Saturday, March 14, 2009

Weekend 3-Way: Desert Island Books

So here I am packing up my belongings for the third time in one year, getting ready for yet another move.

I stand in front of my bookcase, again, trying to thin it out. Which books can I pass on? Which can't I stand to part with?

This exercise has got me wondering which books you would take with you. If you were only allowed to bring three books with you to a new life, to the cliched desert island, which three would they be?

Two of my three currently sit side by side on the second shelf of my bookcase, they're Hummingbird House by Patricia Henley and In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. The third choice is a little harder. It's a toss up between Harriet Doer's Stones for Ibarra, and Don Miguel Ruiz's The Mastery of Love. Hmmmm.....I know we're only allowed three....I guess I'll grab The Mastery of Love, because I can always use some ancient Toltec wisdom.

What to do, what to do? Books I've not yet read, for the thrill and mystery of opening that first page? But what if it turns out to be, well, not one of my three favorite books? It’s got to be something I can reread, over and over. For that reason, I’m going to choose 3 of my favorite fat books. Big fat ones that take a long time to read. And then reread.

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry

I may change my mind on further thought, though. I reserve the right to amend my choices in the comments section.


A desert island sounds really nice, assuming I’d have basic necessities like a bed and a blender and a toilet. But just three books, ach. The stress. I’d really like to cheat and bring a few anthologies, or better yet – one of those ebooks Oprah’s so fond of! Like Ellie suggested, I’d surely go for tried and true. Books I can read over and over and find new levels of interest. I also reserve the right to change my mind right up until the moment of departure. I’ll start with:

The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Now let me publish this so I can get busy with my runners up in the comments.

What would you bring?


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Okay, wait, I may have to change my mind already, after reading your books Jacquie. I almost chose The History of Love because I think I could probably get new meaning out of that book every time I read it, for eternity. It's one of those books that you *have* to start rereading the moment you finish it.

I really really love your other choices, too. Your 3 books are in my lifetime Top 10. I was vacillating between Lonesome Dove and The House of the Spirits on my list.

Beth, I've read (and loved) your first 2 books -- I do believe I read them both on your recommendation. I read Stones for Ibarra (and liked it, but it would not make it to the Tiki Bar Island); I'll have to check out the other one.

This is *so* much funner than trying to figure out how to depreciate my Fort Davis house.


Anonymous said...

Now, you said "books" not novels, so as an English teacher I will take that literally and think that perhaps they won't all be fiction. So today I'll take:
Norton's Anthology of Poetry (it's a desert island dammit! short verse is appropriate between life saving tasks)
McCarthy's Blood Meridian because I'm depraved and I love the Southwest.
Some large coffee table book about hip urban architecture so I have something totally different to look at, can use as a food tray, shade, or as a cutting board.

Thus speaks the youngest Cronin!

Anonymous said...

the youngest Cronin respeaks! I take back McCarthy. After realizing that I would probably get depressed on the island, I decided McCarthy would suck. I need something of wonder and hope with a childlike mythic quality but still well written. so I take Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale, which evokes images of snow and cities, so lacking on my desert island.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Well, hey there youngest Cronin! *So* nice to hear from you.

I like your well-thought-out choices. Maybe one ought to bring the unabridged OED -- to use as a weight to hold down the canopy of trees, as a building block for a hut, or as a weapon to kill young animals for food.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Yeah, if I have to read poetry I'm not going. I'd rather build sand castles.

Me, You, or Ellie said...


The Stand
Bel Canto


Kat said...

Oh, that is like asking me to decide which one of my children I would take!

XUP said...

Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. I worked on that for grad school and I think I could read it a thousand times and never completely understand it.

Middle Aged Woman said...

Lonesome Dove
The Stand
The Lord of the Rings (which now comes in one BIG volume)