As compiled by "some dude" and "some retired English teacher."
I dunno. I've learned to really hate these lists. I've attempted three Man Booker Prize books and I've fucking hated them.
Stephen King argues in On Writing that narrative fiction is telepathy, the bridging of two minds across time and space. If that's so, I don't feel at all bad shitting all over pulitzer-winning books because that just means the telepathy failed.
I also think there's way too much emphasis placed on early American literature. "Best American novels from 1791-1836" might as well be "Best South Dakotan novels from 1922-1945." It's not like there was a lot of competition.