Thursday, 18 August 2005

Desert Island Books

In response to a discussion over at a forum I frequent, here's a list of the 10 books I would bring with me to a desert island (assuming I don't need practical books such as the Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook to teach me how to make fire without matches):
  1. Shakespeare - Complete Works
  2. James Joyce - Ulysses
  3. Thomas Pynchon - The Crying of Lot 49
  4. Nick Hornby - High Fidelity
  5. Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Love in the Time of Cholera
  6. Salman Rushdie - Midnight's Children
  7. Vladimir Nabokov - Lolita
  8. Monty Python - The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus: All the Words, Volume 1
  9. Lenny Bruce - How to Talk Dirty and Influence People
  10. Paul Krassner - Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut
Which is not necessarily a list of what I would think are the 10 greatest works of literature of all time - after all, on an island one needs to balance art and the need to laugh. Books I would miss, in no real order:
  • Thomas Pynchon - V
  • Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow
  • Raymond Carver - What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
  • Raymond Carver - Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?
  • T.S. Eliot - Complete Poems and Plays 1909-1950
  • Ken Kesey - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • Tom Wolfe - The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
  • Geoff Nicholson - Bleeding London
  • Anais Nin - Delta of Venus
  • Luc Sante - Low Life
  • Jane Austen - Emma
  • Julian Barnes - A History of the World in 10½ Chapters
  • Virginia Woolf - Mrs Dalloway
  • Nick Hornby - Fever Pitch
  • Jane Jacobs - The Death and Life of Great American Cities
  • Kenneth T. Jackson - Crabgrass Frontier
  • Richard Farina - Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me
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How did you choose the books? Did you pick the ones that would entertain you the most or keep you sane?


Bit of both. I needed the funny ones to preserve my sanity, and the great ones to preserve my humanity. I left Carver off partly because I think reading Carver when you're already abandoned on an island could pretty much push you over the edge.


If I were abandoned on a desert island, I wouldn't mind going a bit crazy.


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