The Literate Nerd Merit Badge: What Is The Required Reading?

I finished reading Alan Moore’s Watchmen tonight. I’m finally getting around to reading Frank Herbert’s Dune, listening to the audiobook version of it before watching the new movie.

Doing two classics at the same time got me wondering. What are the books every self-professed nerd would be required to read to earn a Boy Scouts-style Literate Nerd Merit Badge? Because I would probably include both of these. Others have published their lists for similar concepts. But I wanted to throw mine out into the multiverse as well. This is the essential, universal list that is required reading for graduation at Nerd High.

So, here is what I have for a list so far:

  • Dune, by Frank Herbert
  • Watchmen, by Alan Moore
  • Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien
  • Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
  • Iliad and Odyssey, by Homer
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
  • A Song Of Fire & Ice, by George RR Martin
  • Dragonlance Chronicles Trilogy, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
  • Harry Potter, by JK Rowling

I know I, Robot is probably a glaring omission. I will get to it eventually. The list probably needs some form of HP Lovecraft, I’m just not familiar enough to offer up one there. I debated including at least one of HG Wells’ as well. This list obviously is sticking to fiction. Nonfiction could be a fun list to get to as well, but would probably not be nearly as universal.


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