Friday, March 15, 2013

The Eternal Question: What 10 Books Would I Want With Me If Stranded On A Desert Island?

Sir William Orpen

Don't know why but I've been thinking a lot about this lately - pondering before I go to sleep.

Maybe fate has a desert island in store for me? Of course it doesn't have to be a desert island at all, it could be:

What 10 Books Would I Take With Me If I Were Going to Another Planet Never to Return?

Or - What 10 Books Would I Want With Me If I Were the Last Person Left in the World and all the Bookstores and Libraries Had Disappeared?

Or - What 10 Books Would I Take With Me If Forced to Attend A Perpetual Convention of Phrenology Enthusiasts and I Myself Were Decidedly Not A Phrenology Enthusiast? 

Or - What 10 Books Would I Take With Me If I Were Going to Spend Eternity in An Empty Diner?

Or - What 10 Books Would I Take With Me If Chosen to Be the Princess in the Perpetual Tower Surrounded by A Moat Filled with Ravenous Alligators?

Well, you get the idea.

Much as I would like to think that I'd take Shakespeare and be done with it. The truth is I wouldn't.
Shakespeare (a book containing all of his plays) would be my 11th choice if allowed.

Shakespeare's plays give my intellect a work-out, but they don't bring me joy. (Except for maybe Henry V's St. Crispin's Day speech.) I know, I know, I'm a philistine. So be it.

I'd want books with me that bring me some sort of joy (and a little warmth) as well as fire the brain's synapses.

So, without further ado: (That's probably from Shakespeare since he seemed to have written just about everything and in choosing other reading material I know I'll still be getting a bit of the Bard.)

My Ten Books For A Desert Island: 
(At least as of today.)


2) THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald

3) WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams


5) PERSUASION by Jane Austen

6) JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte

7)  DRACULA by Bram Stoker

8) CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK by Elizabeth Peters

9) COTILLION by Georgette Heyer

10) FRIDAY'S CHILD by Georgette Heyer

What Ten Books Would You Want With You under the same circumstances?


  1. We have two in common, Watership Down and Dracula.

    My other choices, in no certain order would be:

    An omnibus editon of The Last Herald Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey.

    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

    And Then There Were None by Agatha Chrisite

    The Road by Cormac McCarthy

    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (for the story not the philosophy)

    Gillespie and I by Jane Harris

    The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

    Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

  2. To find a list of ten I would need time (which I don't have) but two books come to mind immediately.

    The Sea Wolf by Jack London
    11/22/63 by Steven King

  3. I knew we'd have at least two in common, Ryan. :)

    I'm going to check out a couple of your other choices...Though I did read ATLAS SHRUGGED eons ago and didn't think as much of it as you did.

    I could have picked a Christie or a Nero Wolfe book, but for me it would be almost impossible to pick just one of each.

  4. No, no, Mike - it should be books that come conveniently to mind. No studying.
    That defeats the purpose of the exercise.

    I read ll/22/63 - the only Stephen King book I've ever really liked. (Beside his non-fiction ON WRITING).

    Never read THE SEA WOLF, but that doesn't mean I won't. :)

  5. Quite a list, Yvette.

    I'd start with Doyle's The Complete Sherlock Holmes - all 4 novels and 56 short stories.

    Then, in no particular order:

    J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings;

    Thomas Pyncheon's "V.";

    An anthology of e. e. cummings' complete poetry;

    J. D. Carr's "The Three Coffins";

    Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None";

    That volume of the complete Shakespeare - maybe I'd finally have time to read some of the minor plays!;

    Edmund Crispin's "Swan Song";

    Dorothy L. Sayers' "The Nine Tailors";

    Michael Innes' "Lament for a Maker."

    Some of my favorite mysteries plus several books that I try to reread regularly.

  6. Wow! Would I have a different list. Most books are classics or Pulitzer Prize-winning books, however, if I could count the complete works of Rex Stout as one item, I'd be happy.

    I'd probably include works by John Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Barbara Kingsolver (definitely, The Poisonwood Bible).

    Maybe the collected works of Donna Leon about Guido Brunetti, pleasant reading with social issues.

  7. Hmmmmmm..I'm trying to think of what I'd want to read, and then re-read--over and over again!

    I think I'd like books that would make me think, and that would teach me something new each time I re-read them--or at least help me to understand them better each time I read them.

    The Bible

    e e cummings complete poems

    The Prophet


    Portrait of an Artist As A Young Man

    War and Peace

    Anna Karenina

    The Hobbit

    The Lord of the Rings

    Great Expectations

  8. I'd have to give this more thought, but I think I would take the Shakespeare - and the Bible. After that...I will have to ponder more. :-)

  9. I can never answer this kind of question. I'd have to cheat and take a variety of anthologies and omnibuses so I could still have a great variety of reading. One of them would definitely be a book on surviving in the wild! Maybe one on how to extract real water from sea water, too. ;^)

  10. Les, no fair, no fair. Too many books! Ha.

    I would pick the same Sherlock Holmes anthology on a different day.

    Then The Oxford Book of English Poets.

    Then MIGHT AS WELL BE DEAD by Rex Stout and might as well throw in THE DOORBELL RANG.

    THE MAN IN THE BROWN SUIT and THE ABC MURDERS by Agatha Christie too.

    See? You've got me doing it.

    And I did try to be strict about it. Ha.

    I purposely chose all happy books (except for THE GREAT GATSBY which just makes me rejoice for the writing itself). You guys brought in all these sad books.

    Jeez. If I were going to spend eternity alone, I wouldn't want to be sad all the time. I'd need cheering up. :)

  11. Of course it's your desert island, Kathy and you would be free to pick what you like. :)

    But as I told Les, I'd want happy books. Nothing to remind me of the drama going on in the rest of the world.

    I didn't necessarily pick my favorite books, just books that make me feel good one way or another. Although admittedly, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is my favorite book of all time.

  12. Pat, of course if you want to become a philosopher - a desert island is the place to do it. :)

    Obviously I am a clod. No self-introspection whatsoever.

  13. Debbie, I should have mentioned that choosing off the top of your head was a requirement. :)

    Too much thinking makes it a chore. I didn't want this to be a chore.

  14. Okay John, you're allowed one anthology. Jeez. No, you can't take 'how-to' books. Nope. Not allowed.

  15. It would be hard to choose, but if you can't have the complete works of P G Wodehouse then probably add
    Love among the Chickens
    The blandings omnibus
    Damsel in distress
    Leave it to Psmith
    Psmith and Mike
    Easy Money
    Girl on the boat

    A few agatha Christies wouldn't be amiss either.
    Why didn't they ask Evans
    They came to Baghdad
    The Man in the brown suit

  16. You just are convincing me to read Pride and Prejudice.

  17. Ignorant Gardener: I've only ever read the Agatha Christie's and I agree with your comment. But I was trying to be strict and given my current mood - the list I chose suits me at the moment. But I know these things are fluid. VERY fluid. :)

    P.G. Wodehouse is on my list for this year.

  18. You should, you really should, Kathy. Even if it's only for the gorgeous language and poem-like sentences.


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