If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five books would you want to have on the island with you?
Keep in mind that the words in these books may have to sustain you for the rest of your life. You'd want a variety of genres to stave off boredom as long as possible, and meaningful themes or topics that you could contemplate during your long hours sweating in the sun. You may also want the books to contain some humor or uplifting poetry to keep your spirits alive while you are subsisting on grubs and possibly conversing with painted volleyballs.
Here are my five books, and why I chose them:
1. The Complete Works of Shakespeare by William Shakespeare. This one should be obvious. It's incredibly long and diverse. I could spend days, even weeks, acting out the parts in all of the plays. I'm sure I would find great relief in pretending to be Puck making mischief in my own wilderness, or Ophelia contemplating death via a convenient body of water. In addition, the beauty of the sonnets would surely provide solace, and I could devote time to memorizing them, so that if I ever got off the island, I could impress people at parties.
2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. This was the book that was the tipping point to my love of reading, and I return to it every couple of years. I don't think I'd want to live in a world without easy access to Anne's sunny optimism, Marilla's sarcasm, Matthew's quiet love, and Gilbert's steadfast faithfulness.
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. Just like with Anne, I wouldn't want to live in a world without Harry, Hermione and Ron. I could read about their adventures over and over again, and never be tired of them. If I could, I'd take the whole series, but I think that would be cheating, so I'll choose Rowling's masterpiece, the ultimate climactic work in the world of book series.
4. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I debated about this one, because it's much shorter than the rest, and is a very fast read. But I wouldn't want to leave my favorite mystery behind. It's suspenseful and powerful, and has the added drama of actually taking place on an island. Fortunately, since my island is deserted, it's pretty unlikely that I'll be the last of ten killed. Unless I start hallucinating. Hmm.
5. For my last book, I'd choose either Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, or The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. While these books are complete opposites in the literary sense, they would both serve the purpose of buffeting my senses of perseverance, motivation, and self-worth. Perhaps they would even spur me on to creating a device to get me off the island. The Fountainhead would have the additional merit of reminding me of the worthless, unintelligent peons I left behind. I might even go so far as to be grateful for my exile.
I'm quite pleased with this list. I think I've managed to capture the variety, meaning, humor and poetry required to satisfy my reading needs on this mythical island. I've even made sure that at least two of the books are quite hefty, and could be used not only for entertainment, but also for throwing at the heads of my prey.
What are your five desert island books?