Five Books to Have on a Deserted Island

I’ve seen this topic often enough and realize there is zero chance of me ever being on a deserted island. Mainly because that would mean you managed to get me on a ship to go anywhere near an island in the first place. And despite what Tom Hank’s movie, Castaway suggests is possible, if your plane goes down in the middle of the ocean – well, lets just say reading won’t be on your mind. 

But nevertheless, I will suspend my disbelief and pretend I’m on said island with a bag big enough for five books, and with any luck, a large bottle of scotch. I am excluding three books everyone should or may consider right off the bat: The BibleThe Desert Island Survival Guide for Dummies and 101 Ways to Cook Coconuts. 

Here are my five choices, not in any particular order.

1. Ten Little Indians – by Dame Agatha Christie. (Also known as Then There Were None)

This is the first mystery novel I can remember reading where I went “Whoa! That was cool!” Next thing you know I tore through all the Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple novels I could get my hands on. For many reasons, not the least of which is it introduced me to my next choice, it may be my favorite novel of all time.

2. The Complete Sherlock Holmes – by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes may be the most popular character in fiction. I’m hard pressed to think of another who has been reincarnated in more different books, movies, television shows and radio programs. I read every single story, not once or twice, but many times. To have Holmes and Watson on the island would make the time pass much quicker.

3. The Hobbit – by J. R. R. Tolkien

I would have chosen the Lord of the Rings instead, but they are three books and I would consider it cheating, even though I’m not really on an island, so I opt for the Hobbit instead. Tolkien’s works are the ones all other modern fantasy novels owe their existence. After reading this on my deserted island (I can call it mine, since it’s deserted, there is no one else to tell me I can’t) I can run around and carve on the trees “Bilbo Lives!” I can’t carve Frodo lives, as I didn’t bring those books, remember?

4. Hamlet – by William Shakespeare

It would be hard for me not to have at least one of the Bard’s works with me on the island, and while I could cheat and pick the Collected Works of William Shakespeare, quite frankly I wouldn’t want to carry all of them around. So I choose Hamlet. It would make me feel better reading about the Danish Prince, as there would be at least one person whose life could be considered worse than ending up on a deserted island.

5. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

By the time I finished the other books on my list, I will have been frightened, puzzled, thrilled, uplifted and depressed all to Hell. It would be time for a laugh and this book always does the trick. I mean, just thinking about individual quotes makes me smile. “This must be Thursday,” said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer, “I never could get the hang of Thursdays.”

So there you have it. If I’m ever stranded on a deserted island, I hope I have these five books with me to pass the time. Oh. And a super model. I know that would make it a “mostly deserted island” but as long as I’m filling out a list, might as well have a plus one.

Which books would you chose for your deserted island? And no. I’m not sharing my island. You’ll have to get your own. Post your list in the comments section.

6 thoughts on “Five Books to Have on a Deserted Island

  1. Hmmmm. Understanding that this may change at a moment’s notice I’m choosing the following:
    1. The Bible
    2. The Big Book of Country Wisdom (everything from field sanitation to collecting rainwater to making a thatched roof)
    3. The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
    4. Can I count The Narnia Chronicles as one? If so, that. If not, “Til They Have Faces” also by Lewis
    5. Watership Down by Richard Adams. It was the first “grown up book” I ever read.

  2. 1. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. If I could only have one book, this would be it.
    2. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake. I’d prefer the trilogy but, if I can only have one of the three, it would be book 2, Gormenghast.
    3. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann.
    4. A comprehensive French language instruction book and dictionary so I could translate the French bits of The Magic Mountain. The German is translated into English–WHY NOT THE FRENCH BITS???!!!?!?!?
    5. As I said when someone else asked this question, I want a big fat book of blank pages and a never-ending pen!

    Oh, okay.

    5. Any one of the Rainbow Fairy Books by Andrew Lang.

    Good post. Good question.

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