alone.

57. The Pursuit Of Love Nancy Mitford
An exquisite comedy of manners with countless fans.

58. The Plague Albert Camus
A mysterious plague sweeps through the Algerian town of Oran.

59. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell
This tale of one man's struggle against totalitarianism has been appropriated the world over.

60. Malone Dies Samuel Beckett
Part of a trilogy of astonishing monologues in the black comic voice of the author of Waiting for Godot.

61. Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
A week in the life of Holden Caulfield. A cult novel that still mesmerises.

62. Wise Blood Flannery O'Connor
A disturbing novel of religious extremism set in the Deep South.

63. Charlotte's Web E. B. White
How Wilbur the pig was saved by the literary genius of a friendly spider.

64. The Lord Of The Rings J. R. R. Tolkien
Enough said!

65. Lucky Jim Kingsley Amis
An astonishing debut: the painfully funny English novel of the Fifties.

66. Lord of the Flies William Golding
Schoolboys become savages: a bleak vision of human nature.

67. The Quiet American Graham Greene
Prophetic novel set in 1950s Vietnam.

68 On the Road Jack Kerouac
The Beat Generation bible.

69. Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
Humbert Humbert's obsession with Lolita is a tour de force of style and narrative.

70. The Tin Drum Gunter Grass
Hugely influential, Rabelaisian novel of Hitler's Germany.

71. Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe
Nigeria at the beginning of colonialism. A classic of African literature.

72. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Muriel Spark
A writer who made her debut in The Observer - and her prose is like cut glass.

73. To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee
Scout, a six-year-old girl, narrates an enthralling story of racial prejudice in the Deep South.

74. Catch-22 Joseph Heller
'[He] would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; if he didn't want to he was sane and had to.'

75. Herzog Saul Bellow
Adultery and nervous breakdown in Chicago.

76. One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A postmodern masterpiece.

77. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont Elizabeth Taylor
A haunting, understated study of old age.

78. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy John Le Carre
A thrilling elegy for post-imperial Britain.

79. Song of Solomon Toni Morrison
The definitive novelist of the African-American experience.

80. The Bottle Factory Outing Beryl Bainbridge
Macabre comedy of provincial life.

81. The Executioner's Song Norman Mailer
This quasi-documentary account of the life and death of Gary Gilmore is possibly his masterpiece.

82. If on a Winter's Night a Traveller Italo Calvino
A strange, compelling story about the pleasures of reading.

83. A Bend in the River V. S. Naipaul
The finest living writer of English prose. This is his masterpiece: edgily reminiscent of Heart of Darkness.

84. Waiting for the Barbarians J.M. Coetzee
Bleak but haunting allegory of apartheid by the Nobel prizewinner.

85. Housekeeping Marilynne Robinson
Haunting, poetic story, drowned in water and light, about three generations of women.

86. Lanark Alasdair Gray
Seething vision of Glasgow. A Scottish classic.

87. The New York Trilogy Paul Auster
Dazzling metaphysical thriller set in the Manhattan of the 1970s.
Buy The New York Trilogy at

88. The BFG Roald Dahl
A bestseller by the most popular postwar writer for children of all ages.

89. The Periodic Table Primo Levi
A prose poem about the delights of chemistry.

90. Money Martin Amis
The novel that bags Amis's place on any list.

91. An Artist of the Floating World Kazuo Ishiguro
A collaborator from prewar Japan reluctantly discloses his betrayal of friends and family.

92. Oscar And Lucinda Peter Carey
A great contemporary love story set in nineteenth-century Australia by double Booker prizewinner.

93. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Milan Kundera
Inspired by the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, this is a magical fusion of history, autobiography and ideas.

94. Haroun and the Sea af Stories Salman Rushdie
In this entrancing story Rushdie plays with the idea of narrative itself.

95. La Confidential James Ellroy
Three LAPD detectives are brought face to face with the secrets of their corrupt and violent careers.

96. Wise Children Angela Carter
A theatrical extravaganza by a brilliant exponent of magic realism.

97. Atonement Ian McEwan
Acclaimed short-story writer achieves a contemporary classic of mesmerising narrative conviction.

98. Northern Lights [retitled The Golden Compass when pub. in USA] Philip Pullman
Lyra's quest weaves fantasy, horror and the play of ideas into a truly great contemporary children's book.

99. American Pastoral Philip Roth
For years, Roth was famous for Portnoy's Complaint . Recently, he has enjoyed an extraordinary revival.

