The New York Times Best Books of the Past 125 Years 

The New York Times is one of the most trusted news institutes in the world. They are a household name and one that most other news outlets turn to. While they are mostly known to cover the news, they in fact cover a lot of things, books being one of them. We decided to take a look at the New York Times best books of the past 125 years! 

The New York Times Best Books of the Past 125 Years 

Before we get onto the list, we must mention that the books were ultimately chosen by the readers. The New York Times asked its readers to nominate a book. After that, the NY Times created a list of the 25 most nominated books (only one book per author) and let the readers decide. After over 200,000 votes, this was the answer: 

The New York Times Best Books of the Past 125 Years 

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien 
  • 1984 by George Orwell 
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez 
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison 

Science Fiction 

  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler 


  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson 


  • Dracula by Bram Stoker 

Self Help 

  • The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck 

The Winners and How it Happened 

I have to say, the New York Times went all out for this list. With that many voters, this list is one of the biggest of its kind. People from all 50 states participated in it as well as 67 countries. The winner ended up being To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. That book made me a fan of reading books so I am not shocked seeing it win.  

More than 1,300 different books were nominated for this list. Almost two thirds of them received only one vote. Only 31 percents of the books nominated by readers made it to the final 25 selections.  

Most Popular Authors 

With over 1300 books nominated; it is not surprising to learn that some authors had multiple books nominated. The most popular authors were John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.  — They all received nominations for seven of their books.  

Coming in behind them were James Baldwin, Margaret Atwood and Virginia Woolf with five books nominated. And lastly, Joan Didion had four books nominated.  


That is all for this list. What did you think of the New York Times best books of the past 125 years? What did you think of their process? Let us know in the comments below. Until next time, happy reading! 

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