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Desert Island Books

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This is a game, though it has to do with books.

 

What six books would you choose to take with you were you to be stranded on a desert island (assuming there still are such places)?

 

Now, I gather that boxed sets of the greatest hits of Beethoven, Mozart and Tchaikovsky are already lying in a watertight cave nearby. And remember you can always take Dire Straits or whatever as your luxury item, so don't jump in the deep end with a surfeit of classics.

 

Have a go. It could be fun. I wonder who will take the Bible and Shakespeare.

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I wonder who will take the Bible and Shakespeare.
Me, certainly.

Specifically the Thompson Chain Reference Edition of The New International Version of The Bible,

am less demanding about the Shakespeare, as long as it's a 'Complete Works'.

Also the Complete Plays of GBS.

Don Quixote, too, preferably in a 'parallel' edition with Spanish and English in side-by-side columns.

I'd also like the biggest etymological dictionary I'm allowed,

and a huge poetry anthology (I might need to compile the anthology myself to accommodate the mixture I'd like).

Something by Dickens, but would need to take advice as to the one with the most convoluted sub-plots and interesting peripheral characters.

That leaves me with one more to choose, and I think I'll think a bit longer before making my final decision - and maybe get inspiration from other people's choices.

 

Just noticed, only six books ? as opposed to the eight record allowed by Roy Plomley?

If thet's the case, I'll have to drop the Dickens :(

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Plomley and his successors generally deny people anything too useful as well, so I suppose my copy of "Raft Building for Dummies" will have sunk with my ship.

 

As someone who isn't a re-reader, I'd have to plump for a couple of the epics I've been meaning to read to while away the time i.e.

 

* "War and Peace"

* "A Suitable Boy"

* A Dickens, but I'm also not sure which one. Meg's criteria work for me too.

* Not a Bible as such, but I'd like to know more about Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), so some reasonably scholarly but not esoteric work on that subject, if such a thing exists. Not the nonsense written by Madonna's guru.

* "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five Parts" - because it's still my favourite book and I'll need something to lighten the gloom of being stranded.

* Am I allowed an encyclopaedia?

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If we're allowed to cheat a bit and take books that contain more than one novel then I'd take a volume of Updike's Rabbit books, and one of those Jane Austen volumes that has P&P and Persuasion and Emma, and Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur, a multi-volume Dickens (random? or with Great Expections, Bleak House and David Copperfield), the Norton Anthology of Poetry, The Essential Hemmingway (or some other multi-Hemmingway that I don't know of), and the Paris Review Interviews (fascinating read).

 

No bible, sorry. The only book in it that I really like is Song of Songs and it's too short to make the rest of it worthwhile.

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I've chosen long books because I probably wouldn't be rescued for a while.

 

Les Liaison Dangerouses - Choderlos de Laclos

The Quincunx – Charles Palliser

A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

Clarissa – Samuel RIchardson

War and Peace – Tolstoy

The Tale of Genji – Murasaki Shikibu

 

But perhaps Robinson Crusoe would be a better choice. I might be able to pick up some tips.

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I've gone for self-improvement plus ability to 'dip' plus one novel by a favourite author that also reminds me of my husband's home town:

 

A History of Europe by Norman Davies

An Outline of European Architecture by Pevsner

Ruskin Today by Kenneth Clarke

Mirror of the World:A New History of Art by Julian Bell

London:The Biography by Peter Ackroyd

Clayhanger by Arnold Bennett

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1. In Search of Lost Time (Folio edition trans CK Moncrieff, Andreas Mayor & Terence Kilmartin. Revised by DJ Enright)

 

I would have chosen it in French but that would mean taking Harrap's Longer French-English Dictionary and I can't afford to 'waste' a book.

2. The Wings of the Dove

3. The Complete Works of Shakespeare

4. Three Men in a Boat

5. John Ashbery's Collected Poems

6. Vanity Fair

 

Luxury item - battery operated CD Player with lots of (non-rechargable) batteries and a selection of classics and pops.

- cheating, I know, but what the hell I won't get grilled by customs. Anyway, we're all of us heavily overweight, so why quibble at multi-Dickens or an encyclopedia?

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I think I'd go for some thick books that will last longer, and I don't think I could risk taking anything I haven't read before, in case I hated it, so:

 

1. The complete works of Oscar Wilde.

2. The Pickwick Papers.

3. Herodotus: The Histories.

4. Tales of the City (all 5 if I can get them in one volume) - Armistead Maupin.

5. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins.

6. The Third Policeman - Flann O'Brien (not thick, but intriguing and hilarious, I could read it over and over again).

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Hmm only six! Obviously a fairly good rescue rate from this island. :)

 

1. Lord of the Rings

2. A Suitable Boy

3. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (if ever there was a 'painting the Forth Rail Bridge' book this is it)

4. A very good anthology of poetry (can I make my own anthology up? :) )

5. Round Ireland With A Fridge by Tony Hawks (need something to make me laugh)

6. How to survive on a Desert Island by I B Stranded

 

I assume we still get the complete works of Shakespeare thrown in? Or as this is Desert Island Books do we get the complete works of Purcel or Elgar?