100. Austerlitz W. G. Sebald
Posthumously published volume in a sequence of dream-like fictions spun from memory, photographs and the German past.

Who did we miss?

So, are you congratulating yourself on having read everything on our list or screwing the newspaper up into a ball and aiming it at the nearest bin?

Are you wondering what happened to all those American writers from Bret Easton Ellis to Jeffrey Eugenides, from Jonathan Franzen to Cormac McCarthy?

Have women been short-changed? Should we have included Pat Barker, Elizabeth Bowen, A.S. Byatt, Penelope Fitzgerald, Doris Lessing and Iris Murdoch?

What's happened to novels in translation such as Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, Hesse's Siddhartha, Mishima's The Sea of Fertility, SŸskind's Perfume and Zola's Germinal?

Writers such as J.G. Ballard, Julian Barnes, Anthony Burgess, Bruce Chatwin, Robertson Davies, John Fowles, Nick Hornby, Russell Hoban

Or nonfiction? For starters of a rather traditional/canonical, sometimes 'outdated' sort, try the Guardian's list:

The 100 greatest non-fiction books

After keen debate at the Guardian's books desk, this is our list of the very best factual writing, organised by category, and then by date.

The Shock of the New by Robert Hughes (1980)
Hughes charts the story of modern art, from cubism to the avant garde

The Story of Art by Ernst Gombrich (1950)
The most popular art book in history. Gombrich examines the technical and aesthetic problems confronted by artists since the dawn of time

Ways of Seeing by John Berger (1972)
A study of the ways in which we look at art, which changed the terms of a generation's engagement with visual culture

Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects by Giorgio Vasari (1550)
Biography mixes with anecdote in this Florentine-inflected portrait of the painters and sculptors who shaped the Renaissance

The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell (1791)
Boswell draws on his journals to create an affectionate portrait of the great lexicographer

The Diaries of Samuel Pepys by Samuel Pepys (1825)
"Blessed be God, at the end of the last year I was in very good health," begins this extraordinarily vivid diary of the Restoration period

Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey (1918)
Strachey set the template for modern biography, with this witty and irreverent account of four Victorian heroes

Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves (1929)
Graves' autobiography tells the story of his childhood and the early years of his marriage, but the core of the book is his account of the brutalities and banalities of the first world war

The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas by Gertrude Stein (1933)
Stein's groundbreaking biography, written in the guise of an autobiography, of her lover

Notes on Camp by Susan Sontag (1964)
Sontag's proposition that the modern sensibility has been shaped by Jewish ethics and homosexual aesthetics

Mythologies by Roland Barthes (1972)
Barthes gets under the surface of the meanings of the things which surround us in these witty studies of contemporary myth-making

Orientalism by Edward Said (1978)
Said argues that romanticised western representations of Arab culture are political and condescending

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962)
This account of the effects of pesticides on the environment launched the environmental movement in the US

The Revenge of Gaia by James Lovelock (1979)
Lovelock's argument that once life is established on a planet, it engineers conditions for its continued survival, revolutionised our perception of our place in the scheme of things

The Histories by Herodotus (c400 BC)
History begins with Herodotus's account of the Greco-Persian war

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon (1776)
The first modern historian of the Roman Empire went back to ancient sources to argue that moral decay made downfall inevitable

The History of England by Thomas Babington Macaulay (1848)
A landmark study from the pre-eminent Whig historian

Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt (1963)
Arendt's reports on the trial of Adolf Eichmann, and explores the psychological and sociological mechanisms of the Holocaust

The Making of the English Working Class by EP Thompson (1963)
Thompson turned history on its head by focusing on the political agency of the people, whom most historians had treated as anonymous masses

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown (1970)
A moving account of the treatment of Native Americans by the US government

Hard Times: an Oral History of the Great Depression by Studs Terkel (1970)
Terkel weaves oral accounts of the Great Depression into a powerful tapestry

Shah of Shahs by Ryszard Kapus«cin«ski (1982)
The great Polish reporter tells the story of the last Shah of Iran

The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991 by Eric Hobsbawm (1994)
Hobsbawm charts the failure of capitalists and communists alike in this account of the 20th century

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Familes by Philip Gourevitch (1999)
Gourevitch captures the terror of the Rwandan massacre, and the failures of the international community

Postwar by Tony Judt (2005)
A magisterial account of the grand sweep of European history since 1945

