And then it was August. Where has time gone? Summer, we hope, has been good to you! We hope your vacation has been filled with barbecues, sun burn, and good books. We still have about a month left to enjoy but for now, let’s get back to our favorites feature! This month, we are tackling the dreaded question: which books would you bring to a deserted island?
It’s a hard one, this one, because it means forever. And ever. And ever. You make a list then you change it. You are made to make a choice between your classics, guilty pleasures, soul-pleasing, intellect-stimulating, heart-swooning books! But we did it. With difficulty. And if we can, so can you. So read our list and make your own!
K.’s Top Five Books For A Deserted Island
This was hard. At first, I considered bringing with me Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe because — hello! — it’s a novel and a survival guide at the same time. Then I remembered I hated it and had to start all over.
I ended with a list of books that each had their own particular gift to me. Books that will give me some hope and comfort while I struggle making myself a shelter out of twigs, fishing my dinner from the open sea, and fighting with (and most probably getting killed by) a variety of wild predators.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
I’m about to die and you’re going to deny me this? I have the box set, so yes, this counts as one. I’m bringing this series because it is my childhood. I figure I’ll need some happy memories as I contemplate my future of doom.
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
So much happens in this book and I think it’ll be enough to entertain me for years to come. I don’t intend on surviving too long on my own on this “deserted island” so I think one book out of this series should be enough.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Okay, this is my second non-YA but I had to. I love gothic and this was such a great modern creation. It blew my mind. Reading this while having to sleep alone in complete darkness out in the middle of nowhere is probably not a good idea…but also, I would be losing my mind anyway, so what the heck. (And look at that cover!)
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
I need this with me because I need Mal.
The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
I don’t care what people say about this series. It’s not perfect. There’s a lot I would change. And yet the heart of it always reaches me, speaks to me, comforts me, and rouses me. It is that deep breath you take after staying in one position too long. It’s about fight. And never giving up. And hope. And I’ll need this as I face what might actually be a real tragedy.
Let’s be honest: I would never be stranded on a desert island. I would have a heart attack and die before the ship/plane ever went down. Because I am an awkward flaily panic attack on a good day.
But let’s just say it actually happened? My books better wash up on shore like so many FedEx packages in Cast Away. I’d die of exposure pretty quick anyway, but without my books to keep me sane? I’d just beach myself on the shore and wait for death.
If I had to pick five books that I absolutely HAD to have with me for the rest of my life (and don’t even ask how long it took me to make this Sophie’s Choice), they’d be:
The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery: (yes, SERIES, we’ll just pretend I had the entire compendium with me). This series is my childhood; I read it every single summer from elementary to middle school, and I’d need the familiar comfort of Green Gables and Ingleside and Rainbow Valley to make me feel at home.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: I can live without a lot of things, but Jonah Griggs isn’t one of them.
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving: to remind me to have faith, even when everything is totally awful.
Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon: because seriously, those suckers are LONG, and maybe by the time James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser and Clare’s story is finished, I’ll be rescued? (Here I am assuming I get stranded AFTER the series is complete. Because to contemplate otherwise is cruel.)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor: if I’m trapped on a desert island, what better way to escape than in the lush world of Laini Taylor’s words? Also: AKIVA.
I struggle with this topic, because it’s like the “what’s your favorite book” question. It’s also tricky because you may have to read those books for the rest of your life–and nothing else! *shudder*
I’m eschewing boring wilderness handbooks and such to focus on feeding the soul for this list. Because if I’m going to die, it’s going to be in the company of books I love.
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
While Farmer Boy is my favorite Little House book, reading about all those groaning tables of food might induce me to violence. Better to have The Long Winter, which is a lesson in endurance, ingenuity, and hope in the face of terrible hardship. Plus we’re most likely to be lost on a hot deserted island, and reading about the cold winter would be a relief!
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
This tender, beautiful novel was my favorite book of 2012. I recently reread it after coming home from one of my best friends’ wedding to his husband, and I can imagine myself reading it again and again–and crying every single time. I still haven’t found the words for a review yet–the lump in my throat is just too big.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Warrior polar bears, witches, and daemons would be very good company indeed during trying circumstances. And Lyra Belacqua’s wintry adventures would, again, be good escapist reading.
Affinity by Sarah Waters
I thought about choosing Jane Eyre or A Tale of Two Cities, because they’re both on my “favorite books of all time” list, too. But then I realized it might be better to choose one I don’t know as well. This Victorian ghost story is full of torment and suffering and feeling (hey, I enjoy that!) and I think the author’s prose would hold up well under repeat reads.
One more…I only get one more? It should be a happy one, then. I’d probably choose something nostalgic and undemanding, like Fifteen or The Luckiest Girl, by Beverly Cleary. Because it’d be fun to have a “dating” book to read, and it’s too hard to choose a single Ramona book.
I reserve the right to make changes to this list before I get shipwrecked, but in the meantime, I think those are the books I might like to read into eternity. But really, if I’m ever in danger of being stranded, I’m just going to make sure I’m on a lifeboat with someone else who has good taste in books. And maybe my Kindle…just in case there’s a power source.
How did we do? Are any of these books your own personal picks? Let us know below what top five books you’d bring or wish would wash up on shore with you on a deserted island. Fingers-crossed that none of us will ever actually have to make such a choice!