Although defining a list of the best books of all time is a subjective task, best-of lists issued by sources such as TIME Magazine and Modern Library consistently include "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner, "Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy and "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens. Various works of William Shakespeare, such as "Hamlet" and "Macbeth," also appear often on such lists.
In addition to lists from the above-mentioned publications, editor J. Peder Zane invited successful authors to submit top-10 lists and compiled the submissions in his book "The Top Ten." The work of writers such as Fitzgerald and Faulkner ranked highly in Zane's compiled results.
Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is the ultimate example of Jazz-Age American literature. The book, which follows self-made millionaire Jay Gatsby's obsession with Daisy Buchanan, illustrates the excess of the 1920s in the United States.
Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" uses the interior monologues of three brothers to depict the decline of their family. Released in 1929, the book gained popularity two decades later when Faulkner received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Other novels often listed among the greatest books of all time include "Animal Farm" by George Orwell, "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume, "Atonement" by Ian McEwan and "Brideshead Revisited" by Evelyn Waugh. Non-fiction works include "Up From Slavery" by Booker T. Washington, "A Room of One's Own" by Virginia Woolf, and "The Guns of August" by Barbara Tuchman.