Marooned on a desert island

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Marooned on a desert island

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Jul 16, 2009, 1:37 pm

I've seen this Question asked somewhere else on LT, but am interested to see what the 50 - Somethings come up with.

If you were marooned on a desert island what 10 or so books and 1 or 2 poems would you most like to have with you. We will assume that most people would what a Bible, Quaran, Book of Mormon etc.( or an other such religious book).
Anyway here's mine:

"Now, Here This" by Daniel V. Gallery
Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis
Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener
"Delilah" by Marcus Goodrich
The Sand Pebbles by Richard McKenna
The Shoes of the Fisherman by Morris L. West
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
The Adventurer by Mika Waltari
Billy Budd" by Herman Melville
A Moveable Feast by Hemingway
Captains Courageous - a Story of the Grand Banks by RUDYARD KIPLING

My two poems;
"The Unknown Citizen" by W. H. Auden
"Gunga Din" by Rudyard Kipling

Jul 16, 2009, 2:14 pm

We will assume that most people would what a Bible, Quaran, Book of Mormon etc.( or an other such religious book).

Ack, what a horrible thought. Being marooned AND having that stuff to read. I would rather have no books at all.

Jul 16, 2009, 2:55 pm

I'm tempted to say the 10 largest books among the hundreds of books on my TBR list! Then they'd finally get read! If I was going to be marooned forever, I'd make sure I had read page 99 of each of them first (isn't that the latest trick for "how to know if you'll like a book"?).

I'll have to think about this one.

Jul 16, 2009, 3:54 pm

>1 usnmm2: I like your list.

I'm tempted to answer this in a couple of different ways. I think the initial thought is to select books that are comforting (for the situation), but I'm thinking many of my books might be nonfiction and provide useful information for me to survive (farming, botany, fishing, etc.)

As I write this I'm also thinking of the movie The Time Machine with Rod Taylor, as I recall he goes back to the future to restart civilization and brings three books and you never no what they are. Perhaps a future topic.

I think I'll start my list with Robinson Caruso,,,B-)

Jul 16, 2009, 4:04 pm

Jul 16, 2009, 6:41 pm

I was thinking perhaps The Foxfire Book and sequels.

Editado: Jul 16, 2009, 11:16 pm

>2 Nicole_VanK: BarkingMatt: Sorry you feel that way. Don't know why you feel the need to insult those of us who do value our scriptures. I try to be respectful of people of all persuasions and not slam or make fun of the things they hold dear.

Seems to me, the way that post was written with the "etc., or any other such religious book" at the end of the paragraph, one could extrapolate to include one of whatever book that is foundational to one's belief system -- perhaps a volume on humanism, paganism, atheism, or whatever, if you're not religious in the traditional sense.

As for my top 10 others, besides my Bible, I'd have to give it some thought.

Editado: Jul 16, 2009, 11:21 pm

>2 Nicole_VanK:: BarkingMatt
NPR (National Public Radio) at one time had a cooking and food show. In one part of this show the host would have a call in session were people would give her the three or four things that were in their refrigerators. The host would then give you some ideas on how to cook them. The one catch to this whole thing was that she assumed everyone had salt, pepper and onion and a potato. This was to keep the lists simple and gave her some lead way.

My mentioning religious texts was in that vane. To keep the lists simple and not get into discussions about which texts were better or more correct or have people belittle what others find, useful, needful or comforting.

As for myself I think I would also add not only the Protestant version with its 66 books, but also the Catholic or Douay Rheims Bible (with its 9 extra books), an Eastern one with its extra four books and for good measure an Ethiopian Orthodox with its 5 more books and a few extra psalms. For good measure though in a Book of Mormon and the Qur’an. I think this would make interesting reading for comparison on those long lonely nights sitting by my fire.

4: stevetempo
Thank you. I looking forward to your list.
I also have spent many an hour contemplating that same question. "What three books, did he take?". And I must confess some of those hours were in the wee hours of the morning after a few bottle of beers or Boones Farm.

