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My Rankings

Time Magazine didn’t rank the top 100, so I thought I’d have a little fun and rank them myself. This is totally subjective, my opinion, and in no way represents the opinions of the editors at Time.

After I read each book, I’ll ask myself one question: Did I enjoy this book? That’s it. If I enjoyed the book, I’ll rank it high. If I hated it, or if I just didn’t like it as much, then I’ll rank it accordingly.

Rankings updated through Book 72: The Lord of the Rings (8/6/14)

  1. The Great Gatsby
  2. The Lord of the Rings
  3. To Kill A Mockingbird
  4. I, Claudius
  5. A Death In The Family
  6. Their Eyes Were Watching God
  7. Catch 22
  8. Things Fall Apart
  9. Infinite Jest
  10. 1984
  11. The Sun Also Rises
  12. Invisible Man
  13. All The King’s Men
  14. An American Tragedy
  15. American Pastoral
  16. Never Let Me Go
  17. A Handful Of Dust
  18. The Bridge Of San Luis Rey
  19. The Grapes Of Wrath
  20. The Sot-Weed Factor
  21. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
  22. The Power And The Glory
  23. Animal Farm
  24. Red Harvest
  25. The Blind Assassin
  26. Native Son
  27. Call It Sleep
  28. Falconer
  29. The French Lieutenant’s Woman
  30. Ubik
  31. Blood Meridian
  32. The Corrections
  33. Revolutionary Road
  34. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
  35. Atonement
  36. Money
  37. The Death of the Heart
  38. Pale Fire
  39. Wide Sargasso Sea
  40. Go Tell It On The Mountain
  41. The Moviegoer
  42. A Clockwork Orange
  43. The Crying of Lot 49
  44. The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
  45. Rabbit, Run
  46. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  47. The Catcher in the Rye
  48. Deliverance
  49. Beloved
  50. Watchmen
  51. The Assistant
  52. The Golden Notebook
  53. The Big Sleep
  54. Death Comes For The Archbishop
  55. Ragtime
  56. Gone With The Wind
  57. Slaughterhouse Five
  58. Lord of the Flies
  59. The Day of the Locust
  60. Loving
  61. A Passage To India
  62. Portnoy’s Complaint
  63. Under The Volcano
  64. Snow Crash
  65. Dog Soldiers
  66. Lolita
  67. Neuromancer
  68. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
  69. Possession
  70. The Sound And The Fury
  71. Mrs. Dalloway
  72. A Dance To The Music Of Time
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127 Comments Post a comment
  1. I admire the idea behind your blog. Bravo and happy reading.

    Like

    October 7, 2011
  2. Love this! It’s a great idea.

    Like

    October 8, 2011
  3. Read the novel ‘Its not about the bike- My journey back to life’. Its a biography by Lance Armstrong. I know you are interested in novels rather than non-fiction. But try reading this, you will surely like it. By the way, nice ordering of books… :)

    Like

    October 9, 2011
    • yzarcerauoy #

      Akshat Mittal: I think Lance Armstrong’s book “It’s Not About The Bike….” is an inspirational story, but I found the actual writing less than desirable. I am not an english major or editor my trade; however, Lance Armstrong did admit that he was allowed a lot of full reign in the writing of it, and writer—he is not. Inspirational story, yes. Well written—not quite.

      Like

      July 30, 2014
  4. Lotus Flower #

    You’ve motivated me to start a similar project but relating it to preparation for the Graduate Records Examination to enter a dual masters degree. Thanks so much for all your inspiration! :)

    Like

    October 13, 2011
    • Awesome! Good luck with it and keep me posted.

      Like

      October 13, 2011
  5. its a gud idea

    Like

    November 4, 2011
    • Dilip, you flatter him far too much.

      Like

      April 16, 2012
  6. I am sad to see Lord of the Flies ranking so below on your list. You’ve actually got it below Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe, which I thought was pretty ordinary stuff :(

    Like

    November 28, 2011
    • Sorry to disappoint. Sometimes I wonder if I have Lord of the Flies too low as well!

      Like

      December 12, 2011
  7. I love the concept of your blog/project.

    Nineteen Eighty-Four is my all-time favourite, bar none.

    Like

    June 8, 2012
  8. Good blog. I’m a sucker for the 100 best novels idea. Not too many foreign novels there. If Dostoevsky saw this list he’s rise up from his grave. And then we’d only have to bury him again.

    Like

    August 8, 2012
  9. I love the idea of this blog, going through the 100 best books, and from the books that I’ve read on your list I mostly agree with you, though personally Catch 22 would be my top book.

    Like

    January 2, 2013
  10. Melissa @ Swamp of Boredom #

    I haven’t read Mrs. Dalloway or A Dance to the music of Time but I totally agree with your ranking of The Sound and the Fury.

