What Would You Pick for Desert Island Books?


May 15, 2012

desert island books

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We recently asked you “What book would you take to a Desert Island?” Thanks for all the feedback and comments – here are your Top Ten Choices (in no particular order). Here’s the list of recommended novels that you would pick for desert island books:

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Anna Karenina

anna karenina

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is the story of the sensual, rebellious Anna who renounces a respectable yet stifling marriage for an affair that offers passion even as it ensnares her for destruction.

Her story contrasts with that of Levin, a young, self- doubting agnostic who takes a different path to fulfillment.

“Hopefully I’d be there long enough to savour it!”

I am David

i am davidI am David by Anne Holm. David’s entire twelve-year life has been spent in a grisly prison camp in Eastern Europe.

He knows nothing of the outside world.

But when he is given the chance to escape, he seizes it.

“I loved that book”

Life, a User’s Manual

life a user's manualLife a User’s Manual by Georges Perec. Perec’s spellbinding puzzle begins in an apartment block in the XVIIth arrondissement of Paris and chapter by chapter, room by room, it’s like an onion being peeled.

With an extraordinary rich cast of characters this book reveals a series of tales that are bizarre, unlikely, moving, funny, or (sometimes) quite ordinary.

“Guaranteed to keep you entertained on a desert island”

The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – Barcelona, 1945—Just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes one day to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face.

“What a writer! It’s like a modern fairytale. The funny thing is that everybody else I recommend this book to, falls in love with it as well …”

Sophie’s World

sophie's worldSophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder – One day when Sophie comes home from school, she finds two questions in her mail: Who are you? and Where does the world come from?

Before she knows it, she is pondering all the great questions of Western Philosophy (from the Greeks to Kant, to Marx and Freud) with a mysterious mentor.

“It’s my all time favourite novel. Failing that I’d bring any book by Jodi Picoult and any of the well known thriller writers.”

the beachThe Beach

The Beach by Alex Garland – After discovering a seemingly Edenic paradise on an island in a Thai national park, Richard soon finds that since civilized behavior tends to dissolve without external restraints, the utopia is hard to maintain.

“To give me inspiration and motivation on a desert island!”

The Poisonwood Bible

the poisonwood bibleThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver The year is 1959 and the place is the Belgian Congo. Nathan, a Baptist preacher, has come to spread the Word in a remote village reachable only by airplane.

The story of the family dealing with their sojourn in Africa is fascinating.

“I loved the feel of the heat of the place”

You might also enjoy 14 Great Romance Novels You’ll Adore

The Red Tent

the red tentThe Red Tent by Anita Diamant – Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons.

Told in Dinah’s voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood–the world of the red tent.

“One of the few books I’ve re-read.”

To Kill a Mockingbird

to kill a mockingbirdTo Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is the unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it.

To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960.

“I love every word of To Kill a Mockingbird. I love Scout, Jem, Atticus, and even Boo”


ulysses by james joyceUlysses by James Joyce –  Ulysses chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin, during an ordinary day, June 16th 1904. Based on the hero of Homer’s epic poem Odyssey, the novel establishes a series of parallels between the poem and the novel, with structural correspondences between the characters and experiences of Leopold Bloom and Odysseus, Molly Bloom and Penelope, Stephen Dedalus and Telemachus, as well as examining Ireland’s relationship to Britain.

“I take it my kids are not on the desert island with me – so there’s no distractions. It needs to be done!!”

And for the sensible and practical amongst you… “How to Survive on a Deserted Island” by Tim O’Shei

Happy Reading on your desert island!

What book would you bring if you were marooned on a desert island? Tell us in the comment box below.

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Published On: May 15th, 2012 / Categories: Lifestyle / Last Updated: January 12th, 2022 / Tags: /

About the Author: jenniferb

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Jennifer, has 1 son and admits to munching a Cadbury’s Turkish Delight now and again.

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