21 January

As suggested before, each list of "great books" needs to be reviewed to see just how many books are listed, plus the number of non-books: poems, essays, and short stories published in periodicals or anthologies; excerpts of books; and even books originally published serially in periodicals. However, a book that was originally published serially, but always with the intention of being published as a whole and considered by its author to be a single work, is still counted as a book.

Robert Kanigel's Vintage Reading: From Plato to Bradbury: A Personal Tour of Some of the World's Best Books, published in 1998 by Bancroft Press, at first seems like one of the simpler lists. It gets complicated, though, when he lists Plato's Dialogues, of which several are considered not to have been written by Plato, or to be especially significant. Kanigel does not state clearly which of the Dialogues he considers best.


Kanigel has divided the list into thematic sections. The names of these sections and the nos. of the literary works (as listed at this list's Greater Books page) are as follows: 'On Everyone's List of Literary Classics' (nos. 1-12); 'Books on Many a List for Burning: Heretics, Subversives, Demagogues' (a-no. 18); 'Books That Shaped the Western World' (nos. 19-27); 'Making Hard Work Easy: The Great Popularizers' (nos. 28-36); 'Not Robinson Crusoe, Not Brave New World: Lesser Known Classics' (nos. 37-43); 'Lighter Fare: Good Reads, Best Sellers (nos. 44-51); '"But I Know What I Like": On Aesthetics and Style' (nos. 52-56); 'One-of-a-Kinds' (nos. 57-65); 'The Realm of the Spirit' (nos. 66-74)


Look Homeward, Angel
By Thomas Wolfe
First published in 1929

The Portrait of a Lady
By Henry James
First published in 1881 

As I Lay Dying
By William Faulkner
First published in 1930

Wuthering Heights
By Emily Brontë
First published in 1847 

Kim
By Rudyard Kipling
First published in 1901 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
By Lewis Carroll
First published in 1865 

Justine
By Lawrence Durrell
First published in 1957 

Oliver Twist
By Charles Dickens
First published in 1838 

Pride and Prejudice
By Jane Austen
First published in 1813

A Passage to India
By E M Forster
First published in 1924 

My Ántonia
By Willa Cather
First published in 1918

Madame Bovary
By Gustave Flaubert
First published in 1857

Stories
By Dorothy Parker
First collected in book form, 1942 [The first "collected stories" was actually published in 1939 as Here Lies: The Collected Stories; the stories had been originally published in the New Yorker and other periodicals, and in the collections Laments for the Living, 1930, and After Such Pleasures..., 1933]

The Prince
By Niccolò Machiavelli
First published in 1537

The Devil's Dictionary
By Ambrose Bierce
First published in 1906

Mein Kampf
By Adolf Hitler
First published in 1925

Nana
By Émile Zola
First published in 1880

Ten Days That Shook the World
By John Reed
First published in 1919

Native Son
By Richard Wright
First published in 1940

Essays 
By Michel de Montaigne
First appeared in 1580

The Dialogues
By Plato
Written in the fourth century B C 


An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations
By Adam Smith
First published in 1776

An Essay on the Principle of Population
By Thomas Malthus
First published in 1798

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

By Edward Gibbon
First published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788

The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life
By Charles Darwin
First published in 1859

The Histories
By Herodotus
Written in the fifth century B C

The Federalist Papers
By Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay
First appeared in 1787

The Annals of Imperial Rome
By Tacitus
First appeared circa 100 A D
 

The Peloponnesian War
By Thucydides
Written circa 404 B C


Democracy in America
By Alexis de Tocqueville
First published in 1835

Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s
By Frederick Lewis Allen
First published in 1931

Microbe Hunters
By Paul de Kruif
First published in 1926

Selected Works
By Marcus Tullius Cicero
First appeared between 60 and 44 B C 
 
Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilization
By Margaret Mead
First published in 1928

The Outermost House
By Henry Beston
First published in 1928

The Amiable Baltimoreans
By Francis F Beirne
First published in 1951

What to Listen for in Music
By Aaron Copland
First published in 1939

Gods, Graves, and Scholars
By C W Ceram
First published in 1951

The Stress of Life
By Hans Selye
First published in 1956

The Greek Way to Western Civilization 
By Edith Hamilton
First published in 1930

A Journal of the Plague Year
By Daniel Defoe
First published in 1722

The Doors of Perception
By Aldous Huxley
First published in 1954

Elective Affinities
By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
First published in 1809
 
Homage to Catalonia
By George Orwell
First published in 1938
 
Civilization and Its Discontents 
By Sigmund Freud
First published in 1930

Arrowsmith
By Sinclair Lewis
First published in 1925

Roughing It
By Mark Twain
First published in 1873

A Study in Scarlet
By Arthur Conan Doyle
First published in 1887

The Song of Hiawatha
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
First published in 1855

The Rise of David Levinsky
By Abraham Cahan
First published in 1917
 

Java Head
By Joseph Hergesheimer
First published in 1918

Mr. Pottermack's Oversight
By R Austin Freeman
First published in 1930

A Bell for Adano
By John Hersey
First published in 1944

The Martian Chronicles
Ray Bradbury
First published in 1950


Gentleman's Agreement
By Laura Z Hobson
First appeared in 1947

The Ten Books of Architecture
By Vitruvius
Written circa 25 B C

The Lives of the Most Eminent Italian Architects, Painters, and Sculptors 
By Giorgio Vasari
First published in 1550, revised and enlarged in 1568

The Seven Lamps of Architecture
By John Ruskin
First published in 1849

The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form
By Kenneth Clark
First published in 1956

The Elements of Style
By William Strunk, Jr. and E B White
Earliest edition, by Strunk alone, appeared in 1918
First joint edition appeared in 1959


A Room of One's Own
By Virginia Woolf
First published in 1929

The American Language: An Inquiry Into the Development of English in the United States
By H L Mencken
First published in 1919
Revisions and supplements through 1948

The Little Prince 
By Antoine de Saint Exupéry
First published in 1943
 
The Education of Henry Adams
By Henry Adams
First published in 1918, after a private printing in 1906


Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
By Edwin A Abbott
First published in 1884

Their Eyes Were Watching God
By Zora Neale Hurston
First published in 1937

A Mathematician's Apology
By G H Hardy
First published in 1940

My Life
By Isadora Duncan
First published in 1927

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
By Thomas S Kuhn
First appeared in 1962

Gilgamesh
Babylonian epic dating to as early as the third millennium B C

Confessions
By Saint Augustine
First appeared in 398 A D

The Golem
By Gustave Meyrink
First published in 1915

The Razor's Edge
By W Somerset Maugham
First published in 1944
 
The Seven Storey Mountain
By Thomas Merton
First published in 1948


Death Be Not Proud
By John Gunther
First published in 1949

Ecclesiastes
From the Old Testament

Lost Horizon
By James Hilton
First published in 1933

Bhagavad Gita ("Song of God")

Sanskrit poem probably written between 500 and 200 B C
Night
By Elie Wiesel
First published in 1958

The Varieties of Religious Experience
By William James
First published in 1902