Now I’ve gone and done it. I combined every one of my literature meta-lists into one gigantic meta-meta list of the best literature of all time: 3,255 written works by many hundreds of authors, from the Epic of Gilgamesh in 2000 BCE to Hillary Clinton’s 2017 memoir, What Happened. You’ll find the usual suspects, but some authors you’ve never heard of (Nazim Hikmet? Wole Soyinka?), and some you (and I?) might think are too lowbrow to make a “best of” list. Novels, novellas and short stories, poems, plays, essays, journalism, history, philosophy, science, books for kids, religious texts – it’s all here.
How did I do it? I put together my meta-lists lists of best literature of all time and best writers and their best works, added my meta-lists lists of best poems, plays, stories, novels, science fiction and fantasy and non-fiction, then picked the top 10 or so books from the Year by Year meta-lists (which cover 2000-present), and also the Best of the 21st Century (So Far) meta-list. I organized the list chronologically by the date that the work was written or published.
HERE’S THE LINK: The Big Literature List: A Meta-Meta List
Why did I do it? I’m not sure, but I think I just wanted to see what all these works of literature would look like all in one list. It’s pretty amazing, really, if I do say so myself. (And I just did.)
I’m sorry if your favorite author or work of literature is not on the list. As always, remember that these are meta-lists: they do not represent my personal opinions and I certainly have not read all these works of literature. But check back with me in a few years…
It was a lot of fun to make the list. I hope you enjoy it.