Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Top Five: Desert Island Books

Back on wordpress I created a little post called the Top Five. This was actually a rehashing of a little group I have on Facebook, also called the Top Five. Basically each week I ask a question consisting of your top five choices of something. Friends and family respond at their leisure. I think it makes a great blog post and thus I shall be posting them here too.

Mat: ou have been charged of a crime so heinous, every governmental agency is after you. There is no place to hide, save for one lonely island in a remote corner of the Pacific. You have chartered a private Oceanic plane to take you to this island, where you will spend the rest of your days. The island is already stocked with enough food and supplies to let you live to a very old age. Unfortunately, the plan is very small and will only allow you to take a few frivolous items. You can only take five books, which you must hold on your lap until you arrive at your destination.

You may choose fiction, non-fiction or any other type of book you choose. I will even allow you to choose a series as one book, if you can prove that the series has already been bound as one volume somewhere. Thus the Lord of the Rings trilogy counts because many places have bound it as a single book. However, to my knowledge Harry Potter has not been bound as such, and thus each book counts as one.

Choose wisely.

Monica: I’ve given this subject quite a lot of thought. And I decided that if I could only bring 5 books, including omnibus editions, to a deserted island to live out the rest of my life, I want fiction/fantasy books. I don’t want to do a lot of deep thinking. I want to be entertained. What’s the point of life changing books if my life isn’t going to change anymore? So here are my picks.

1. Dragonlance Chronicles Special Edition: Includes the original trilogy by Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman, “Dragons of Autumn Twilight,” “Dragons of Winter Night,” and “Dragons of Spring Dawning” for a total of 3 books. I know this may sound silly, but I love reading these books. I could read them over and over and over. And I have.

2. The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide by Douglas Adams: Includes “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”; “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe”; “Life, the Universe and Everything”; “So Long and Thanks for all the Fish”; “Mostly Harmless”; and “Young Zaphod Plays it Safe” for a total of 6 books.

3. Jane Austen The Complete Novels, includes “Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “Mansfield Park,” “Emma,” “Northanger Abbey,” “Persuasion,” “Lady Susan.” For a total of 7 books. I confess that I’ve only ever read P&P off this list and that only once and several years ago. I started, but did not finish, S&S a few months ago. But if I’m gonna spend the rest of my life on a deserted island I’ll have time to read Pride again (and since I won’t actually be able to watch the 6 hour version, reading about it will bring wonderful images of Colin Firth to mind and that will be enough.) As well as finish Sense. And when I get tired of all the fantasy novels I’m going to need something else to read.

4. The Magic of Xanth: An Enchanting Fantasy Trilogy by Piers Anthony: Includes “A Spell for Chameleon,” “The Source of Magic,” and “Castle Roogna,” the first three novels of the ongoing Xanth series. For a total of 3 books.

5. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Life on a Deserted Island by Tom Hanks, Matthew Fox, and Dominic Monaghan: I thought and thought about this list and I kept thinking “I should take some kind of Self-Help book” and I don’t think that books on relationships would be helpful and would probably only make me miss my relationships, and people in general, so I decided that this book would be the most helpful. However, I don’t think this book actually exists so I may have to go with “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Surviving Anything,” which does exist, but may or may not actually help me any. So if I peruse this one and decide it’s not helpful and would only be a waste, I’d like to take “More Magic of Xanth” also by Piers Anthony, which includes the next three books in the Xanth series, “Centaur Aisle,” “Ogre, Ogre,” and “Night Mare.” For a total of 3 books.

Let’s see, by taking only five books, and not taking the Idiot’s Guide, I can actually take 22 books. That’s not bad, in my opinion. I think I could live happily with those 22 books.
I actually own Choice #2, and I can assure you that the others are available on


Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck: Quite possibly make favorite book of all time. It's histerically funny, and brutally sad - often on the same page. Plus it's about Okies, and I be one of them. Plus plus, it's about a family traveling to California to pick fruit, and my very family did that very thing, though in the 50's not the 30's.

2. The Collected Novels of Dashielle Hammett: I adore the classic detective fiction writers. I'll probably miss Raymond Chanlder, but I know for sure Hammett's novels are collected in one volume, so he gets the nod.

3. Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkein: I'm kind of a poser Rings fan. I've read them all and really liked them, saw the movies too, but I'm not obsessive over them. Still there is a lot of depth there, with some fun reading. I really dig that Tolkein put so much time into developing his little world, and tht's enough to keep me occupied for a long time.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: If I could be half the man Atticus Finch is, I'd live a full life.

