Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Your ten desert island books?

No collections count. Single volume books only. I have read only three of these so their reputation precedes them.


Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry
Selected Stories of Alice Munro
The Bible
Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace
Middlemarch, George Elliott
The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins
Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Edgar Allen Poe
A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
A Secret History, Donna Tartt

24 comments:

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

MIDDLEMARCH is one of those books I've never read but always mean to. I love LONESOME DOVE but overall, I'd find it hard to narrow down a list to 10 books.

Deb said...

I'd have to choose books from writers that I know I like but still haven't read everything they wrote (Trollope, Balzac, Zola); and I'd try to FINALLY read Remembrance of Things Past (would that count as one book or seven?).

pattinase (abbott) said...

length was a big factor.

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, this is an interesting question, Patti. I must say, though, that I don't think I could choose just ten. Hmmmmm....

Richard R. said...

I've been thinking about this all morning, and can't come up with a list without some collections (such as The Complete Sherlock Holmes - 56 stories and 4 novels). I'll keep thinking.

pattinase (abbott) said...

You just have this one bag. A guy with a gun says fill it fast.

Walker Martin said...

Speaking of book bags, Somerset Maugham wrote a story called "The Book-Bag". Maugham traveled a lot and would fill a large duffle bag full of books, often dumping them on the floor of his room and picking out something to read. He said reading was like a vice or a drug that he had to have.

If I had to pick 10 novels, I'd pick long ones that are my favorites like WAR AND PEACE, MOBY DICK, DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME(I'm cheating on this as it's 12 novels that make up one gigantic novel). Short novels wouldn't last long.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Somerset Maugham keeps turning up in my life lately. Odd how that happens. Yes, long ones are the key.

Todd Mason said...

Of course, Patti, you Poe collection and THE BIBLE are collections. Or did you mean George couldn't bring his complete Wodehouse?

Todd Mason said...

Patti, as the song lyric notes, Baby, the RAIN (by Maugham) must fall...

Ten books that somehow omit anthologies and multivolume sets:

Avram Davidson, THE ENQUIRIES OF DOCTOR ESZTERHAZY
Jorge Luis Borges, THE ALEPH AND OTHER STORIES 1933-1969
Joanna Russ, THE FEMALE MAN
Fritz Leiber, THE SECRET SONGS
Kate Wilhelm, DEATH QUALIFIED
Italo Calvino, ITALIAN FOLKTALES
Harlan Ellison et al.,PARTNERS IN WONDER
Collections of Dorothy Parker, Theodore Sturgeon, and Jane Yolen or Damon Knight or John Simon or Muriel Spark are likely.

Todd Mason said...

Wallace somewhat overrated. Tartt vastly so by some. Both better than, say, William Vollmann, but not enough.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am looking for long books I have not read. I am not a rereader. I am betting you have read all of the books on your list. Wouldn't you rather try something new?

Barry Ergang said...

If you haven't read it, Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a long book I can recommend. John Gardner's The Sunlight Dialogues was good, too.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Been such a long time since I heardbGardner's name.

Todd Mason said...

Well, if I can only take ten books to the desert island, forced at gunpoint, that would be exactly when I would probably want some sure things that seem rich enough in memory to be worth rereading. To be stranded on an island with only my ten books, presumably, as companions would be pretty dire...to have one of those books be as shallow as Tartt's THE SECRET HISTORY or as devoted to celebration of the author's ability to chew on his hangnails as INFINITE JEST would be just that much more dire. It would be pretty sad even if one or two of those books were misfires by good to brilliant writers...say, THE WANDERER by Fritz Leiber or his THE SILVER EGGHEADS (a flawed attempt at panorama and a slight satire) or several of the novels by Davidson or Knight, when they were not quite willing to invest in the work to the same degree as they did to their brilliant shorter work (Davidson would produce perhaps two or three fully successful novels, Knight eventually started getting serious about novels, or realized how to do so, only by the end of his career with his last several).

Yvette said...

I second THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND KLAY - SO wonderful.



Richard R. said...

So, no collections means no short stories, since any book of short stories is by definition a "collection"? I have a partial list, but want to include a single volume collection of short stories. Clarify, please?

Todd Mason said...

Patti has two collections and the anthology that is THE BIBLE on her list, Rick...

Todd Mason said...

I've yet to read a Chabon I like better than his brilliant S. Holmes during WW2 novella, THE FINAL SOLUTION, but I like that one a lot. i bought a remainder of his TELEGRAPH AVENUE the other week.

Richard R. said...

You're right, Todd. Okay, I
ll get back to my list.

Richard R. said...

SHOGUN - Clavell
THE WHITE DRAGON - McCaffrey
THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES - Doyle
ISLANDS IN THE STREAM - Hemingway
THE ODDESSY - Homer
DANCE HALL OF THE DEAD - Hillerman
COLLECTED STORIES - Chandler
THE COMPLETE CALVIN AND HOBBS - Watterston
THE BLACK LIZARD BIG BOOK OF BLACK MASK STORIES
DUNE - Harrison

pattinase (abbott) said...

Good list!

Richard S. Wheeler said...

Forever Amber. I found it on my parents' bookshelf about 1949, and later took it to a boy scout camp where I got into trouble reading it by flashlight.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I remember reading it too. it was deliciously wicked!