Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Top 25

Vox directs me to OC's ranting room:

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

Here goes:

1. The Bible
2. The Iliad - Homer
3. The Odyssey - Homer
4. The Aeneid - Virgil
5. The Metamorphoses - Ovid

6. The Divine Comedy - Dante
7. Crime and Punishment - Dostoevsky
8. Orthodoxy - Chesterton
9. City of God - Augustine
10. Confessions - Augustine

11. The Compendium to Philosophy - Aquinas (This was the shorter summa that he was working on before he died; hence it is incomplete, but at least it's not six volumes)
12. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Gibbon (An abridgment is sufficient here, again to avoid six volumes)
13. The Once and Future King - White
14. 1984 - Orwell
15. Brave New World - Huxley

16. The Last Days of Socrates - Plato
17. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - Joyce
18. Theban Plays - Sophocles
19. Complete Works - Shakespeare (You probably don't need to read them all, but certainly more than the over-rated Romeo and Juliet)
20. Wise Blood - Flannery O'Connor

21. The Seven Storey Mountain - Merton
22. Brideshead Revisited - Waugh
23. The Ethics - Aristotle
24. Democracy in America - de Tocqueville
25. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain

I don't like to post things on my own blog which rightfully belong elsewhere, but this is an exercise which should be revisited every so often. My list is lacking Dumas, Eliot, Faulkner, Aurelius, and probably some other authors who deserve to be on the list.

I'll add that I tried to include only books which I have actually read. Exceptions include Aristotle's Ethics--my copy disappeared when I recently moved--Shakespeare's Complete Works, which I own, but am sluggishly working my way through, and both The Aeneid and The Metamorphoses; I own both but have yet to open either.

What books should I take off my list? Which books did I completely miss?

UPDATE: Ugh! I missed The Canterbury Tales, by Chaucer of course. Ugh, ugh, ugh!


troutsky said...

Perhaps a little Lawrence, (Mornings in Mexico?)some Poe, Dickens' Great Expectations? Great canon, all in all.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

I read an abridged version of The Tale of Two Cities some years ago, but I think I'd get more out of Dickens now then I did at the time.

Poe too is a good addition.

My list is a bit heavy on Catholic literature; I guess that's a big surprise.

It's a fun exercise. You should give it a go.

RegularRon said...

Hell of a list. Nothing wrong with some Chesterton, and Huxley.

Two of my fav's

Ché Bob said...

At a recent conference of more than 100 of today's most respected writers, they were asked what the greatest book ever written was. The vast majority of them said Don Quixote, second on their list was Crime and Punishment and third was Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Don Quixote is the world's best book

Their full list

A Wiser Man Than I said...

Thanks for the tip Che Bob. I'll check out Don Quixote just as soon as I finish the four books I'm currently reading...