5. Unnamed World History Book: I'd have to do a little research on this one, because while I really like history, I've not done much reading on it. I'd want the fattest, coolest volume I could find though, encapsulating all countries, people and time.


. Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis. It's my favorite book ever, and one I have to read every so often anyway to remind me of myself.

2. A big fat poetry anthology. Poetry is why I became an English major. I especially like the modernists. And the Romantics (most of them, most of the time, anyway). And the Victorians.

3. Walden, by Thoreau. I'll have to figure out how to build my own little hut--and actually enjoy living in it by myself. The sun is but a morning star.

4. An atlas/dictionary/encyclopedia combo. I haven't found such an animal yet, but I'm sure it exists. I'd want to keep my brain sharp and continue learning, and I just like looking at maps anyway. They would fuel my dreams.

5. Ulysses, by James Joyce. I've still only read the first half of it. Maybe after an eternity stuck with it, I'd finish the rest. Maybe after another couple of eternities, I might start to understand it.

Erin: Well, if we are in an Oceanic plane, we will crash just like the LOST cast (and the show, unfortunately). In such a situation, I think it would be wise to have "Worst-Case Scenario", "The Divine Comedy", Norton Anthology of Modern Literature, the Complete Eugene O'Neill, and Lord of the Rings Trilogy. That's what I got--nice long books with a combination of poetry, prose and drama. They will inspire us as we forge our own new civilization and provide practical tools for not freaking out and finding fresh water.

Amy: An Austen anthology is tempting. Of course I’d be looking around my Mr. Darcy all the time, but not having to make a face to society about it—since no one would be there.

I’ll feel like I should include something French. Perhaps a big anthology of works, but not excerpts. There’s little worse than excerpts of novels if you’re stuck on a desert island. What if you liked it? What if you wanted to understand the character’s motivation for acting this way in chapter 3? Much of my college French literature was in anthologies—I understood little, remember little, and still find the excerpted editions frustrating! Alas, I do not know if such a book exists. I think I must give up and select instead Volume 1 of Sebastien Japrisot’s collected works. He wrote A Very Long Engagement and other thrillers made into films.

Rodney Lee’s Moving toward balance: 8 weeks of yoga practice. If I’m sentenced for life at least I can perfect my yoga practice (lots of time to do it in!) and this text has sample practices to follow (because I’m still a beginner). I’ve checked it out from the library, but didn’t get to much of it.

Eudora Welty—a complete works edition would make me so happy. But I have to choose between Complete Novels and Collected Stories. I think I’ll take the novels, but I’ll miss Stella Rondo, the petrified man and Lilly Daw.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman. If I can’t watch the movie, I can read it outloud to myself and do the voices.

Jason: Okay here goes my selections and yes you all do smell, horribly bad, like sheepherders or something. Anyway on with my Top 5 books:

Drum Roll Please......dadadadadadada
dadadadadadadadadada (okay I am tired of typing da)

1. The Princess Bride (how could you not take a book that includes Pirates, sword-fighting, giants, a six-fingered man, and true love!?)

2. Worst-Case Scenario - I am not creative enough on my own to think of answers to these problems so I am taking a cheat-book

3. Walden by Thoreau - If I am going to live in seclusion away from everyone else why not have a book that talks all about someone else doing the same thing and stealing ideas from it (plus when I am rescued I can then write my own book with a little help from my friend!)

4. Biggest Book of Grilling - so I can know how to cook my fish and fruit and other things in like 400 different ways (never grow tired of eating the same thing again and again). Plus there are really nice pictures in there and should it come to it, I can always use the pages as excellent ways to start fires (416 pages!!!!).

5. The Big Book of Sudoku (not sure it really exists but there must be something out there along this lines) - for those days when I get bored and laying in a hammock between two coconut trees just is not fulfilling anymore. Also to take my mind off the fact that I am trapped on a deserted island all by myself.

There you go my Top 5 list. Hope you enjoyed this Top 5 list brought to you by the wonderful folks of Bazooka Joe gum. Gum the entire family can enjoy and nobody provides better comics and jokes then the folks at Bazooka Joe!

And that's this weeks edition of the Top Five! Sorry for the formatting errors, but I left most of the answers as is.

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