Top 10: Desert Island Books

Being stranded on a desert island I’d definitely want to have a few of my all-time faves with me. But given that I’d presumably have a bit of time on my hands, it seems like it would be a good time to tackle a few of those books I’ve always wanted to read but somehow never got round to.

1. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

I bought this after loving both Until I Find You and A Widow for One Year. But it always seemed a bit daunting with its 600-odd pages and has somehow never squirmed its way to the top of my to-read pile.

2. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I gave this a go once and got discouraged about 100 pages in by all the characters’ names sounding the same. But I’ve always meant to return to it.

3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I can count the number of Russian books I’ve read on one… finger. I’m a bit ashamed by my neglect of the Russian masters. This book clocks in at almost 1000 pages so it might stop me from going crazy, talking to a basketball like Tom Hanks in Castaway.

4. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

We read this for my book club and it was a universal smash. I knew as soon as I read it that it was a book I could re-read over and over.

5. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

I pretty much worship at Franzen’s altar if you want to know the truth. Aside from the pleasure (and discomfort) of becoming absorbed into the world of one of his books, I feel like I can learn so much about writing by reading him.

6. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

This novel is so dense and bizarre; each read yields new mysteries and surprises.


7. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

My most re-read book ever. I never tire of the prose, or the story, or the wonderful characters.


8. Mara and Dann by Doris Lessing

I found this book in a remainders bin, which is a crying shame, because it is a brilliant and timeless adventure story which I have enjoyed many times.

9. Dune by Frank Herbert

This sci-fi epic is incredibly dense and complex; I’d love to get to know it well enough to understand all the nuances of the relationship between House Atreides and House Harkonnen. Muad’Dib!

10. In Full View by Lily Brett

My brother bought this book for my mum and when she brought it with her on our family holiday all three of us were reading it simultaneously. The minute one person put it down another would pick it up. Brett’s essays on topics such as ageing, food, death and love are insightful, revealing, moving, funny, tragic and hugely relatable.

So I guess I’m set. When’s the shipwreck scheduled? What about you; what books couldn’t you live without on a desert island?

You might also like: Top 10 Books that Should Never Be Forgotten.

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Top 10 Tuesday  Desert Island Books   ANNABEL SMITH

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