Monday, November 02, 2009

What To Read

If you were going to be exiled to a deserted island and you were allowed to bring 10 books with you, what would they be?

I say deserted and not desert because I like you and I want you to live. But the scenario I'm presenting necessitates solitariness. What books would you want to keep you company? What books could you stand reading over and over again? you're going to be stuck on this island for a while.

For the sake of making it a little harder, I'm going to say that "Complete Works of..." don't count. That's cheating. Ditto anthologies and multi-book volumes (i.e. The Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, which is actually several books). If you want a whole series that might be available as one volume, you may count each book separately. Short story or play collections are ok... but still no "complete works" of any playwright.

This is my list (in no particular order):

Photobucket Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Photobucket Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins (my favorite volume of poetry ever)

Photobucket War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (I haven't actually read it, but if I were stranded, I'd certainly find the time. Plus someone once told me it was good beach reading)

Photobucket Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje

Photobucket Collected Shorter Plays of Samuel Beckett (this is ok under my parameters because it's a collection of short, one-act (for the most part) plays; it's like a collection of short stories)

Photobucket 95 Poems by e e cummings

Photobucket Existentialism and Human Emotions by Jean-Paul Sartre (I'm apparently trying to have an existential crisis on my island. But it's so interesting)

Photobucket Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Photobucket The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (This is my "light reading" choice... it's a WWII story narrated by Death. I may have issues)

Photobucket The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu

Well, now that I've made that list I'm a little surprised by how not uplifting it is. I'm not going to change any of my choices though. They may be kind of bleak and ponderous, but there are very good reasons I chose each of those books. The writing in each and every one of them is stunningly beautiful. Most of them also really present something worth thinking about. Plus, they're not all entirely humorless. Collins and cummings both can be quite funny, and Beckett's plays are full of (albeit dark) humor.

Now it's your turn, dear readers. What would your 10 desert island books be? Post them in the comments, or on your own blog thingy.

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