The WOW Files: The World’s Top 125 Writers Rank The 10 Greatest Books & Authors Of All Time

by • July 24, 2013 • Art, Books, History, Inspiration, Music, The WOW FilesComments (0)3451

Maria Popova of Brain Pickings opened a recent article on the world’s greatest books and authors of all time with this spot-on quote from American author, Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction, and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Jennifer Egan: “Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work.”  A perfectly appropriate idea in which to frame a survey of the world’s top 125 British and American writers who recently ranked the greatest novels and writers of all time.

In a fascinating book edited by J. Peder Zane entitled The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books, these 125 internationally renowned writers (including Joyce Carol Oates, Norman Mailer, Ann Patchett, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, and many more) were asked “to provide a list, ranked, in order, of what [they] consider the ten greatest works of fiction of all time — novels, story collections, plays, or poems.”  The following are just a few of the impressive results:

1.  Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
2.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3.  In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
4.  Ulysses by James Joyce
5.  Dubliners by James Joyce
6.  One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
7.  The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
8.  To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
9.  The complete stories of Flannery O’Connor
10.  Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

1.  Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
2.  Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
3.  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
4.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
5.  The stories of Anton Chekhov
6.  Middlemarch by George Eliot
7.  Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
8.  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
9.  Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
10.  Emma by Jane Austen

1.  Leo Tolstoy — 327
2.  William Shakespeare — 293
3.  James Joyce — 194
4.  Vladimir Nabokov — 190
5.  Fyodor Dostoevsky — 177
6.  William Faulkner — 173
7.  Charles Dickens — 168
8.  Anton Chekhov — 165
9.  Gustave Flaubert — 163
10.  Jane Austen — 161

To find out the world’s Top Ten Authors By Number Of Books Selected simply head over to  And to pick up your own copy of  J. Peder Zane’s The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books you can visit Amazon.

As much as I love books, I will always regard music as the mother of all arts.  Where language stops, music continues — and the idea that harmony, tonality, rhythm, and often lyrics, can combine to both bring us to our knees, or have us swinging from the chandeliers — is endlessly fascinating to me.  This very idea is explored in a brand new Channel 4 documentary entitled The Nature Of Music, presented by Björk and legendary wildlife broadcaster David Attenborough.  FACT writes: “Directed by Louise Hooper and produced by the people behind the LCD Soundsystem documentary, the show was originally inspired by Björk’s ‘Biophilia’ album concept.  Attenborough previously provided a spoken-word introduction to Björk’s ‘Biophilia’ project when it was first presented at Manchester International Festival in 2011.”  Channel 4’s The Nature Of Music airs on Britain’s Channel 4 this coming Saturday, July 27th, at 7pm GMT as part of the channel’s Mad4Music season.

SEE ALSO: Rare 1909 Recording Of Tolstoy Reading “A Calendar Of Wisdom”
SEE ALSO: Legendary Writer Joyce Carol Oates Reads From “The Gravedigger’s Daughter”
SEE ALSO: Arvo Pärt’s “Spiegel Im Spiegel” Will Tear Your Heart Out In A Beautiful Way (Just Like It Did Björk’s)


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