    Like

    January 3, 2013
  11. I’m on pins and needles, wondering where you will be ranking Pale Fire. Looking forward to the revelation! :o)

    Like

    January 17, 2013
  12. I took a quick look a your rankings, up to the list on the page, top 51.
    My first comment is: the majority of the books are by American authors.
    Saul Bellow isn’t on the list. An omission, I think.

    Like

    January 26, 2013
    • The Adventures of Augie March is on the list. I just haven’t got to it yet.

      Like

      April 16, 2013
  13. camdengirls #

    Fab idea!

    Like

    February 5, 2013
  14. Lord of the Rings? The Hobbit?

    Like

    March 11, 2013
    • Lord of the Rings is on the list. I haven’t got to it yet. Your looking at my rankings of the books I’ve already read.

      Like

      April 16, 2013
  15. how about ranking blogging sites? I see your alexa traffic ranking is 1,250,588,

    Like

    April 14, 2013
    • Oh no! I’ve always wanted to be in the top 1,250,500. So close.

      Like

      April 16, 2013
  16. I actually hated Catch-22, The Great Gatsby, and The Catcher in the Rye. I felt like they all had a misogynistic undertone. Something a man might not notice. I love Slaughterhouse Five, and pretty much everything else Vonnegut wrote. I love lists like this. I’ve read most of the authors, but not the exact works listed.

    Like

    April 18, 2013
    • I think a part of me died inside after reading this comment. Though I do agree with you, Slaughter House Five is fantastic. What do you think about Lord Of The Flies?

      Like

      August 16, 2013
      • That is one of those classics I somehow never got around to reading. If I ever do I’ll let ya know. :)

        Like

        August 16, 2013
      • I should add- I loved 9 stories and Franny & Zooey. Salinger isn’t all bad. Just hated that particular book.

        Like

        August 17, 2013
    • yzarcerauoy #

      Wow—hard to believe someone could actually not like Catch-22…did you read the ending part of Snowden in that novel? I swear NO WRITER will ever capture the shock and dismay of a main character like Heller did just in that scene alone. I still bookmark that page and only wish I could write such work!

      You are definitely entitled to your own opinions, but I rarely meet anyone who read Catch-22 and did not like it, even a little.

      Like

      July 30, 2014
      • Uggh I know- I feel a bit freakish. I’ll read it again someday and perhaps I’ll like it better.

        Like

        July 30, 2014
        • yzarcerauoy #

          Sorry for picking on you! Lol

          Like

          July 30, 2014
          • No worries- plenty of friends have been genuinely taken aback that I don’t like the novel. I also dislike most Kerouac, Plath’s prose, and I think Tolstoy is sexist- none of these are popular opinions.

            Like

            July 30, 2014
          • yzarcerauoy #

            HA! I also dislike Kerouac (his life was more interesting than his actual writings, along with his famous writer friends), Plath was crazy so that seems to make her prose that much more “interesting” to some (not me!)…I am not versed well on Tolstoy that much, but he doesn’t do much for me as well.

            Like

            July 30, 2014
          • Welll in Tolstoy’s world women tend to be beautiful virgins or beautiful whores. Sometimes he lets in a faded but formerly beautiful matron and nameless maidservants for their husbands to cheat on them with. Dostoevsky is brilliant for writing multi-faceted women. I’m glad I’m not the only one who dislikes Kerouac and Plath- seems like a cardinal sin among certain social circles. :)

            Like

            July 30, 2014
  17. It’s a great idea. But I wonder if you are always inspired enough to read the big names. Sometimes it is so much fun to pick up just anything and read! Do you find yourself taking a break from the list once in a while?

    Like

    April 19, 2013
  18. I’m happy to see “Things Fall Apart” rated so highly on this list! It’s a book I’ve returned to several times throughout my life and each time I’m moved by how powerful of a story it is. I know several Authors and Students that can’t stand it, so it’s refreshing to see others appreciate it as well.

    Very inspirational idea! Have you found any underlying similarities in the books you’ve enjoyed the most?

    Like

    April 21, 2013
  19. I flinched hard at some of the ratings, and then smiled because you read all these and gave them time and chances and differing opinions are not the devil or anything, but rather a sign of character.

    Like

    April 24, 2013
  20. Lara #

    Have to admit I couldn’t get through Mrs. Dalloway! Loved Slaughterhouse Five though…

    Like

    April 25, 2013
  21. What did you find so great about the Great Gatsby? To be honest, I found it a bit underwhelming, but I’m thinking of giving it another read.

    Like

    April 25, 2013
  22. I love that you have A Handful of Dust in your top 20. I feel that that novel doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, everyone is always so focused on Brideshead Revisited. Personally, A Handful of Dust is one of my favorite novels, alongside This Side of Paradise and The Catcher in the Rye. So this makes me very happy. It’s also great to know not everyone is on the Lolita-is-an-amazing-piece-of-work bandwagon :)

    Like

    May 1, 2013
  23. Strange that over the last week, I have independently thought about your top four books, all of which I read as a teenager, and thought “I must revisit that book”.

