What we're about

The World Library is a list of the 100 best books, as proposed by one hundred writers from fifty-four different countries, compiled and organized in 2002 by the Norwegian Book Club. This list endeavors to reflect world literature, with books from all countries, cultures, and time periods.

Each writer had to select his or her own list of ten books. The books selected by this process and listed here are not ranked or categorized in any way; the organizers have stated that "they are all on an equal footing," with the exception of Don Quixote which was given the distinction "best literary work ever written." The following list organizes the works alphabetically by author.[1]

Fyodor Dostoevsky is the author with the most books on the list, with four. William Shakespeare, Franz Kafka, and Leo Tolstoy each have three books on the list.

Upcoming events (5)

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Online event

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad, yet she is still held captive by memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Meanwhile Sethe’s house has long been troubled by the angry, destructive ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Sethe works at beating back the past, but it makes itself heard and felt incessantly in her memory and in the lives of those around her. When a mysterious teenage girl arrives, calling herself Beloved, Sethe’s terrible secret explodes into the present

Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (1/2)

Online event

Swann's Way is one of the preeminent novels of childhood: a sensitive boy's impressions of his family and neighbors, all brought dazzlingly back to life years later by the taste of a madeleine. It also enfolds the short novel "Swann in Love," an incomparable study of sexual jealousy that becomes a crucial part of the vast, unfolding structure of In Search of Lost Time. The first volume of the work that established Proust as one of the finest voices of the modern age — satirical, skeptical, confiding, and endlessly varied in its response to the human condition — Swann's Way also stands on its own as a perfect rendering of a life in art, of the past re-created through memory.

Swann's Way by Marcel Proust

Online event

Swann's Way is one of the preeminent novels of childhood: a sensitive boy's impressions of his family and neighbors, all brought dazzlingly back to life years later by the taste of a madeleine. It also enfolds the short novel "Swann in Love," an incomparable study of sexual jealousy that becomes a crucial part of the vast, unfolding structure of In Search of Lost Time. The first volume of the work that established Proust as one of the finest voices of the modern age — satirical, skeptical, confiding, and endlessly varied in its response to the human condition — Swann's Way also stands on its own as a perfect rendering of a life in art, of the past re-created through memory.

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (1/2)

Online event

First Half Saleem Sinai was born at midnight, the midnight of India's independence, and found himself mysteriously "handcuffed to history" by the coincidence. He is one of 1,001 children born at the midnight hour, each of them endowed with an extraordinary talent—and whose privilege and curse it is to be both master and victims of their times.

Past events (81)

Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (2nd Half)

De La Torre's Trattoria

Photos (2)