The New York Public Library's Books of the Century List (1895-1995)

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  • The New York Public Library's Books of the Century List (1895-1995): "To commemorate the New York Public Library's Centennial in May 1995, librarians identified books that played defining roles in history and culture from 1895 to 1995 -- the Library's first one hundred years. The resulting list, which first appeared in an exhibition and later in a book, includes great books and landmarks; books that influenced the course of events; books that interpreted new worlds; and books that simply delighted millions of readers."

    Landmarks of Modern Literature

  • Anton Chekhov. Tri sestry [The Three Sisters] (1901)
  • Marcel Proust. A la recherche du temps perdu [Remembrance of Things Past] (3 vols., 1913-27)
  • Gertrude Stein. Tender Buttons: Objects Food Rooms (1914)
  • Franz Kafka. Die Verwandlung [The Metamorphosis] (1915)
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay. Renascence and Other Poems (1917)
  • William Butler Yeats. The Wild Swans at Coole (1917)
  • Luigi Pirandello. Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore [Six Characters in Search of an Author] (1921)
  • T. S. Eliot. The Waste Land (1922)
  • James Joyce. Ulysses (1922)
  • Thomas Mann. Der Zauberberg [The Magic Mountain] (1924)
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby (1925)
  • Virginia Woolf. To the Lighthouse (1927)
  • Federico García Lorca. Primer romancero gitano [Gypsy Ballads] (1928)
  • Richard Wright. Native Son (1940)
  • William Faulkner. The Portable Faulkner (1946)
  • W. H. Auden. The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue (1947)
  • Samuel Beckett. En attendant Godot [Waiting for Godot; A Tragicomedy in Two Acts] (1952)
  • Ralph Ellison. Invisible Man (1952)
  • Vladimir Nabokov. Lolita (1955)
  • Jorge Luis Borges. Ficciones [Fictions] (1944; 2nd augmented edition, 1956)
  • Jack Kerouac. On the Road (1957)
  • Gabriel García Márquez. Cien años de soledad [One Hundred Years of Solitude] (1967)
  • Philip Roth. Portnoy's Complaint (1969)
  • Toni Morrison. Song of Solomon (1977)
  • Nature's Realm

  • Maurice Maeterlinck. La vie des abeilles [The Life of the Bee] (1901)
  • Marie Sklodowska Curie. Traité de radioactivité [Treatise on Radioactivity] (1910)
  • Albert Einstein. The Meaning of Relativity (1922)
  • Roger Tory Peterson. A Field Guide to the Birds (1934)
  • Aldo Leopold. A Sand County Almanac (1949)
  • Konrad Z. Lorenz. Er redete mit dem Vieh, den Vögeln und den Fischen: King Solomon's Ring [King Solomon's Ring: New Light on Animal Ways] (1949)
  • Rachel Carson. Silent Spring (1962)
  • Smoking and Health (known as The Surgeon General's Report) (1964)
  • James Watson. The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (1968)
  • Edward O. Wilson. The Diversity of Life (1992)
  • Protest & Progress

  • Jacob Riis. The Battle with the Slum (1902)
  • W. E. B. Du Bois. The Souls of Black Folk (1903)
  • Upton Sinclair. The Jungle (1906)
  • Jane Addams. Twenty Years at Hull-House (1910)
  • Lillian Wald. The House on Henry Street (1915)
  • Lincoln Steffens. The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens (1931)
  • John Dos Passos. U.S.A. (1937)
  • John Steinbeck. The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
  • James Agee and Walker Evans. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941)
  • Lillian Smith. Strange Fruit (1944)
  • Paul Goodman. Growing Up Absurd (1960)
  • James Baldwin. The Fire Next Time (1963)
  • Malcolm X. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)
  • Randy Shilts. And the Band Played On (1987)
  • Alex Kotlowitz. There Are No Children Here (1991)
  • Colonialism & Its Aftermath