    Like

    May 13, 2013
  24. I was a bit astonished at your ranking of Blind assassin so high. I don’t know if you are aware of the fact, but it’s highly ‘inspired’ by Doris Lessing’s golden notebook. And The sound and the fury is in a lower position than Gone with the wind! Really!!!! And you are a guy!!! I though I would never see that happening :P

    Like

    May 27, 2013
  25. Outstanding idea for a blog! I look forward to reading about your progress.

    Like

    July 9, 2013
  26. Will you read “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison? That was pretty good, I read it last summer.

    Like

    July 17, 2013
  27. I recently found this blog and I think what you are doing is absolutely remarkable. Furthermore, I agree that The Great Gatsby is a superb novel but I do think that The Catcher In The Rye is worthy of a top ten spot.

    Like

    August 16, 2013
  28. Love this idea, I’d love to do the same thing. Especially rereading the ones I read in high school and probably didn’t understand..

    Like

    August 20, 2013
  29. Fun list. I’m impressed by anyone who’s finished Infinite Jest. I’m halfway through A Dance to the Music of Time and will get to the rest. There are a few other titles on your list I want to get to as well.

    Like

    August 21, 2013
  30. Great list! Respectful top two. Also, cool pick with #14 – great contemporary choice.

    Like

    August 22, 2013
  31. I loved To Kill a Mockingbird!

    http://areyoureadytoconquertheworld.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    September 8, 2013
  32. Every time I see a top/best book list, I have the urge to do what you’re doing. I have even tried it once or twice, but I always get distracted by other books. There are just so many books! And since I have discovered WordPress, I am doing even less book reading, unfortunately. Oh well, I will just do it vicariously through your blog now. :)
    p.s. I, Claudius WAS a really great read!

    Like

    September 24, 2013
  33. So great to see Revolutionary Road up there, but I am a bit puzzled about One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest..sure, the idea there and they way it transpired into a movie was amazing, but the novel itself? the greatest – as in top 30, really?

    Like

    December 16, 2013
  34. As a fellow avid reader, I love the premise of your blog! Will definitely be referring to this list the next time I’m looking for a new book to read

    Like

    December 17, 2013
  35. Very interesting ranking. I thoroughly agree with you about Gatsby. I love Hemingway’s short stories, A Farewell to Arms and Old Man and the Sea but The Sun Also Rises I don’t think is his best work. Prefer Graham Greene’s The Heart of the Matter over The Power and The Glory. Some of your higher ranked I would rate lower and some of your lower ranked I would rate higher.

    Like

    January 8, 2014
  36. Ju Lie #

    I don’t think I could rank those books – I loved almost all of them that I have read. But Rabbit Run is my favourite.

    Like

    January 20, 2014
  37. I absolutely love the idea behind this blog! I hope you are enjoying reading all of these wonderful books. I’m glad to see The Great Gatsby at the top, but Mrs. Dalloway? Anyway, keep reading; I’ll be enjoying reading what you have to say about all of the books!

    Like

    March 28, 2014
  38. Lesa #

    I love this idea! And there are so many I haven’t read yet…I need to rededicate myself to reading again! I’m confused by the people who are disappointed in your rankings, though. Even if something ranks lower than another, it doesn’t necessarily mean the book is bad or that you didn’t like or appreciate it…just not as much as the ones ranked higher. I mean, all of these would be considered “good” or even classics, right? And of course, it’s your opinion and not everyone has the same taste in books. Thanks for sharing your idea and your opinions!

    Like

    May 7, 2014
  39. Thank you for your list! I have looked high and low for recommendations of good books, hoping to help me get back to having a good, diverse vocabulary. These days, words that used to be simple for me, seem to escape me – they have difficulty making their way beyond the tip of my tongue (laugh). I’ve read a good amount of the books on your list – so it’ll be fun to go through the list and get lost in them. Do you have any recommendations for good grammar books I can look into? Thanks!

    Like

    May 17, 2014
  40. The Great Gatsby, such a wonderful book. It reads like a poem and the last page is the best last page of any book ever,
    Regards,
    Steve

    Like

    June 5, 2014
  41. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web site before but after looking
    at some of the articles I realized it’s new to
    me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly pleased I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it
    and checking back often!

    Like

    July 25, 2014
  42. yzarcerauoy #

    I love your idea of chronicling your journey of reading these great works of literature. You are brave to be so candid amidst a world of judgers, such as we are—all of us have in our own heads, “But, what about…”, and “Why didn’t you include…”. Hahaha…

    Kudos, nonetheless. ; )

    Like

    July 30, 2014

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