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 four reasonable lists and one Top 10 list. I then combined them into one big personal list so I could figure out how many of the books were unique to each list and how many crossed over between lists. It turns out that this ends up being about 306 different books, stories, plays, and/or novels. Quite an undertaking. So while I am reading the list I will bounce around and read other stuff as well to maintain my sanity. 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 his idea) with the same lists I had found (I found them on my own though). You can download a copy of my shortened list by clicking on the link below.

Current total book count - 166/306 read.


Download Interactive Excel Book List

The Different Book Lists


The Sybervision website used to sell the 100 Greatest Books as an Audio Collection, however they appear to have stopped doing that recently and their entire website is now defunct. Even so, I have made this list a focus for my reading and so it remains here. 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.


The Norwegian list comprises an international selection of books and has no ranking order. The list seems to have the most merit of all my lists here, since it was voted on by 100 writers from 54 countries. This is the only other list (other than the Sybervision list) to include a large collection of 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 - 41/100 read.


The Observer list, in my opinion, has the least credibility of all the lists I found, 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 - 47/100 read.


Although not a collection of professionals, the BBC list was created by a vote put out to 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. Since this list is a vote, the books have a tendency to be a little more fun to read by 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 - 64/100 read.


I found Zane's Top 10 list significantly after I started 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 - 9/10 read.


Even though I am no expert on literature or have a degree in English Literature, 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 Book List, to shorten the 300 some books on the other lists to the most enjoyable and easily read of the bunch.

Current List count - 56 books