The 100 Best Books of All Time

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The World Library is a list of the 100 best books, as proposed by one hundred writers from fifty-four different countries, compiled and organized in 2002 by the Norwegian Book Club. This list endeavors to reflect world literature, with books from all countries, cultures, and time periods.

Each writer had to select his or her own list of ten books. The books selected by this process and listed here are not ranked or categorized in any way; the organizers have stated that "they are all on an equal footing," with the exception of Don Quixote which was given the distinction "best literary work ever written." The following list organizes the works alphabetically by author.[1]

Fyodor Dostoevsky is the author with the most books on the list, with four. William Shakespeare, Franz Kafka, and Leo Tolstoy each have three books on the list.

Breakdown by language, gender[edit]

Eleven of the books included on the list are written by women, eighty-five are written by men and four have unknown authors. This breakdown is similar to other lists, such as Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century, which was voted for by 17,000 people from the general public and contains twelve books by women.

Twenty-six of the one hundred voting writers had English as their first language,[2] which may be a factor in the list having so many (29) books written in English. Again, this phenomenon was visible in Le Monde's list, with 49 French books.

List of authors surveyed[edit]

Aitmatov, ChinghizChinghiz AitmatovKyrgyzstan
Altan, AhmetAhmet AltanTurkey
Appelfeld, AharonAharon AppelfeldIsrael
Auster, PaulPaul AusterUnited States
Azúa, Félix deFélix de AzúaSpain
Barnes, JulianJulian BarnesUnited Kingdom
Behbahani, SiminSimin BehbahaniIran
Bly, RobertRobert BlyUnited States
Brink, AndréAndré BrinkSouth Africa
Brøgger, SuzanneSuzanne BrøggerDenmark
Byatt, A. S.A. S. ByattUnited Kingdom
Carey, PeterPeter CareyAustralia
Cerda, MarthaMartha CerdaMexico
Chang, JungJung ChangChina/United Kingdom
Condé, MaryseMaryse CondéFrance
Couto, MiaMia CoutoMozambique
Crace, JimJim CraceUnited Kingdom
Danticat, EdwidgeEdwidge DanticatHaiti
Dao, BeiBei DaoChina
Djebar, AssiaAssia DjebarAlgeria
Dowlatabadi, MahmoudMahmoud DowlatabadiIran
Echenoz, JeanJean EchenozFrance
Ekman, KerstinKerstin EkmanSweden
Englander, NathanNathan EnglanderUnited States
Enzensberger, Hans MagnusHans Magnus EnzensbergerGermany
Estévez, EmilioEmilio EstévezCuba
Farah, NuruddinNuruddin FarahSomalia
Fløgstad, KjartanKjartan FløgstadNorway
Fosse, JonJon FosseNorway
Frame, JanetJanet FrameNew Zealand
French, MarilynMarilyn FrenchUnited States
Fuentes, CarlosCarlos FuentesMexico
Ghazzawi, IzzatIzzat GhazzawiPalestine
Ghosh, AmitavAmitav GhoshIndia
Gimferrer, PerePere GimferrerSpain
Gordimer, NadineNadine GordimerSouth Africa
Grossman, DavidDavid GrossmanIsrael
Guðmundsson, Einar MárEinar Már GuðmundssonIceland
Heaney, SeamusSeamus HeaneyIreland
Hein, ChristophChristoph HeinGermany
Hemon, AleksandarAleksandar HemonBosnia-Herzegovina
Hoffman, AliceAlice HoffmanUnited States
Hove, ChenjeraiChenjerai HoveZimbabwe
Ibrahim, SonallahSonallah IbrahimEgypt
Irving, JohnJohn IrvingUnited States
Jersild, P. C.P. C. JersildSweden
Kemal, YasarYasar KemalTurkey
Kjærstad, JanJan KjærstadNorway
Kundera, MilanMilan KunderaCzech Republic/France
Lander, LeenaLeena LanderFinland
le Carré, JohnJohn le CarréUnited Kingdom
Lenz, SiegfriedSiegfried LenzGermany
Lessing, DorisDoris LessingUnited Kingdom
Lindgren, AstridAstrid LindgrenSweden
Luik, ViiviViivi LuikEstonia
Maalouf, AminAmin MaaloufLebanon/France
Magris, ClaudioClaudio MagrisItaly
Mailer, NormanNorman MailerUnited States
Martínez, Tomás EloyTomás Eloy MartínezArgentina
McCourt, FrankFrank McCourtIreland/United States
Mehta, GitaGita MehtaIndia
Miranda, AnaAna MirandaBrazil
Mistry, RohintonRohinton MistryIndia/Canada
Munif, Abdel RahmanAbdel Rahman MunifSaudi-Arabia
Müller, HertaHerta MüllerRomania
Naipaul, V. S.V. S. NaipaulTrinidad/United Kingdom
Nooteboom, CeesCees NooteboomNetherlands
Okri, BenBen OkriNigeria/United Kingdom
Pamuk, OrhanOrhan PamukTurkey
Paretsky, SaraSara ParetskyUnited States
Phillips, Jayne AnneJayne Anne PhillipsUnited States
Rasputin, ValentinValentin RasputinRussia
Ribeiro, João UbaldoJoão Ubaldo RibeiroBrazil
Robbe-Grillet, AlainAlain Robbe-GrilletFrance
Rushdie, SalmanSalman RushdieIndia/United Kingdom
Saadawi, Nawal ElNawal El SaadawiEgypt
al-Shaykh, HananHanan al-ShaykhLebanon
Sirees, NihadNihad SireesSyria
Sonnevi, GöranGöran SonneviSweden
Sontag, SusanSusan SontagUnited States
Soyinka, WoleWole SoyinkaNigeria
Späth, GeroldGerold SpäthSwitzerland
Swift, GrahamGraham SwiftUnited Kingdom
Tabucchi, AntonioAntonio TabucchiItaly
al-Tikerly, FouadFouad al-TikerlyIraq
Thomas, D. M.D. M. ThomasUnited Kingdom
Thorpe, AdamAdam ThorpeUnited Kingdom
Thorup, KirstenKirsten ThorupDenmark
Tkachenko, AleksandrAleksandr TkachenkoRussia
Toer, Pramoedya AnantaPramoedya Ananta ToerIndonesia
Tokarczuk, OlgaOlga TokarczukPoland
Tournier, MichelMichel TournierFrance
Toussaint, Jean-PhilippeJean-Philippe ToussaintBelgium
Uzun, MehmedMehmed UzunTurkey
Valkeapää, Nils-AslakNils-Aslak ValkeapääSápmi
Vassilikos, VassilisVassilis VassilikosGreece
Vera, YvonneYvonne VeraZimbabwe
Weldon, FayFay WeldonUnited Kingdom
Wolf, ChristaChrista WolfGermany
Yehoshua, A. B.A. B. YehoshuaIsrael
Zariâb, SpôjmaïSpôjmaï ZariâbAfghanistan

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Les 100 meilleurs livres de tous les temps". Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  2. ^ See table in article. 22 come from Ireland, UK, US, and Trinidad and Tabago; 4 come from India but are all from the minority of Indians with English as their primary language.

External links[edit]