 

Also do I get the company of Kirsty Young? If so might not need those books :):)

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Alright then, books on my desert island making my stay worthwhile.

 

The Godfather, Mario Puzo - never get fed up with reading that.

 

This Thing of Darkness, Harry Thompson - could not live without that.

 

The New Testament: Tyndale Bible, 1526 New Testament Original Spelling Edition by William Tyndale - I have this partially read on my shelf and it would keep me amused for ages working out the Original Spelling (for which there is, to the best of my knowledge, no dictionary). Needless to say he only got halfway or so through the Old Testament before being caught, so this would have to do.

 

Complete works of Shakespeare, leather bound of course (fairly easily read after the Tyndale, I'm thinking).

 

As with Tagesmann : Les Liaison Dangerouses, Choderlos de Laclos - the only one that I haven't read.

 

And finally, The Mallen Series by Catherine Cookson - I just love this and always like to have some easy to read/trashy book available.

 

Think I'd be extremely unchuffed if I was rescued before I got to read these, though :D

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Also do I get the company of Kirsty Young? If so might not need those books :) :)

Ah - I had been wondering if you were a man or a woman Tay. I think I now know. :)

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Ah - I had been wondering if you were a man or a woman Tay. I think I now know. :)

 

But you're still not too sure? :D

 

Very definitely a man! :)

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I'm surprised nobody has chosen "The Children's War", that would definitely be on my list. Then

 

a Jane Austen, preferably her collection but if I'm allowed only one, it would be "Persuasion"

Mann, Thomas “Buddenbrocks” (German classic, Nobel Prize 1929)

Tolstoi, Leonid “Anna Karenina”

Turner, Nancy E. "These is my words"

Zweig, Stefanie "Nowhere in Africa"

 

I think. But I'll probably change my mind a dozen time before this thread is closed. ;)

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The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

Strumpet City - James Plunkett

Ulysses - James Joyce

The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde

The Pickwick Papers - Charles Dickens

The curious incident of the dog in the nightdress - Ross O'Carroll-Kelly (aka Paul Howard)

 

I love LOTR and always have, there's enough information in the appendices alone to keep anyone going for a long time :)

 

Strumpet City is a novel of my own home city, Dublin

 

Ulysses is also a Dublin novel but seeing as though I've tried and failed to finish it countless times, it would be perfect for a desert island read :P

 

The complete works of Oscar Wilde, another Irish selection - I've seen a few productions of various pieces in theatre and I love his poetry

 

I love the Pickwick papers, sublime and ridiculous with great social commentary.

 

The curious...dog in the nightdress - a brand of humour that relies on a single joke, the difference between 'wealthy, posh' Dubliners living South of the river Liffey (Southsiders) and their 'uncouth, unsophisticated working/under-class' brethren living to the North of the river Liffey (Northsiders). Much like the humour of Mrs. Brown's boys, you either love these books or hate them.

 

Again, the reason I choose the last book over either HHGTTG or Pratchett is simply because I recognise people in the Ross O'Carroll-Kelly books and on a desert island I could laugh and remember those people as I read the book :)

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Well I would definitely want huge and convoluted books, books about ideas, but with great storylines. But the writing would also have to be so good that single sentences would make me want to stare into space for awhile, contemplating their beauty and meaning. And I would want to know I liked them. So the first 4 are obvious;

 

1: Infinite Jest- David Foster Wallace

2: The Brothers Karamazov- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

3: Gravity's Rainbow- Thomas Pynchon

4: Moby Dick-Herman Melville

 

And then for humor and profound questions about the nature of reality of course I'd have to have;

5: The 5 part trilogy-The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy- Douglas Adams

 

The last book was trickier. I thought of 'War and Peace' and 'Great Expectations'. I thought of 'Big Rock Candy Mountain' by Stegner, 'The Rosy Crucifixion' trilogy by Miller,and Barth's 'Giles Goat Boy'. What about the collected poems of Whitman? Maybe Mailer's 'Harlot's Ghost'? Maybe try Kant's 'Critique of Pure Reason' again. But I knew from past experience I'd end up throwing it against a wall and since there would probably be no walls it would end up in the ocean and I'd be down to 5 books. Then I thought "Well I'd want something I've never read. Something daunting." Like Musil's 'The Man Without Qualities' or Stephenson's 'Baroque Cycle',(which probably hasn't been bound into one book anyway and would require a crane to lift if it was).Then I realized it would have to be;

6:Ulysses - James Joyce

I'd probably never finish nor understand it,(though it is said to be slightly more comprehensible than 'Finnegans Wake'), and it would therefore provide a lifetime of reading. Besides, I'll probably never attempt it unless I am stranded on a desert island.

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I saw this thread a few days ago and decided that I would have to think about it for a day or two.  Choosing just six books would be virtually impossible - I have found it difficult enough in the past to choose books for a holiday and am really glad now that I have my Kindle so that I am not faced with this problem.