Editado: Jul 16, 2009, 11:46 pm

>4 stevetempo: stevetempo: you wrote: "I'm thinking many of my books might be nonfiction and provide useful information for me to survive . . ."

For some silly reason, that reminds me of one of the Marc Brown Arthur series for kids, where Arthur and Francine (I think) are stranded in a locked library after closing, and they look in the card catalog for a book on how to escape from a library . . . I think they find that the book had been checked out, and they wonder why anyone would need it OUTSIDE the library . . .

Strange, the way the mind works sometimes, especially late at night. :-)

Editado: Jul 17, 2009, 3:48 am

> 7: tymfos

I'm surprised you see my remark as insulting. I thought my wording made it clear that it was my totally personal evaluation of those books. In short: I wouldn't want them on my desert island. But that other people make other choices is obvious, and totally fine with me. No insult was intended, but I do apologize.

edited to correct html error

Jul 17, 2009, 5:14 am

>9 tymfos:: tymfos
Isn't it always that way? When you need it you can't find it. And when you find it you don't need it any more. :)

Jul 17, 2009, 10:29 pm

>9 tymfos: Interesting story about the library. It might have made a lighter Twilight Zone episode.

Jul 18, 2009, 1:52 am

#2,7 etc. I didn't find that insulting in the least, it reads exactly as you intended, i.e. personal preference. Frankly, I thought it was rather presumptive to assume everyone would include a religious tract, I can also think of thousands of better things to read.

Editado: Jul 18, 2009, 6:35 am

#2,7,10 etc. Me too! Personally, I can't imagine why anybody would want to be stuck on a desert island without a copy of Captain Corelli's Mandolin but I don't assume that is the case for everyone else. Many people's 'belief systems' (or lack of them) do not have an instruction book. If one's belief system is simply that 1) there is no god, and 2) treat other people the way you would wish to be treated yourself, there is no need for a book, unless your memory is even worse than mine (and that 'treating everyone else' thing rather falls by the wayside when you're on a desert island anyway). A long-running radio programme over here, Desert Island Discs, asks guests to pick their 8 records to take. They then get one book plus the assumption that they will naturally wish to take a copy of Shakespeare's complete works or the religious book of their choice (it used to be the bible but I think that has now changed). Many guests agree that the bible, at least, will keep their camp fire going for a good couple of nights.

A-a-a-a-a-anyway, here's my list, in no particular order - no bible, koran, etc, as you'll see:

1) Captain Corelli's Mandolin
2) The Crimson Petal and the White
3) Middlemarch
4) Life of Pi
5) The Assassin's Cloak
6 Cannery Row
7) A Prayer For Owen Meany
8) The Deptford Trilogy (well, mine is all in one edition, so I think that should be okay)
9) The Magus
10) Jude the Obscure

And a couple of poems: Ithaca, by Cavafy and The Love song of Alfred J Prufrock - (though I might also have to try and memorise quite a bit of Yeats before I go).

ETA - Oooh! I just noticed the OP actually listed 12 books, not 10, so I'm also throwing in The Remains of the Day and Little Infamies

Jul 18, 2009, 7:23 am

The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk
The Secret Knowledge of Water by Craig Childs
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
Back to Barbary Lane Omnibus by Armistead Maupin
The Newford Stories by Charles de Lint
Into the Green by Charles De Lint
Spirits in the Wires by Charles De Lint
The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea
The Birth House by Ami McKay
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

The Withering of the Boughs & A Faery Song by Yeats

In no particular order...

Jul 18, 2009, 7:23 am

> 14: Booksloth
No Problem with 12 books. I said 10 or so and listed 12 my self (I can never seem to get these list for anything to just ten). I just like to see what people like the most. Books that they re-read and enjoy for some reason. It's also a way for me to find other books authors etc. that I may not have come across other wise. Example never heard of The Depthford Triogy but it looks interesting as does Little Infamies. As for the life of Pi it's been on my radar for some time.
I see that you include a Steinbeck on your list as I have. Cannery Row could have been on my list as Tortilla Flat or To A God Unknown. I choose the one I did for the epic scoop of the retelling of the Cain and Abel story, and the Idea of "timshel" (choice).

