Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Desert Island Books

This week I had a good interview with Talitha McEachin on her Book Reads radio show, and one of the questions she asked me was which three books I'd take with me onto a desert island.  I floundered with the question just a bit. Of course I don't live on a desert island - books are abundant in my life and always have been, almost, perhaps, to the point where I take them just a bit for granted.  I was reminded of this not long ago when I donated several boxes to a fantastic project that provides books for the school children of Viwa Island, Fiji. Sometimes I read several books at once picking and choosing based on my mood. In the end it came down to a question of re-readability. The three books I chose might not be my ultimate desert island list if I had time to give it lots more thought, but they are all books I've already read several times and could easily re-read them a dozen more. Assuming I don't get to bring a Kindle to my island and that there's no wi-fi connection, I'd want books that engage me again and again in different ways and perhaps that also stimulate my writing, since I'd probably be scratching out a lot of my own work too, even if it was just a stylus on palm leaf.  I chose James Joyce's Ulysses (no surprise there - my husband thinks I should have grown out of that book by now, but I don't think I ever will - instead I find I'm growing into it), Richard Flanagan's Gould's Book of Fish (and I might be using the same kinds of inks as the protagonist if I were on the island long enough), and Julian Barnes' A History of the World in 10½ Chapters (which puts me in mind of a shipwreck). Don't hold me to the list - I might just change my mind by the time I'm truly called upon to choose only three books to take with me.  The full interview is below.  After you check it out, maybe you could share your own desert island books.

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