This year’s Books Are My Bag campaign theme is Books For Your Desert Island, and we’re all being asked, what would you choose?
Pictures from my trip to Costa Rica last October, which looked exactly like a desert island should look
Because I’m an indecisive sort of person, and because I love making other people answer these kinds of questions, I asked my family which eight books they’d choose. My brother told me that I’d “only need one: ‘How To Get Off A Desert Island’. And, maybe, I guess, ‘How To Not Die On A Desert Island’.” My mum said “something really long, but also nice”. My dad said “a book of matches” and looked incredibly pleased with himself, then went on to tell me how he can make a fire without matches anyway.
I looked on Goodreads, which was full of books that I definitely wouldn’t pick. Great Expectations?! I had to do that for GCSE English and, despite trying really hard to enjoy everything I studied, I can only think that someone choosing this as one of their precious few was trying to punish themselves for getting stranded in the first place.
So that was no help. But I also struggle with picking favourites and, besides, it’s not so much about favourites as books I could stand to read, over and over, for eternity.
…except that I watched Castaway a couple of months ago and I definitely wouldn’t last as long as Tom Hanks. If I cut my hand, I would be more likely to lie down and wait for death than to press it onto a rugby ball and make it my best friend. So possibly less like “eternity” and more like “a month at most”.
Assuming I survive long enough to read them, these are the eight books I would choose to be marooned with on a desert island:
- The Selected Works Of T S Spivet, Reif Larsen
- Just So Stories, Rudyard Kipling
- Watership Down, Richard Adams
- Tipping The Velvet, Sarah Waters
- Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
- Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
- The Complete Novels Of Nancy Mitford, Nancy Mitford
- Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein