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Christy Catherine Marshall

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December 3, 2005

I read this in the Fly Lady Digest a couple of days ago:

In October, Joan [a reader] and her husband had to deal with a fire in their home. It was tough on them. Through all of this she developed a great surprise for our members. This past summer Joan asked you all to send in a list of the 25 books you would like with you if you were stranded on a desert island. We supplied her with hundreds of lists.

I went to Joan’s site and found she’s compiled over 300 lists sent in by Fly Lady readers, narrowing it down to the Top 25 Books For a Deserted Island. I thought this list might help you out if you’re doing some Christmas shopping this weekend:

1. The Bible

2. Tied for 2nd place!
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Harry Potter series

3. Tied for 3rd place!
Jane Austen’s books
Mark Twain’s books
Shakespeare’s plays
The Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

4. The next tier of books, in no particular order, includes:
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
Anne of Green Gables (Children’s Classics), by L.M. Montgomery
Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Books by Charles Dickens (The Complete Works of Charles Dickens)
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
Books by John Irving, esp. The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany

5. The third tier of books, also in no particular order:
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
Books by Roald Dahl (Roald Dahl Gift Set)
Winnie-the-Pooh, plus others by A.A. Milne
The Poetry of Robert Frost
The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?, by Rick Warren
Charlotte’s Web (Trophy Newbery), by E.B. White
Poisonwood Bible; Prodigal Summer, etc., by Barbara Kingsolver
James Herriot’s books, beginning with All Creatures Great and Small
The Secret Garden, etc. by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Hearty also-rans, with a great many votes, include:
John Steinbeck’s novels (The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, The Winter of Our Discontent)
Agatha Christie’s mysteries (Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None (Mystery Masters)v, After the Funeral )
Willa Cather’s novels Great Short Works of Willa Cather (My Antonia, Death Comes for the Archbishop, O Pioneers! )
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold
The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom
Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
The Once and Future King, by T. H. White
Cold Sassy Tree, by Olive Ann Burns
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt
The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
Watership Down, by Richard Adams
Anything by Rudyard Kipling
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by A. C. Doyle

–and many poets’ work, including Emily Dickenson, Edgar Allen Poe (short stories and poetry), Longfellow, and Tennyson.

Thanks, Joan! Her loss of books in the fire was tragic, but she’s brought blessings to us all by taking the time to compile this list. There’s plenty more to see and do on her site for those of us who love books!

So this got me thinking, What would I like to read if I were stuck on a deserted island? Let’s say I could only pick three books. Well, the first one would be the Bible. And I’m not just saying that because it sounds good. One of my life goals is to read it through every year in a different version. This year I’m reading The One Year Bible in the New Living Translation (NLT).

The second book? Well, if I were on a deserted island, I’d like to have The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, this one volume I had in college. It would be fun to act out the different parts. Especially if I were with my family or a few other people — we could pass the time waiting for our rescue by putting on plays for each other. I’m not much of an actress, but my mom is. So I guess it’s in my genes. (Mom, do NOT get any ideas…I’d do this on a deserted island, but not in front of a real audience!)

When I taught high school seniors, we studied Taming of the Shrew, and I had them read it out loud in class. We also watched Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton go at it in the film version. And Hamlet. Oh, I love Hamlet. We also read it out loud in class and watched the film version with Mel Gibson. (Didn’t mind that at all.)

Third book — I’d like to take A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. We read these poems out loud when we homeschooled using the Sonlight Curriculum. All of my kids memorized this one, and recite it when they swing:

The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside —

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown —
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down.

How about you? What three books would you take if you were stranded on a deserted island? Now, there’s a good dinner party question for you to ask someone tonight. Don’t forget to tell me about it!

P.S. Here’s a must-read article in USA Today 12/2/05: Is That Lion the King of Kings? All about Aslan, Narnia, the movie — and an awesome quote: “With Lewis, the story is the thing. You ought to read the lines first. Then you can read between them” (Bruce Edwards).

By: Heather Ivester in: Books | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)

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