Being literate

The OC asks a good question:

Which are the 25 books that someone should read by the age of 25 in order to be considered properly literate?

I’ll have some comments and my 25 later. And I’ll probably mock yours….

It’s later, and I’m amused by how many people included books that are supposed to sound impressive and very few people actually read, or very good books that most people should read but don’t.. Unless you’re making a subtle point intended to prove that virtually no one is literate, this is, I think, completely missing the point.

Since I consider myself to be literate, by definition any book that I have not read cannot be necessary for literacy. That knocks out more than a few books commonly listed, such as Portrait of the Author as a Young Man. (And while I have read Ulysses, it is by no means necessary.)

I should also note that I left out the OC’s spotting of a religious tome, because whereas the Bible is necessary to be considered literate, the Bhagavad Gita and the Koran are not. Most literate people have read neither. Anyhow, without further ado, here’s my list of 25 books which I believe is absolutely necessary to have read in order to be considered literate.

The Iliad
The Odyssey
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Plato’s Republic
The Annals

The Decameron
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
A Christmas Carol
Anna Karenina

Don Quixote
The Three Musketeers
The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe
Crime and Punishment
Brideshead Revisited

The Name of the Rose
The Glass Bead Game
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Lord of the Rings
The Chronicles of Narnia
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Code of the Woosters

There’s a few books you may not have read that aren’t absolutely necessary to be considered literate, but I’ll nevertheless look at you somewhat askance if you haven’t: The Tale of Genji, The Dark is Rising, Watership Down, The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, The Divine Comedy, Madame Bovary, a collection of short stories by Guy de Maupassant, a Poirot novel.