The ACTUAL 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century
I took exception with the Modern Library List as there are: 1) multiple entries for the same author, 2) only works written in English, and 3) glaring omissions. This is a work in progress.
1
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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 1,570,520 ratings
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2
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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 847,834 ratings
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3
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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 469,809 ratings
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4
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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 422,319 ratings
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5
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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 357,233 ratings
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6
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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 454,496 ratings
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7
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4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 2,460,786 ratings
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8
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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 2,145,920 ratings
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9
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4.19 of 5 stars 4.19 avg rating — 60,102 ratings
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10
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 23,175 ratings
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11
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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 428,749 ratings
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12
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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 371,598 ratings
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13
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 342,839 ratings
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14
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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 88,306 ratings
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15
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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73 avg rating — 69,320 ratings
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16
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 245,964 ratings
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17
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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 429,183 ratings
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18
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 1,688,640 ratings
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19
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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58 avg rating — 84,753 ratings
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20
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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 14,749 ratings
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20
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 169,956 ratings
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22
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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 40,744 ratings
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23
by
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 925,208 ratings
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24
by
4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 30,928 ratings
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25
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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 19,796 ratings
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25
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 61,574 ratings
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27
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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66 avg rating — 230,945 ratings
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28
by
3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 114,835 ratings
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29
by
4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 342,839 ratings
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30
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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 179,437 ratings
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31
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4.33 of 5 stars 4.33 avg rating — 111,997 ratings
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32
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3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 6,785 ratings
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33
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4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 39,833 ratings
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34
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4.45 of 5 stars 4.45 avg rating — 97,654 ratings
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34
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4.25 of 5 stars 4.25 avg rating — 16,625 ratings
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36
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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 87,259 ratings
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37
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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 18,310 ratings
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38
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 61,574 ratings
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39
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4.34 of 5 stars 4.34 avg rating — 17,418 ratings
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40
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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 5,601 ratings
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40
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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 22,888 ratings
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42
by
3.73 of 5 stars 3.73 avg rating — 200,942 ratings
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43
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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 15,369 ratings
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43
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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 32,995 ratings
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45
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3.69 of 5 stars 3.69 avg rating — 101,472 ratings
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46
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3.61 of 5 stars 3.61 avg rating — 1,321,073 ratings
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47
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 101,038 ratings
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48
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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 1,574,449 ratings
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49
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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81 avg rating — 141,155 ratings
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50
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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 27,116 ratings
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51
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3.59 of 5 stars 3.59 avg rating — 11,647 ratings
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52
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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 37,051 ratings
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53
by
3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 17,269 ratings
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54
by
4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 66,602 ratings
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55
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 57,059 ratings
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56
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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 17,121 ratings
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57
by
3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 25,192 ratings
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58
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3.76 of 5 stars 3.76 avg rating — 4,879 ratings
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59
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4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 1,526 ratings
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60
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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 116,343 ratings
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61
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4.52 of 5 stars 4.52 avg rating — 9,079 ratings
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61
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3.91 of 5 stars 3.91 avg rating — 27,378 ratings
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63
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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 19,469 ratings
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64
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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 26,426 ratings
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65
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4.18 of 5 stars 4.18 avg rating — 11,024 ratings
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65
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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 18,165 ratings
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67
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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 18,382 ratings
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68
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4.24 of 5 stars 4.24 avg rating — 64,547 ratings
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69
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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 428 ratings
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69
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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 2,775 ratings
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71
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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 102,056 ratings
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71
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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 429,183 ratings
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73
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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 1,701 ratings
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74
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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 865 ratings
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74
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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65 avg rating — 1,215 ratings
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74
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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68 avg rating — 190 ratings
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74
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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 715,933 ratings
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78
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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 39,371 ratings
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78
by
3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 7,574 ratings
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78
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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17 avg rating — 425,620 ratings
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81
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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 10,651 ratings
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81
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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80 avg rating — 1,217,081 ratings
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83
by
4.04 of 5 stars 4.04 avg rating — 5,805 ratings
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83
by
4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 132,212 ratings
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85
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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 518 ratings
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85
by
3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 17,210 ratings
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87
by
4.28 of 5 stars 4.28 avg rating — 1,134 ratings
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88
by
3.83 of 5 stars 3.83 avg rating — 1,408 ratings
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89
by
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 309 ratings
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89
by
3.67 of 5 stars 3.67 avg rating — 399,001 ratings
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91
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 210 ratings
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92
by
3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 1,094 ratings
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92
by
4.21 of 5 stars 4.21 avg rating — 1,759,433 ratings
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94
by
4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 4,752 ratings
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94
by
3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 4,680 ratings
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94
by
4.08 of 5 stars 4.08 avg rating — 16,408 ratings
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97
by
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 723 ratings
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98
by
3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 7,109 ratings
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98
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4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 1,291 ratings
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100
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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64 avg rating — 1,795 ratings
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flag this list (?)
101 books · 81 voters · list created April 12th, 2012 by Benjamin (votes) .
31 likes · Like
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Benjamin 696 books
12 friends
Katarina 415 books
5 friends
Margaret 650 books
13 friends
Ed 65 books
1 friend
Paul 481 books
33 friends
Rayroy 493 books
160 friends
Mr.Dedalus 144 books
0 friends
Gus 1052 books
172 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Well some idiot decided to vote for two James Joyce books. Anyone know how to fix this?