Jul 18, 2009, 7:44 am

I know how you feel. When I aimed for 10 I could only whittle it down to 12 but as soon as I discovered I could nominate 12 I have several others that really should be there. I really see Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat as two books that should be issued in a single volume and I never know which to choose. I love all Steinbeck but these are a real joy to me as they show the man's humour as well as his darker side. Whenever people tell me they don't like Steinbeck because they find his books miserable I immediately say 'Well, you obviously haven't read Tortilla Flat or Cannery Row then!'

The Deptford Trilogy is by Robertson Davies, a Canadian writer I only discovered more or less by accident about 10 years ago. If you love big, sprawling, fairly involved stories with multi-dimensional characters you can really get your teeth into I highly recommend any of his books but this is definitely my favourite so far (in fact, I still have one - The Cornish Trilogy - I haven't read yet but because, like too many great authors, Davies is no longer with us, I'm scared to get to the point where I have nothing left to look forward to!)

As for Little Infamies - I am a huge fan and as-regular-as-possible traveller to Greece and love reading anything that is set in that beautiful country (hence Captain Corelli and The Magus). Little Infamies is a volume of short stories, separate but interlinked, set in a seemingly traditional (but slightly odd) Greek village. The writing is beautiful and the stories are haunting and spring from the most incredible imagination and a deep knowlege and love of the human race. Again - a massive recommendation to all who love Greece, short stories, beautiful wriiting and slightly quirky, sometimes sinister, often funny people.

These are the books that have been on my desert island shortlist for years now and are really the ones I couldn't bear to live without: the ones I would have to grab if my house were on fire. In fact, I'm thinking of building another smallish bookcase right by the door so that I can grab them if that very thing should happen! But I suspect they'd just grow like all the others. I already want to get a bigger suitcase so that I can throw in a copy of Shantaram too!

Editado: Jul 18, 2009, 8:14 am

17: Booksloth
I was one of those people that hated Steinbeck for years. Having been forced to read and hating The Red Pony in school (still hate it).
Any way to make a long story longer someone did just what you did. They said "Well you should try Tortilla Flat or Cannery Row. So I did and the rest is as they say is "history"

Jul 18, 2009, 8:30 am

Not being the most practical of souls, I would definitely take a trunk full of survival guides :-)

Jul 18, 2009, 10:30 am

#18 I feel the same way about The Red Pony - just too cruel to make a child read it.

Jul 18, 2009, 2:40 pm

>18 usnmm2: & 20
The movie of The Red Pony traumatized me as a child - I still flinch when they play the score on the radio - sooo sad.

Jul 18, 2009, 3:46 pm

Interesting topic. I'd want to mull it over a bit before making my own list. But, this does remind me of the Desert Island Books group. Its threads are dormant now, but I intend to go back through and see what I missed.

Jul 18, 2009, 8:47 pm

re: message 2, 7, etc.

BarkingMatt: apology accepted. I'm sure you meant no offense. I probably over-reacted.

I don't mind anyone taking issue with the OP "assuming" one will take a religious book along. I would want a Bible, but I honestly don't assume everyone would want a religious text. For that matter, neither did the OP -- the wording was "most," and honestly most of the folks I know would take some variety of religious / spiritual / philosophical text.

I just got a little upset by the way it was phrased in Message 2, that's all. I always try to be respectful (or at least avoid appearing disrespectful) when I'm talking about anyone's sacred texts, even if I don't subscribe to them. Message 2 came across like saying they were rubbish, too horrible to even have near the other 10 books to be named. That's just a little painful to read.

(Maybe that's why I'm not too good at doing negative reviews. I figure every book is probably dear to SOMEBODY.)

