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Desert Island Books

Today’s World Book Day. One of the events is to give away a million books. I was a bit disappointed by this for two reasons:

the cost of printing a million books could arguably be better spent campaigning to stop library closures

the books are selected by a panel, not by the public – which seems a shame, I think it’d be better if people chose their favourite book

Having said that, I love reading and anything like this is really positive.

I like Nicola Morgan’s idea. She suggests, as an extra to the day, that we each go to our local bookshop and buy a book to give away. I think that’s a great idea.

It got me to thinking about my top ten favourite books that I’d really want to share (in no particular order). Here, then, are my desert island books.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
for its inspirational tale of a plain, ordinary woman who lives – for good and bad – strictly by her principles and falls for an irascible elder man with a lot of baggage

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
for its, erm, inspirational tale of a plain, ordinary woman who lives – for good and bad – strictly by her principles and falls for an irascible elder man with a lot of baggage
(enough of that theme…)

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
If ever you want a book to give a bit of perspective to your life, this is it. An incredible autobiography of a mountaineer who is injured after falling. His partner, attached to Joe by a rope, mistakenly thinks that he’s dead and cuts him off. He falls, survives… It’s no secret he gets out of his predicament, because he’s – well, written a book about it. But you’ll still think he can’t possibly survive.

Rivals by Jilly Cooper
This might not be a literary classic, but it’s funny, touching and bounces along at an energetic pace. Pure escapism.

Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens
Featuring one of the best baddies ever in Mr Carker, it centres on the tragic relationship between a proud, cold father and his modest, sweet daughter. With lots of bold, bright characters, it’s one to re-read over and over.

Somewhere Towards The End by Diana Athill
She writes about growing older with a wisdom and pragmatism that is a genuine lesson on how to live our lives.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
Very funny.

How To Be Free by Tom Hodgkinson
Stick it to the man and live a bohemian life full of care. Also, Jack Kerouac’s On The Road.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Not really as daunting as you might think. A wide-ranging and gripping love story (among other themes, as you might expect with a book that long)

Small Island by Andrea Levy
Poignant, funny. A page turner.

This is actually quite a hard exercise….!


One response »

  1. Well done for choosing ten books. I’m not sure I can do that. Some good suggestions for me as I have not read all of them. Jane Eyre and Rebecca – yes, loved both. War and Peace, I need to re-read but once I passed the first couple of chapters, couldn’t put it down. Touching the Void – have seen the film but not read the book. Great film, very tense. Have many times intended to read A Short History of Tractors … never quite got round to it but next on my list!


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