20th Century’s Best Novels

In 1999, Modern Library conducted polls to select the best 100 novels of the twentieth century. There were separate polls for the readers and Modern Library advisors. See below for the first 10 from each category:

The Advisors’ list

  1. Ulysses by James Joyce
  2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  3. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  4. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  6. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  8. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
  9. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
  10. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Readers’ list

  1. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  2. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  3. Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard
  4. The Lord Of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  6. 1984 by George Orwell
  7. Anthem by Ayn Rand
  8. We the Living by Ayn Rand
  9. Mission Earth by L. Ron Hubbard
  10. Fear by L. Ron Hubbard

To see the complete list visit the 100 Best Novels at the Modern Library’s web site.


  1. silverine said,

    August 25, 2005 at 7:00 pm

    I would agree with most of the books listed here. And the rest I am definitely gonna try and pick up.

  2. silverine said,

    August 28, 2005 at 8:49 pm

    Hi ALexis,

    Thanks for your comments on my latest post. Your comments are always appreciated.

  3. paappaan said,

    October 12, 2005 at 7:47 pm

    Of all these, the only one I have read is the Mockingbird 🙁

    Isn’t L ron Hubbard the guy who founded Scientology? I am leery about this “readers’ list” — perhaps his followers managed to skew it a bit?

  4. Alexis Leon said,

    October 12, 2005 at 8:30 pm

    Yes, Hubbard is the founder of Scientology. His followers might have managed to skew the list. The same could be said about Ayn Rand, but I like to believe it as an unmanipulated list. Even thouh, I don’t agree the inclusion of all the books by Hubbard in the top 10, I feel that all the 4 books by Ayn Rand belongs there. I would have replaced Mission Earth with Catch 22, which I definitely feel belongs to the top 10.