Desert Island Books

I invite you to play this game with me. You’ve been stranded on a desert island, and you can only have ten books with you. Now remember, these are the only books you’ll EVER be able to read again, so you must make sure you’d be willing to read them over and over again. As a book lover, this is perhaps one of the most cherished lists I’ve ever written. I did it on pure gut instinct. These are the books that I absolutely love, books that have changed my life and my perception of the world.

Here are mine (in no particular order):

1. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

2. I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

4. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

5. While I Was Gone by Sue Miller

6. Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann

7. July, July by Tim O’Brien

8. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

9. Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawerence

10. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

What are your choices?

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13 responses to “Desert Island Books

  1. Okay, here we go. This may sound silly, but I swear, I could read the HP series over and over, and not get bored. The rest, 8-10 will satisfy the different personalities of me.

    1-7, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, for the wizard in me
    8. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, for the hopeless romantic in me
    9. Ribsy by Beverly Cleary, for the child in me
    10. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich, for the fun in me, because in the end, laughter is a great way to survive.

  2. I thought about my choices all last week, and I still would pick these 10 over all other books. Here’s a funny story. I coveted a copy of Ribsy when I was nine from the school library. I didn’t want to give it back, so I lied, telling my parents I’d lost it. They paid for it. I still have that copy! On my blog, I’m reading it in the grass on my profile picture.

    As a teacher, you’re probably in shock. O_O

    Although, I do not condone keeping books from a library, I feel it was definitely meant to be mine. The copy, which I’d lost for over 20 years, came back to me 2 years ago by way of my little sister who’d found it when my parents were having a garage sale.

    She’d recalled me loving Cleary as a kid. She never even opened the cover. She merely put it in her purse and gave it to me later, not knowing it was mine. When she gave it back to me, I nearly died! Inside, I’d marked out with a pencil of all things the name of the library and written in bubbly lettering, my name.

    It will always have first dibs on its favorite shelf in my home. 🙂

    • Haha! That’s a great story! You DO deserve to have it! Any book lover will agree.

      I’ve done crazy things with books too…like never returning them to friends, etc.

      When I first read “I Know This Much is True” (number 2 on my list), it was lent to me by a friend. Well, I DID return that one to her, but the next day I actually went to Barnes and Noble and bought my own copy…even though I’d already read the story. Any non-book type would have told me what a waste of money that was, but I don’t care!

      THEN, (yes it gets worse)…I lent the book to my uncle, and somehow it never came back my way…so, naturally I went BACK to B&N and bought yet, another copy of the novel.

      Like your Rigsby, it has ‘dibs’ on my shelf right now…and I’m NEVER lending it out to anyone again!

  3. Ok, I have agonised over what to leave out, and have finally narrowed it down to ten. I can feel the ones that missed the cut glaring at me from my bookshelf as I type. Or weeping into their dust jackets.
    It got so bad I had to write little justifications about why a book should be in! So here goes…

    1) One Day (David Nicholls)
    2) Until I Find You (John Irving)
    3) The Dice Man (Luke Rhinehart)
    4) The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Mohsin Hamid)
    5) Engleby (Sebastian Faulks)
    6) Human Traces (Sebastian Faulks)
    7) Untold Stories (Alan Bennett)
    8) Dr Salt (Gerard Donovan)
    9) Kane And Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
    10) Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

    • OK–other than ‘Kane and Abel’ and ‘Brave New World’ I’d never heard of any of these…BUT, I looked some of them up, and “One Day” actually looks like something I’d like to read…was this made into a movie?

      I’m sorry this caused you such grief, Paul! I hope you and your bookshelf made amends. Love the British humor 🙂

      Thanks for participating…and for giving me a new book idea.

      • Paul

        I think 1984 and I are on a break and agreeing to read other people 😉 It was so close to going in, I adore that book but it was just too similar in tone and content to Brave New World, and I preferred the latter.

        One Day is a lovely book. Really nicely written. It was made into a film but I have so far refused to watch it because it looks horrendous. Also, the main part of Emma Morley, the average-looking, everywoman, bit of a nerd and social outcast, is being played by the famously mediocre-looking Anne Hathaway! That offended me, frankly. That Hollywood decided to essentially stick a pair of glasses on a very attractive woman, put her hair up and stick her in a big jumper and go ‘There. Frumpy.’. NO. Hollywood you are doing it wrong! And anyway, Emma is not ‘unattractive’ she is just not ‘stunningly beautiful’ in the traditional sense. She is very attractive in character. Poor Emma 😦

        I really liked The Time Traveller’s Wife but the film was stunningly poor. Keen not to ruin another of my favourite books in teh same way! To be honest, I’m not keen on Eric Bana. Controversial, I know, but I thought he was the most wooden horse in ‘Troy’ 😀

        If you like ‘One Day’ also try ‘The Understudy’ by the same author. Hilarious. I have been there in my acting days and he really hits the nail on the head.

        The Dice Man is great, but slightly disturbing hehe

  4. Hi,, I just stumbled upon your blog. Congrats on the first novel, and this seemed fun so here’s my list !
    1. The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
    2. The Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
    3. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled el Hosseini
    4. Invisible Monsters – Chuck Palahniuk
    5. Horton Hatches the Egg – Dr. Seuss
    6. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
    7. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
    8. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
    9. The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom
    10. Children of Gebalawi – Naguib Mahfouz

    • Hi Noharady–thanks for stopping by! Whew! Ambitious list! Some great ones on there though. I LOVED A Thousand Splendid Suns. It truly moved me. More so than ‘The Kite Runner,’ I’d say. Also love ‘A Tale of Two Cities,’ and I’m ashamed to admit, but I abandoned ‘Crime and Punishment.’ I never read ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven,’ but thought ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ by the same author was a great read. Dr. Seuss! Love it!

      • Hmm, interesting thought about the Kite Runner. I’ve asked everyone I know who’s read the two books, and guys tend to like the Kite Runner more whereas girls tend to like a Thousand Splendid suns more. My theory is that guys will relate to the two boys in the story and their fathers; while girls relate to the women in the other book.

  5. Yes, Paul–that’s the movie I was thinking of. Oh yeah–leave it to Hollywood to cast the complete WRONG person for the role. Hollywood is famous for destroying the essence of books. In Jodi Picoult’s “My Sister’s Keeper,” the film changed the ending–which was the best part of the story! And back in the day, when Marlon Brando starred in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’–Stella (Steeelllllaaaa!) leaves him in the end after he raped her sister, Blanche. BUT in the play she stays with him. I realize that Hollywood portrayed the better, more ideal ending, but fact is, it wasn’t part of the story! And in reality, in those days in New Orleans, the play’s ending was probably the more realistic one.

    Thanks again for some new book ideas!

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