The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm (1990)
An examination of the moral dilemmas at the heart of the journalist's trade

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe (1968)
The man in the white suit follows Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters as they drive across the US in a haze of LSD

Dispatches by Michael Herr (1977)
A vivid account of Herr's experiences of the Vietnam war

The Lives of the Poets by Samuel Johnson (1781)
Biographical and critical studies of 18th-century poets, which cast a sceptical eye on their lives and works

An Image of Africa by Chinua Achebe (1975)
Achebe challenges western cultural imperialism in his argument that Heart of Darkness is a racist novel, which deprives its African characters of humanity

The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim (1976)
Bettelheim argues that the darkness of fairy tales offers a means for children to grapple with their fears

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter (1979)
A whimsical meditation on music, mind and mathematics that explores formal complexity and self-reference

Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1782)
Rousseau establishes the template for modern autobiography with this intimate account of his own life

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass (1845)
This vivid first person account was one of the first times the voice of the slave was heard in mainstream society

De Profundis by Oscar Wilde (1905)
Imprisoned in Reading Gaol, Wilde tells the story of his affair with Alfred Douglas and his spiritual development

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence (1922)
A dashing account of Lawrence's exploits during the revolt against the Ottoman empire

The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi (1927)
A classic of the confessional genre, Gandhi recounts early struggles and his passionate quest for self-knowledge

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell (1938)
Orwell's clear-eyed account of his experiences in Spain offers a portrait of confusion and betrayal during the civil war

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (1947)
Published by her father after the war, this account of the family's hidden life helped to shape the post-war narrative of the Holocaust

Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov (1951)
Nabokov reflects on his life before moving to the US in 1940

The Man Died by Wole Soyinka (1971)
A powerful autobiographical account of Soyinka's experiences in prison during the Nigerian civil war

The Periodic Table by Primo Levi (1975)
A vision of the author's life, including his life in the concentration camps, as seen through the kaleidoscope of chemistry

Bad Blood by Lorna Sage (2000)
Sage demolishes the fantasy of family as she tells how her relatives passed rage, grief and frustrated desire down the generations

The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud (1899)
Freud's argument that our experiences while dreaming hold the key to our psychological lives launched the discipline of psychoanalysis and transformed western culture

The Romantic Generation by Charles Rosen (1998)
Rosen examines how 19th-century composers extended the boundaries of music, and their engagement with literature, landscape and the divine

The Symposium by Plato (c380 BC)
A lively dinner-party debate on the nature of love

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (c180)
A series of personal reflections, advocating the preservation of calm in the face of conflict, and the cultivation of a cosmic perspective

Essays by Michel de Montaigne (1580)
Montaigne's wise, amusing examination of himself, and of human nature, launched the essay as a literary form

The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton (1621)
Burton examines all human culture through the lens of melancholy

Meditations on First Philosophy by RenŽ Descartes (1641)
Doubting everything but his own existence, Descartes tries to construct God and the universe

Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion by David Hume (1779)
Hume puts his faith to the test with a conversation examining arguments for the existence of God

Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant (1781)
If western philosophy is merely a footnote to Plato, then Kant's attempt to unite reason with experience provides many of the subject headings

Phenomenology of Mind by GWF Hegel (1807)
Hegel takes the reader through the evolution of consciousness

Walden by HD Thoreau (1854)
An account of two years spent living in a log cabin, which examines ideas of independence and society

On Liberty by John Stuart Mill (1859)
Mill argues that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others"

Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche (1883)
The invalid Nietzsche proclaims the death of God and the triumph of the Ubermensch

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn (1962)
A revolutionary theory about the nature of scientific progress

The Art of War by Sun Tzu (c500 BC)
A study of warfare that stresses the importance of positioning and the ability to react to changing circumstances

The Prince by Niccol˜ Machiavelli (1532)
Machiavelli injects realism into the study of power, arguing that rulers should be prepared to abandon virtue to defend stability

Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes (1651)
Hobbes makes the case for absolute power, to prevent life from being "nasty, brutish and short"

The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine (1791)
A hugely influential defence of the French revolution, which points out the illegitimacy of governments that do not defend the rights of citizens

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft (1792)
Wollstonecraft argues that women should be afforded an education in order that they might contribute to society

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1848)
An analysis of society and politics in terms of class struggle, which launched a movement with the ringing declaration that "proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains"

