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The Best Book of the Past 125 Years, According to The New York Times

The results are in!

best books according to new york times readers

In honor of 125 years of Book Review, the New York Times book column, the Times asked their readers to nominate the best book from that time period. They received more than 1300 titles, and the top 25 most-nominated were then voted on by more than 200,000 subscribers.

The results? To Kill A Mockingbird won by a narrow margin, which shouldn't surprise anyone who remembers that it was also chosen as America's favorite book by PBS's Great American Read competition in 2018.

Following To Kill A Mockingbird, the runners up were The Fellowship of the Ring, 1984, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Beloved.

While America's love for Harper Lee's classic is well known, the competition revealed plenty of other interesting insights. For example, people's idea of "best" ran the gamut from science fiction and fantasy (Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler) to cookbooks (The Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer) to children's books (Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak) and classics (Dracula, by Bram Stoker).

Some authors also stood out as favorites, with multiple works nominated. William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck each had a whopping seven titles nominated; Margaret Atwood, James Baldwin and Virginia Atwood each had five; and Joan Didion received nominations for four books: Play It As It Lays, The While Album, Slouching Toward Bethlehem, and The Year of Magical Thinking. 

Related: Joan Didion: Her Books, Life and Legacy