Posted by: Billy Marsh | July 14, 2009

Top 100 Books of All-Time

War and Peace ~ Leo TolstoyNewsweek released a few weeks ago their list of the Top 100 Books of All-Time. They called it a “meta-list”. They polled some pretty big name libraries, universities, and of course, Oprah. Oprah? Don’t even get me started. Anyways, half the fun of any list like this one is getting to debate over why some books were included or excluded, and why some books are higher or lower than they should be. There were a few surprises on their catalogue of the greatest books known to man, most of which were fiction. However, for the most part, I think their list is pretty accurate.

Here are few notables:

First, I don’t think it is because of my bias that I was shocked to see The Lord of the Rings way down at #35. Following it by only two spots was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Yes, just the single volume. The Chronicles of Narnia as a whole did not make the list unlike Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Philip Pullman’s anti-Narnian His Dark Materials.

Kim was excited to see her favorite book, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice way up at #9. Though it is mainly a “girl book,” I was not disappointed. Credit needs to be given where credit is due. Saint Augustine’s Confessions ranked a little higher than LOTR taking the #32 spot.

But perhaps the most troubling part of the entire list for me was that the Bible ranked in fairly low at #41 while Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species made it all the way to #27. Now I will grant that the religious significance of the Bible for most people partaking in this list probably is not the same as it is for me; nevertheless, it is undeniable that the Bible has had a much greater influence on this world way beyond “religious effects” (e.g. government, ethics, literature, and so forth) in comparison to Darwin’s relatively recent (within the span of history) contribution to the theory of evolution. I doubt many will dispute the grand scope of the Bible’s influence on humanity. I won’t, however, hold this list to a standard that it most likely would not concede in terms of the value and worth of the Bible as God’s Word. In reality, it is a lose-lose situation. The list will always suffer so long as Scripture is not ranked as #1, but then again, in actuality, the Bible shouldn’t even appear on this list. There is no other single book like it in creation. Though it is a literary work, it is in a category and class all on its own. Scripture is the work of a divine author and is the special revelation of God. There is no prequel or sequel. And according to its own testimony of itself, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8).”

Some entries I was surprised not to see on Newsweek’s collection were: Augustine’s The City of God, works by Fyodor Dostovesky, Moby Dick, works by Alexander Dumas, works by Cormac McCarthy, Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton, The Wasteland by T. S. Eliot, and probably others that I’ll think of after I publish this post.

Check out the list and see what you think. Despite its pros and cons, it is a great representation of the works that have and will stand the test of time. I’m definitely going to keep it handy as I choose in the future what fiction books to read in my spare time.

Happy Reading!


  1. Hey thanks for the post and for the link to the article at Newsweek. I will brazenly steal your idea and write a post about the list too!

  2. At least your honest.

  3. yay Pride & Prejudice!

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