 

After a bit of thought I have decided that I would have to take my three favourite books of all time:-

 

Jane Eyre - "Charlotte Bronte"

Pride and prejudice - "Jane Austen"

Great Expectations - "Charles Dickens"

 

I have read all three of these books repeatedly and know that I would never get bored of them.  I also decided that I should take at least one book that I felt had changed my thinking or perception of people or places etc..  I decided on one of the following:-

 

The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns - "Khaled Hosseini" or The Purple Hibiscus - "Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie"

 

I then decided that I should take a book that I have tried to read but failed:-

 

Anna Karenina - "Leo Tolstoy"

 

I have downloaded this to my Kindle and keep promising myself that I will try again at some stage.

 

This leaves me with one choice left.  I decided that this should be an epic which I have read in the past and would like to read again:-

 

Gone With The Wind - "Margaret Mitchell"

 

I read this book when  I was about seventeen - a long time ago and cried for hours after finishing it.  When I read it the film had not been revived and I had no idea what it was about or how it ended.  I was working the a lady coming up to retirement at the time who had seen the film when she was young and it gave us something to talk about each day at tea-break.

 

At least having chosen some of my favourite books I know that I would not get bored as I could always read them over and over again.

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I've been thinking about this one for a while. It was fairly easy to get the first 5, but I couldn't make up my mind about the last one.

 

1. & 2. The Game of Kings and Checkmate by Dorothy Dunnett. If I could take more than 6 books, I would take all 6 volumes of her Lymond Chronicles because they're my favorite books and I could read them over and over. So I ended up choosing the first and last volumes.

 

3. Complete works of Shakespeare, for obvious reasons. You get everything: comedy, tragedy, poetry.

 

4. Tao Te Ching. My bible.

 

5. Calvin & Hobbs Treasury. My pick for humor and philosophy in one.

 

6. This was such a dilemma, because it would depend on my mood at the time. I thought about The Count of Monte Cristo, Les Miserables or something by Jane Austen for classics. Maybe A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving or A Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin for modern fiction. Maybe an anthology of the Transcendentalists. Or A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron, just because it has to be the sweetest, most touching book ever. Also, The Little Princess for my inner child. Maybe a book of Impressionist Art. The Bronze Horseman for heart-wrenching romance. Maybe Middlemarch because I've always wanted to read it but have never gotten beyond the first few pages. At the end of this, I thought I would be able to make a decision, but I just can't. I guess I'll have to wait for that moment right before I get stranded and then grab whichever one is closest. A cop-out, I know.  :dunno:

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3. Complete works of Shakespeare, for obvious reasons. You get everything: comedy, tragedy, poetry.

 

4. Tao Te Ching. My bible.

Shakey's already there, so that'll give you another choice - and you might be able to get away with the Tao Te Ching instead of the Bible.

There you are, absolutely spoiled for choice now.

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Shakey's already there, so that'll give you another choice - and you might be able to get away with the Tao Te Ching instead of the Bible.

There you are, absolutely spoiled for choice now.

 

Great! Then, based on my current mood  :rolleyes: I'm going to go with The Count of Monte Cristo and A Prayer for Owen Meany.  :banana:

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Great! Then, based on my current mood  :rolleyes: I'm going to go with The Count of Monte Cristo and A Prayer for Owen Meany. 

 

Oh, wait, I still get another one, right? Then I'll be brave (taking a book I've never read) and go with Middlemarch.

 

 

I had to edit this post to get rid of the stupid banana. It was driving me crazy!

Edited by KerryC

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This topic provokes terrible "Sophie's Choice" feelings in me. 

 

1.  Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.  Of course.

 

2.  The Aubrey/Maturin books, which I have decided "count" as one long story and so I should get to take them all.  I don't think I can add on A Sea of Words and since I read the series the first time without it, I guess I'll leave it behind.

 

3.   War and Peace

 

4.   One Hundred Years of Solitude (although maybe the title will be too painful to see all the time).

 

5.   Rising from the Plains by John McPhee

 

6.   Any Human Heart by William Boyd

Edited by Binker

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4.   One Hundred Years of Solitude (although maybe the title will be too painful to see all the time).

 

 

:lmao:

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1. Complete works of Shakespeare.

2. Complete works of Calvin & Hobbes.

3. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte.

3. Dracula, Bram Stoker.

4. It, Stephen King.

5. Complete Shirley Jackson (am I allowed that?)

6. Change of Regime/Children's War, J N Stroyar

 

That'd be me and I would forgo music* as penalty for bending the rules slightly.

 

Apart from Depeche Mode's Violator.

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Shakey's already there, so that'll give you another choice - and you might be able to get away with the Tao Te Ching instead of the Bible.

There you are, absolutely spoiled for choice now.

Sorry, KerryC - Itold you wrong. I just re-read the OP, and the two iconic books waiting on the island for those choosing  8 discs to have washed up with them are NOT waiting for the shipwrecked booklover. Those who want Shakespeare or The Bible will have to wrap them in oilskin and  pack them in their luggage

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OK, so I read the OP, and it sounds like I can have music as one of my choices? Then I'll stick with my original first 5 and add Beatles 1962-1966. Or am I still confused?

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