The Souls of Black Folk by WEB DuBois (1903)
A series of essays makes the case for equality in the American south

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir (1949)
De Beauvoir examines what it means to be a woman, and how female identity has been defined with reference to men throughout history

The Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fanon (1961)
An exploration of the psychological impact of colonialisation

The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan (1967)
This bestselling graphic popularisation of McLuhan's ideas about technology and culture was cocreated with Quentin Fiore

The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer (1970)
Greer argues that male society represses the sexuality of women

Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman (1988)
Chomsky argues that corporate media present a distorted picture of the world, so as to maximise their profits

Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky (2008)
A vibrant first history of the ongoing social media revolution

The Golden Bough by James George Frazer (1890)
An attempt to identify the shared elements of the world's religions, which suggests that they originate from fertility cults

The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James (1902)
James argues that the value of religions should not be measured in terms of their origin or empirical accuracy

On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (1859)
Darwin's account of the evolution of species by natural selection transformed biology and our place in the universe

The Character of Physical Law by Richard Feynmann (1965)
An elegant exploration of physical theories from one of the 20th century's greatest theoreticians

The Double Helix by James Watson (1968)
James Watson's personal account of how he and Francis Crick cracked the structure of DNA

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (1976)
Dawkins launches a revolution in biology with the suggestion that evolution is best seen from the perspective of the gene, rather than the organism

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (1988)
A book owned by 10 million people, if understood by fewer, Hawking's account of the origins of the universe became a publishing sensation

The Book of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pisan (1405)
A defence of womankind in the form of an ideal city, populated by famous women from throughout history

Praise of Folly by Erasmus (1511)
This satirical encomium to the foolishness of man helped spark the Reformation with its skewering of abuses and corruption in the Catholic church

Letters Concerning the English Nation by Voltaire (1734)
Voltaire turns his keen eye on English society, comparing it affectionately with life on the other side of the English channel

Suicide by ƒmile Durkheim (1897)
An investigation into protestant and catholic culture, which argues that the less vigilant social control within catholic societies lowers the rate of suicide

Economy and Society by Max Weber (1922)
A thorough analysis of political, economic and religious mechanisms in modern society, which established the template for modern sociology

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf (1929)
Woolf's extended essay argues for both a literal and metaphorical space for women writers within a male-dominated literary tradition

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans (1941)
Evans's images and Agee's words paint a stark picture of life among sharecroppers in the US South

The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan (1963)
An exploration of the unhappiness felt by many housewives in the 1950s and 1960s, despite material comfort and stable family lives

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966)
A novelistic account of a brutal murder in a town in Kansas, which propelled Capote to fame and fortune

Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion (1968)
Didion evokes life in 1960s California in a series of sparkling essays

The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1973)
This analysis of incarceration in the Soviet Union, including the author's own experiences as a zek, called into question the moral foundations of the USSR

Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault (1975)
Foucault examines the development of modern society's systems of incarceration

News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garc’a M‡rquez (1996)
Colombia's greatest 20th-century writer tells the story of kidnappings carried out by Pablo Escobar's Medell’n cartel

The Travels of Ibn Battuta by Ibn Battuta (1355)
The Arab world's greatest medieval traveller sets down his memories of journeys throughout the known world and beyond

Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain (1869)
Twain's tongue-in-cheek account of his European adventures was an immediate bestseller

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West (1941)
A six-week trip to Yugoslavia provides the backbone for this monumental study of Balkan history

Venice by Jan Morris (1960)
An eccentric but learned guide to the great city's art, history, culture and people

A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor (1977)
The first volume of Leigh Fermor's journey on foot through Europe - a glowing evocation of youth, memory and history

Danube by Claudio Magris (1986)
Magris mixes travel, history, anecdote and literature as he tracks the Danube from its source to the sea

China Along the Yellow River by Cao Jinqing (1995)
A pioneering work of Chinese sociology, exploring modern China with a modern face

The Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald (1995)
A walking tour in East Anglia becomes a melancholy meditation on transience and decay

Passage to Juneau by Jonathan Raban (2000)
Raban sets off in a 35ft ketch on a voyage from Seattle to Alaska, exploring Native American art, the Romantic imagination and his own disintegrating relationship along the way

Letters to a Young Novelist by Mario Vargas Llosa (2002)
Vargas Llosa distils a lifetime of reading and writing into a manual of the writer's craft

And see these lists of over 150 writers' top-ten lists, in various compilations