Whether it’s a doctor’s office waiting room or a two-hour-long blizzard-induced traffic jam, we’ve all been stuck somewhere. That’s why most purses I own are big enough to hold whatever book I’m currently reading.* At least when we’re physically delayed or detained, our imagination can still fly free.
What if you were stuck somewhere for months—or years? Stranded on a desert island, no phone or other tech to call for help, just basic survival necessities. AND five books. (Yes, you can argue that counts as a necessity!) Which five books would you want to have with you? . . . Aside from How to Get the Heck Off a Desert Island by Sandy O’Shipwreck! ;)
Here are our answers:
Jeannie would pick The Count of Monte Cristo, Treasure Island, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Robinson Crusoe, and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. You can tell she has an ironic sense of humor and is determined to make the best of every situation.
Deborah chooses: a very complete German-English dictionary, including idioms; the German translation of the first sequel to Chasers of the Wind by Alexey Pehov; Lilli Thal’s Die Puppenspieler von Flore; Walter Moer’s Prinzessin Insomnia & der alptraumfarbene Nachtmahr; and an immensely thick lined notebook with a built-in mechanical pencil and masses of replacement graphite. That should keep away boredom for a few years, and learning German will open up new pathways to excellent books when she escapes.
Ali wants to have The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede; Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk; The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes; a book about making threads, fibers, and weaving; and a wilderness survival guide. An eclectic variety that is sure to be both practical and entertaining!
I took the longest to decide, because really only five? I guess I’d pick:
1) The Lord of the Rings trilogy in one volume, since it’s long and classic and beloved and I’ve been meaning to reread it. (I also have Shakespeare: The Complete Works, and the Chronicles of Narnia and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy one-volume collections . . . but that’s too much cheating.)
2) Something hilarious to keep up my spirits. Okay, please let me cheat just one more time and bring the collection of Hitchhiker’s books! And, of course, a towel.
Then I’d want to move on to books I haven’t yet read, starting with:
3) An English translation of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, which, sadly, I was never assigned to read in school.
4) A quality translation of The Tale of Genji. (Didn’t want one of the five to be a dictionary! Although I would love to have time to learn to read and write Japanese.)
And, lastly, I should include something nonfiction. I don’t think it’s fair to make me waste one on a wilderness survival guide; let’s assume that’s book 6 that someone left behind for me! Hey, if Aladdin can trick the genie . . .
5) A book that would teach me a skill, something else to occupy my time aside from reading. Assuming I’m alone—I don’t think I’d learn a language alone because I wouldn’t be motivated without someone to talk to and practice with. Or perhaps I’d copy Deborah’s last one and bring a huge notebook so I could write as well as read. I think I’d go crazy without being able to express myself on paper for months/years.
Tell us in the comments what books you’d pick and why!
* Yes, I have the Kindle app on my phone, but it’s just not the same. Good backup, though.
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