message 2: by Ellinor (new)

Ellinor Benjamin wrote: "Well some idiot decided to vote for two James Joyce books. Anyone know how to fix this?"

I'm a Goodreads librarian and could remove one of them if you would like me to. Just tell me which one.


message 3: by Ellinor (new)

Ellinor Albert Camus is on the list twice as well, by the way.


message 4: by Ellinor (new)

Ellinor And so are Lorrie Moore and Ernest Hemingway.


message 5: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Actually, let's see how the list fills out. It might make for a good debate!


message 6: by j. ergo (new)

j. ergo so, if i think that light in august is far better than as i lay dying, i shouldn't vote for it b/c as i lay dying is already on the list? i usually feel exactly the same way about multiples on best of lists, but it's usually when i'm the only one making the list. i think it's a better idea to let it fill out, &nd anyone who themselves votes for 2 books by the same author should be ridiculed for being an idiot. i don't have time to check constantly, so i think everyone should pitch in w/ the ridiculing. i like lists too much. i said that last thing to myself.


message 7: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin J. Ergo wrote: "so, if i think that light in august is far better than as i lay dying, i shouldn't vote for it b/c as i lay dying is already on the list? i usually feel exactly the same way about multiples on best..."

I'd put up both and then use this section to fight it out and narrow it to the final hundred. There will obviousl be more than 100 entries, so I anticipate some good battles.


message 8: by j. ergo (new)

j. ergo Benjamin wrote: "J. Ergo wrote: "so, if i think that light in august is far better than as i lay dying, i shouldn't vote for it b/c as i lay dying is already on the list? i usually feel exactly the same way about m..."

yeah, that's what i meant. i can still ridicule people who list's include the same author more than once, though, rt? i'll just do it in my head.


message 9: by Sky (new)

Sky I am a little disappointed that the first female author is at number 22. Overall, this list is definitely dominated by the great white male author! Not to say they aren't fabulous because they are! But so are their counterparts! Particularly disappointed to see no Atwood on there. Truly one of the best writers of the 20th century.


message 10: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Sky:

Vote Atwood in! Feel free to add whoever. I noticed the same thing the other day. There is a serious deficiency of black authors as well. No Ellison, Wright, Hurston, Morrison, Edward P. Jones. I'm throwing in for Morrison right now!


message 11: by Sky (new)

Sky Hey! Didn't realise I could vote in other books! Thanks for the heads up! :)


message 12: by Mkeesee (new)

Mkeesee Heart is a Lonely Hunter is on there twice


message 13: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Could people please take note that this is a list of the best 20th Century novels. White Tiger and the Year of the Flood (which was awful regardless) are post-2001 novels!


message 14: by j. ergo (new)

j. ergo didn't notice my dumb ass had 2666 at #5, which was published, at earliest, in 2009, though i'm 99% sure he started writing it pre-2001, though i have absolutely no evidence for this, nor will i attempt any research to justify the overwhelming certainty of my claim. yeah, i removed it.


message 15: by j. ergo (new)

j. ergo better add on beauty to yer list of 21st century invaders


message 16: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin j. ergo wrote: "didn't notice my dumb ass had 2666 at #5, which was published, at earliest, in 2009, though i'm 99% sure he started writing it pre-2001, though i have absolutely no evidence for this, nor will i at..."

I think 2666 falls within the 20th. If 'The Way of All Flesh' made it to the myopic Modern Library list because it was published post 1901, then 2666 makes it. It's also an incredible novel; excellent choice!


message 17: by j. ergo (new)

j. ergo well it was certainly published--for the first time--before the white tiger


message 18: by Zardoz (new)

Zardoz Added three more into the mix. Interesting list.


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