1. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Desert island books

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by VM80, Aug 28, 2011.

    Stranded. You can take five books with you.

    What would you choose and why?


    My list (fiction only for the moment):

    David Copperfield - a childhood favourite
    The adventures of Tom Sawyer - see above, to not forget my past
    The merchant of Venice - for its intelligence
    1984 - for its relevance
    The mating season - for keeping a sense of humour
     
  2. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you are stranded on a deserted island, why not bring Robinsin Crusoe for it's relevance? :D

    Anyway, I think I'd bring...

    - Moby Dick (maybe I'd finally get around to reading it)
    - Spectre, by Stephen Laws (looove this book!)
    - The Complete Sherlock Holmes
    - The Complete Edgar Allan Poe
    - The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft
     
  3. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Assuming this desert island is the standard sort ie it has sand, palm trees, one copy of the complete works of Shakespeare and one copy of the holy book of your choice and some sort of compendium of pornography, I go with:

    The Anatomy of Melancholy - Robert Burton. Very long. Crazy. Stupendously engaging.

    The Rambler essays - Samuel Johnson. A very brilliant, and very human, companion.

    Timequake - Kurt Vonnegut. Funny. Sweet. Uplifting.

    The Histories - Herodotus. To spend some time away from the island.

    The World as Will and Representation - Schopenhauer. Long. Diverse. Brimming with provocative ideas to keep the noggin ticking over.
     
  4. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Of course. Have you ever come across a desert island that doesn't have these things? Seriously now..
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Some five books that I've never read, I suppose.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I would assume that, in addition to Shakespeare and the holy books, this island is also supplied with the Encyclopedia Britannica, the complete Oxford English Dictionary, and some decent physics and engineering textbooks, so that I can figure out how to get off the island at some point, either by signaling somebody or building a boat of some kind ...

    Beyond those, I'd like:

    The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri. I've always wanted to read it, and I have a copy in what I'm told is a good verse translation, but it always seems to find itself at the bottom of my "to read" pile.

    Moby Dick, by Herman Melville. Of course.

    East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. I find it fascinating.

    The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers. I find it necessary.

    Le Morte D'Arthur, by Sir Thomas Malory. There's greatness in this book.


    Of course, this desert island would be very close to another desert island I could swim to every once in a while, and it would have Homer's Iliad and Odyssey on it. As well as Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy, and, what the hell, his whole Story of Civilization.
     
  7. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^
    That's starting to sound a bit too much like cheating now. :p

    But good choices, especially the Steinbeck.
     
  8. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find it funny how a lot of people pick really old, classic books. Why do you do that anyway? Why not pick modern books too? (he said, noticing he had four classics on his own...) :redface:
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, maybe we think that on a desert island we'll finally take the time to read the classic books. Or, maybe we think that the classic books are really, really great. I think old, classic books are still around because they're great. Crap goes out of print. Crap doesn't last. Even fans of crap get bored with it after reading it for the tenth time. There's permanent value in the classics, and generations of readers have found it, and kept the classics around.
     
  10. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^
    Yep. I guess if I only had a few books to read, for the rest of my life, I'd go with some that I find meaningful or timeless.

    I will try and think if there's a book written over the last 20/30 years that I'd choose. There may well be, just can't think of anything off the top of my head.
     
  11. 281
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    1 A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson
    2 History of Philosophy - Will Durant
    3 In Search of Lost Time - Marcel Proust
    4 Neighbor Rosicky - Willa Cather
    5 A long text book on World History
     
  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Exactly!!! :)

    I especially liked writerdudes suggestion of robinson crusoe for relevance, hihi. I'm surprised that so many seem to choose books they've already read. I think I would bring some of those books I've always felt I "should" read (=classics) but never actually read.
     
  13. Heather
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    1. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck - because it is beautifully written and I could re-read it constantly.
    2. The Harry Potter series - cheating a bit, being a whole series :redface:
    3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - because I really want to read it, but it is so long I think I'll never get around to it.
    4. The Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman. Cheating again, but they are brilliant.
    5. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.

    I haven't picked the best books I have ever read before, but I have picked books that I know I could re-read often (and already have) in most cases.
     
  14. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    1. Flashman - just because I love it
    2. Any Jeeves & Wooster omnibus - Pure escapism
    3. Clive James' Unreliable Memoirs - I've read it a couple of times and could happily read it a few more!
    4. A comprehensive French language textbook - so I can learn to read....
    5. In Search of Lost Time - in its original language. Because it'll take an age to get through, and it's something I've been meaning to read (translated) for a while
     
  15. cobaltblue
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    1. Pillars of the Earth - one of my favourites that I've only read once. And it's nice and thick, I may be there a while.
    2. Inkheart - another favourite I've only read once.
    3. Lord of The Rings Trilogy - to escape back to the shire while awaiting rescue.
    4. A book on surviving and being rescued from a desert island. - eventually I'd like to return to civilization and the bookstore.
    5. A blank notebook - to write my own stories.
     

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