  • Joseph Conrad. Lord Jim (1900)
  • Rudyard Kipling. Kim (1901)
  • Mohandas K. Gandhi. Satyagraha [Non-Violent Resistance] (1921-40)
  • E. M. Forster. A Passage to India (1924)
  • Albert Camus. L'étranger [The Stranger] (1942)
  • United Nations Charter (1945)
  • Alan Paton. Cry, the Beloved Country (1948)
  • Edward Steichen. The Family of Man: The Photographic Exhibition Created by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art (1955)
  • Chinua Achebe. Things Fall Apart (1958)
  • Frantz Fanon. Les damnés de la terre [The Wretched of the Earth] (1961)
  • Jean Rhys. Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)
  • Tayeb el-Salih. Mawsim al-Hijra ila al-Shamal [Season of Migration to the North] (1969)
  • V. S. Naipaul. Guerrillas (1975)
  • Buchi Emecheta. The Bride Price (1976)
  • Ryszard Kapuscinski. Cesarz [The Emperor] (1978)
  • Rigoberta Menchú. Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y así me nació conciencia [I, Rigoberta Menchú] (1983)
  • Marguerite Duras. L'amant [The Lover] (1984)
  • Mind & Spirit

  • Emile Durkheim. Le suicide: étude de sociologie [Suicide: A Study in Sociology] (1897)
  • Sigmund Freud. Die Traumdeutung [The Interpretation of Dreams] (1900)
  • Havelock Ellis. Studies in the Psychology of Sex (1901-28)
  • William James. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (1902)
  • Kahlil Gibran. The Prophet (1923)
  • Bertrand Russell. Why I Am Not a Christian (1927)
  • Margaret Mead. Coming of Age in Samoa (1928)
  • Jean-Paul Sartre. L'être et le néant [Being and Nothingness] (1943)
  • Dr. Benjamin Spock. The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946)
  • The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version (1952)
  • Paul Tillich. The Courage to Be (1952)
  • Ken Kesey. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962)
  • Timothy Leary. The Politics of Ecstasy (1968)
  • Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. On Death and Dying (1969)
  • Bruno Bettelheim. The Uses of Enchantment (1976)
  • Popular Culture & Mass Entertainment

  • Bram Stoker. Dracula (1897)
  • Henry James. The Turn of the Screw (1898)
  • Arthur Conan Doyle. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs. Tarzan of the Apes (1912)
  • Zane Grey. Riders of the Purple Sage (1912)
  • Agatha Christie. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
  • Dale Carnegie. How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936)
  • Margaret Mitchell. Gone with the Wind (1936)
  • Raymond Chandler. The Big Sleep (1939)
  • Nathanael West. The Day of the Locust (1939)
  • Grace Metalious. Peyton Place (1956)
  • Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat (1957)
  • Robert A. Heinlein. Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)
  • Joseph Heller. Catch-22 (1961)
  • Truman Capote. In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences (1965)
  • Jim Bouton. Ball Four: My Life and Hard Times Throwing the Knuckleball in the Big Leagues (1970)
  • Stephen King. Carrie (1974)
  • Tom Wolfe. The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987)
  • Women Rise

  • Edith Wharton. The Age of Innocence (1920)
  • Carrie Chapman Catt and Nettie Rogers Shuler. Woman Suffrage and Politics: The Inner Story of the Suffrage Movement (1923)
  • Margaret Sanger. My Fight for Birth Control (1931)
  • Zora Neale Hurston. Dust Tracks on a Road (1942)
  • Simone de Beauvoir. Le deuxième sexe [The Second Sex] (1949)
  • Doris Lessing. The Golden Notebook (1962)
  • Betty Friedan. The Feminine Mystique (1963)
  • Maya Angelou. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)
  • Robin Morgan, editor. Sisterhood Is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings from the Women's Liberation Movement (1970)
  • Susan Brownmiller. Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape (1975)
  • Alice Walker. The Color Purple (1982)
  • Economics & Technology

