Editors Note: This was written in 2004. I would definitely have different selections now, but actually, many would stay the same. The top three would definitely stay the same (well, I might switch out the Hammett for a Raymond Chandler). I have no idea what my other picks would be. If this gets the comment section going, I might make a new list.
From time to time I like to bother my friends with those deserted island questions. You know the type, you are stranded on a deserted island and can only take X amount of one item or another. Anyways I recently decided on a version involving what books you would take. I thought that would make an interesting blog. First the rules and then my responses. Of course I have already changed some picks from when I posted this to my pals, but it will change again, and again, and again, so I’ll just keep the original choices.
The rules: It can be any type of book: fiction, non fiction, reference, however if you chose an encyclopedia you must choose a concise one, because each book counts as a choice. You may not choose a collected works such as Shakespeare so as to pad your list. Let’s assume that the deserted island is in fact paradise so books like “how to build a raft out of bamboo” would not be desired. In the same vein you may choose a cook book or gardening book if you like, but let’s also say that food is readily available. So that choice would simply be out of your love for the subject.
My choices off hand, subject to change if i like your choices better.
In no particular order:
1. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. It is both laugh out loud funny, cry your eyes out sad, and get that warm fuzzy feeling kind of a book. it also appeals to me as an ‘okie’ and because my mother and her family made a similar trip to California in the 50’s when there was another dust bowl.
2. To Kill a Mocking Bird by Lee Harper. Like the play, adore the movie,and love the book. I wish I were half the man Atticus Finch is.
3. Red Harvest by Dashielle Hammett. Here’s where I wish I could have the collected works of somebody. I love this guy. Tight, tough detective stories. The guy practically invented noir. Most critics declare the Maltese Falcon as his best work, but something about this one just gets me. Although I almost chose the Glass Key over this one.
4. Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I’ll still probably skip all of the whale chapters, but the rest is good.
5. Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkein. I’m cheating against my no collections rule a little bit, but Tolkein wanted it published as one volume originally so that’s my excuse.
6. 1984 by George Orwell. To remind me of why I left society for a deserted island in the first place.
7 Angela’s Ashes by Frank mcCourt. Sad,funny, poetic.
8. On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Beat generations Bible. Although I might prefer the Dharma Bums better, OTR is more classic.
9. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. In case I get a beautiful island girl pregnant. Amy and I have a pretty big childrens book collection, and it is amazingly difficult to just choose one for the trip, but I absolutely love Dahl and this is one of his better stories.
10. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Well written, great story, and add a little more culture to my selection.
This was amazingly hard. I had to cut down this list several times before I was ready to send.
A special edition: Amy, my wife made a list.
1. Cookbook. She doesnt’ have a title, just one with lots of variety, and perhaps some campfire recipies.
2. Organic gardening book. Again a little generic, but she doesn’t have a favorite. She says she really does enjoy reading them and well, just likes to garden.
3. Art book. Generic again, something with full color pictures, covers art through the ages and comes with tacks so she can decorate her wall.
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin. Hard choice between this and Sense and Sensibility.
5. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. Also difficult choice between this and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Hard to choose just one
6. Beloved by Toni Morrsion. Interesting, thought provoking. Likes the way she writes.
7. Oral History by Lee Smith. Amy wrote her undergrad thesis on this author. She literally could not decide between this book and a short story collection. I’ve never read any of her stuff, so I made the choice for her.
8. Walden by Henry David Thoreau She’ll be going to the woods purposefully, seem like a perfect book for that 🙂
9. Kamouraska by Anne Hebert. To keep up with her French. Quebecois writer, which reminds Amy of her time in Canada.
10. Lais of Marie de France, by Marie de France. Because she’s a snooty
French girl. Written in old french and she wants to keep up.
**Amy says she’ll probably change her mind about five times.
Looking at her list makes me want to throw some non fiction into my mix. A good history book or reference guide to science or something sounds really interesting. Anyways, make your own lists and post them here.