LitSoup: If you were stranded on a desert island ...
The thing that's great about this scenario is that you know in advance you will be stranded, so you have time to plan out the only books you will be able to read for the rest of your life. Some aspects to consider in making your selection might be length, difficulty and re-readability.
I posed this question to the newsroom. Many of my colleagues considered length and entertainment, while some considered resourcefulness. Here are the responses I received:
- The Lord of the Rings. I’ve seen this published in one volume so I’m going to count it as one book! It has the re-readability factor thanks to all the little details involved
- Les Miserables. Never read it because I never had the time, so it’s perfect for a deserted island
- How to Get Off a Deserted Island. Just joking
- Dante’s Inferno. I’ve read it but I really need do it again without any distraction
- “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” After reading this book several years ago its message stays with me – that all hold an aching hole in their heart seeking authentic love to fill it. It’s a book that for me, illustrates Emily Dickinson’s beautiful quote - “That love is all there is, is all we know of love.”
- “Wuthering Heights” Who could tire of the yearning love and passion between Catherine and Heathcliffe? The tender weaving of the tale leaves me with a sweet sadness.
- “Who Moved My Cheese?” This quick read is an eye-opener for anyone who has difficulty with change. So many of us get stuck in daily habits and life situations thinking there are no other options, or, if there were, they couldn’t possibly work. Surprise! What are we missing when we don’t opt for change? When we don’t seek the treasures waiting for us around the next corner? Not only do we prevent growth, but we risk a stinky life of stagnation.
- My one-book, complete series edition of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” 5 books + one story bound together makes for easy re-readability since it is actually 5.5 books in one. And my leather-bound edition has an error on the cover, which makes me believe it’s unique and special, so I’d want to have that with me I guess. Also, the H2G2 series is definitely a favorite.
- “The Salmon of Doubt” by Douglass Adams. Even though I’d then have an overwhelming amount of DA literature, this one is a special book. After Adams died, his friends, family and publishers raided his computers and compiled some of his essays and short stories into one book. It’s got so many different pieces, it would also be easy to re-read.
- I guess I really do have to go with the Bible. There are a ton of stories, many (well, all? Maybe?) rich in history. I’ve never read it so it would be the best time to do it.
- The King James Version of the Bible, because there is no better or more important read.
- “The Old Man and the Boy,” because this is my favorite fiction book.
- The best overall “how-to” book carried by Lowe’s, because if I’m stranded on a deserted island I’ll need all of the help I can get.
- Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe – With Poe I can get so many different dark short stories, which is what I really love to read.
- "IT" Stephen King – so many greats by King, but I guess I would pick “IT”, because it’s the longest.
- "Animal Farm" George Orwell - I recently re-read this book and then a month later listen to it again on audio book. I am fascinated with what happens to Boxer and the other animals on the farm. How can they be so deceived into thinking living that way is better? Although, I might get depressed about this on a desert island. If I could cheat and bring one more book by Orwell, I would bring “1984” - Maybe both would come in a box set that I could bring along.
- Voices of the Winds: Native American Legends, collected by Margot Edmonds and Ella E. Clark. It’s a fat volume of legends ordered by general region. I’m still barely halfway through though I’ve had it for ages. It’s shoddily edited so I can waste time fussing and fuming over the sections that don’t appear to have been proofread, but the legends themselves offer fantastic insights into values and spirituality.
- To the Castle and Back, by Vaclav Havel. Modern-day journal excerpts, interview segments, and scatterings of memos from his time in office. A fantastically complicated read to which I intend to return in the near future.
- Any of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody mysteries. Tongue-in-cheek spoofs on olden-day romances, the books are a light-hearted read with enough humor – as well as a mild dose of blood and gore, with plenty of corpses to go around – that they’re rarely cheesy and generally fun. They’re based at the turn of the last century, when Egyptology was the craze, and include a noteworthy, though rarely dizzying, amount of historical research. And, in keeping with the theme, the linguistic style is just fancy enough to prevent one from devouring the books without savoring them.
- "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This might be my favorite book, and I could read it over and over and over again.
- "Days of Dreams and Laughter: The Story Girl and Other Tales" by Lucy Maud Montgomery. This book was a gift from my grandmother when I was younger, and I remember reading "The Story Girl" and imagining I was friends with the children who lived on Prince Edward Island. Even though the books are easy reads (intended for young adults), I think I might enjoy returning to my Canadian friends to keep me company.
- The Bible. I haven't read the entire thing, and I would like to someday. Having it with me on a desert island would be the perfect opportunity.
-- Cheryl Sadler | CSadler@News-Herald.com | @nhcheryl