Top 100


Since the “100 Best” story first broke in The New York Times on Monday, July 20, 1998, all kinds of opinions about the list – and theories about the Modern Library’s purpose in concocting such a contest of sorts – emerged.

The goal of the “100 Best” project was to get people talking about great books. We succeeded beyond our wildest imaginings — more than 400,000 avid readers rushed online to cast votes for their favorite books and the students of the Radcliffe Publishing Course quickly responded with rival list of 100 Best Novels.

The reader’s poll for the best nonfiction published in the English language since 1900 opened on April 29, 1999 and closed on September 30, 1999 with a total of 194,829 votes cast.

The readers’ poll for the best novels published in the English language since 1900 opened on July 20, 1998 and closed on October 20, 1998, with 217,520 votes cast.

To jumpstart your own, more structured discussion of the books, try using a few talking points as a guide.

Top Board Picks for Novels and Nonfiction


ISBN 9780679600114

Ulysses

Written by James Joyce

Considered the greatest 20th century novel written in English, in this edition Walter Gabler uncovers previously unseen text. It is a disillusioned study of estrangement, paralysis and the disintegration of society.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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ISBN 9780679640103

The Education of Henry Adams

Written by Henry Adams

‘I cannot remember when I was not fascinated by Henry Adams,’ said Gore Vidal. ‘He was remarkably prescient about the coming horrors.’His political ideals shaped by two presidential ancestors—great-grandfather John Adams and grandfather John Quincy Adams—Henry Adams was one of the most powerful and original minds to confront the American scene from the Civil War to the First World War. Printed privately in 1907 and published to wide acclaim shortly after the author&’s death in 1918,…
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