  • Thorstein Veblen. The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (1899)
  • Max Weber. Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus [The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism] (1904)
  • Henry Adams. The Education of Henry Adams (1907)
  • John Maynard Keynes. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936)
  • Friedrich A. von Hayek. The Road to Serfdom (1944)
  • Milton Friedman. A Theory of the Consumption Function (1957)
  • John Kenneth Galbraith. The Affluent Society (1958)
  • Jane Jacobs. The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961)
  • Helen Leavitt. Superhighway - Super Hoax (1970)
  • E. F. Schumacher. Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered (1973)
  • Ed Krol. The Whole Internet: User's Guide & Catalog (1992)
  • Utopias & Dystopias

  • H. G. Wells. The Time Machine (1895)
  • Theodor Herzl. Der Judenstaat [The Jewish State] (1896)
  • L. Frank Baum. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
  • J. M. Barrie. Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906)
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Herland (1915)
  • Aldous Huxley. Brave New World (1932)
  • James Hilton. Lost Horizon (1933)
  • B. F. Skinner. Walden Two (1948)
  • George Orwell. Nineteen Eighty-four (1949)
  • Ray Bradbury. Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
  • Ayn Rand. Atlas Shrugged (1957)
  • Anthony Burgess. A Clockwork Orange (1962)
  • Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid's Tale (1985)
  • War, Holocaust, Totalitarianism

  • Arnold Toynbee. Armenian Atrocities: The Murder of a Nation (1915)
  • John Reed. Ten Days That Shook the World (1919)
  • Siegfried Sassoon. The War Poems (1919)
  • Jaroslav Hasek. Osudy dobrého vojáka Svejka za svetové války [The Good Soldier Schweik] (1920-23)
  • Adolf Hitler. Mein Kampf (1925-26)
  • Erich Maria Remarque. Im Westen nichts Neues [All Quiet on the Western Front] (1928)
  • Anna Akhmatova. Rekviem [Requiem] (1935-40)
  • Ernest Hemingway. For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)
  • Arthur Koestler. Darkness at Noon (1941)
  • John Hersey. Hiroshima (1946)
  • Anne Frank. Het Achterhuis [The Diary of a Young Girl] (1947)
  • Winston Churchill. The Gathering Storm (1948)
  • Elie Wiesel. La nuit [Night] (1958)
  • Mao Zedong. Quotations from Chairman Mao (1966)
  • Dee Alexander Brown. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West (1970)
  • Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn. Arkhipelag GULag, 1918-1956 [The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation] (1973-75)
  • Michael Herr. Dispatches (1977)
  • Art Spiegelman. Maus: A Survivor's Tale (2 vols., 1986-91)
  • Optimism, Joy, Gentility

  • Sarah Orne Jewett. The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896)
  • Helen Keller. The Story of My Life (1903)
  • G. K. Chesterton. The Innocence of Father Brown (1911)
  • Juan Ramón Jiménez. Platero y yo [Platero and I; An Andalusian Elegy] (1914)
  • George Bernard Shaw. Pygmalion (1914)
  • Emily Post. Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home (1922)
  • P. G. Wodehouse. The Inimitable Jeeves (1923)
  • A. A. Milne. Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
  • Willa Cather. Shadows on the Rock (1931)
  • Irma S. Rombauer. The Joy of Cooking: A Compilation of Reliable Recipes with a Casual Culinary Chat (1931)
  • J. R. R. Tolkien. The Hobbit (1937)
  • Margaret Wise Brown. Goodnight Moon (1947)
  • Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
  • Langston Hughes. The Best of Simple (1961)
  • Elizabeth Bishop. The Complete Poems, 1927-1979 (1983)
  • Favorites of Childhood & Youth

  • Beatrix Potter. The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1901)
  • Betty Smith. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943)
  • C. S. Lewis. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)
  • J. D. Salinger. The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
  • E. B. White. Charlotte's Web (1952)
  • Ezra Jack Keats. The Snowy Day (1962)
  • Maurice Sendak. Where the Wild Things Are (1963)
  • Patricia MacLachlan. Sarah, Plain and Tall (1985)
Author Comments: 

List pulled from here.