As far as I'm concerned, that's the end of that issue. I've just got to figure out my other 10 books now, and that's a tough call . . .

Jul 19, 2009, 3:21 am

My ten would be:
1. U.S. Army Survival Manual: FM 21-76
2. Back to Basics: How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills
3. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
4. The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe
5. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: a Trilogy in Five Parts
6. The Canterbury Tales
7. The Adventures of Robin Hood
8. The Once and Future King
9. Idylls of a King
10. Random House Treasury Best Loved Poems

These are books I've read through out the years and can continue to read for years to come.
And yes I have read the Army Survival Manual several times.

Jul 19, 2009, 4:27 am

> 23: Message 2 came across like saying they were rubbish, too horrible to even have near the other 10 books to be named.

No, that was certainly not how it was intended. In fact I have several bibles and a couple of qurans in my library - plus collections of apocrypha, but also sacred texts of very different traditions. If I could bring an entire library to the desert island they would certainly be there as well.

I guess it shows how easy it is to get misunderstood on a site like LT that is used by people form many cultures - I'm Dutch, it's mostly a very secular society - and when you only have type to express yourself.

Jul 19, 2009, 1:38 pm

>25 Nicole_VanK: BarkingMatt, you're right. It is very easy to be misunderstood in posts, even among those in the same culture. Let's just forget it. I look forward to seeing your "10 books on an island" list, if you post one.

Me, I'm still thinking what 10 I'd want . . . is there and "Island Survival for Dummies" guidebook available?

Jul 19, 2009, 2:50 pm

Wow, interesting lists. A lot of things I've read, others I've heard of and some that I haven't and will have to investigate. I guess I would want a mix of things I know I love and enjoy re-reading, along with some new stuff that I can expect to be thought-provoking. Let's see...

The Lord of the Rings Experience shows I can re-read parts of this every couple of years. Haven't gone end-to-end in quite a while.
The Book of the New Sun Every time I read it, I notice new stuff or solve another of Wolfe's mysteries.
The collected Works of William Shakespeare I can finally get around to some of the histories I've ignored, not to mention the poems I haven't looked at in quite a while.
Norton Anthology of English Literature, Major Authors Edition Had this since high school. Love the annotations on many items. Broad-spectrum antibiotic for boredom.
Best American Short Stories of the Century Got this one of the times I joined QPBC and have only read a few, 'cause I'm a novel kinda guy, but it should be a great collection.
Freddy and Fredericka Just read this last year. Nor sure how it will do on re-reads but it was so much fun I think it will be enjoyable again.
A Confederacy of Dunces I've read this a few times and always enjoy it.
The Lions of al-Rassan The best written novel (IMHO) by one of my faborite authors.
I Shall Not Want. Gotta have one of the Clare-and-Russ books and I've only read this one once.
Sister Wendy's 1000 Masterpieces In case I get tired of the scenery and just reading words.
The Way Things Work Or some other practical guide to how to build a shelter and what I can and can't eat.
The Universe is a Green Dragon By a slight margin over The Tao of Physics and similar works that have been important in my developing way of looking at the world.
The Bible There are parts of it I've never read, plus great stories and poetry in addition to the spiritual aspect.

There are so many others it was hard to leave out.

Jul 25, 2009, 1:40 am

I'd start with my copy of Forestry Handbook. It's like the Army Survival Guide, only different.

Next would be a decent book that covers First Aid. I've let my FA training certification lapse for the first time in 19 years.

After that, it would be some books to read, like the aforementioned Robertson Davies books and/or The Hitchhiker's Guide,

Definitely, anything by Anne Fadiman, because I would never feel lonely.

Probably some books with Sudoku puzzles in them. I could play them over and over again if I work them out in the sand rather than write in the books.

And I ~know~ already that this is going to bother at least a few of you, but I'm going to say it anyway... I'd take the biggest, thickest tome of whatever religious text I could find (unless the NYC phone book is larger), because paper comes in handy for more than just kindling.

It's my desert island, after all...