Monday, September 24, 2012

Five desert island books

Short post this week from me.

I posted on Facebook a few weeks ago that Drive by James Sallis could possibly be a desert island book for me. Patti Abbott responded that Drive was too short. This brief exchange got me thinking about desert island books. Or to think of it another way if I could only read five books for the rest of my life what would they be? What qualities would they share?

Re-readability would be the be the obvious #1 quality. So I limited my list to books that I've actually read more then once. I think the trap that some fall into when making a desert island list is that they name books that they want to read. But I'd rather stick with known quantities.

In her response Patti suggested that a desert island book needed to be long. While I don't think has to be true all five of my selections are longer books. There is a dense and sometimes complex quality to each of these books. They all feature great characters.

So here, in brief, are my desert island books (as of right now any way).

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchel
The Death of the Detective by Mark Smith
Last Call by Tim Powers
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Set This House in Order by Matt Ruff

(Also, I've read Drive five time since it has been released so yes, Drive really could be a desert island book for me. I've even mapped out the internal chronology of Drivers life in Drive because I'm that much of a Drive geek.)

So how about you? What are your five desert island books? What makes a desert island book?

Current Read: The Last Final Girl by Stephen Graham Jones
Current Listen: The new Avett Brothers


RonKo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RonKo said...

Haven't read DEATH OF THE DETECTIVE since it was first published. Thanks for including it.

September 24, 2012 8:08 AM

Steve Weddle said...

MD is a good choice.

In addition to the Oxford Bible, of course, I'd have to have LUCKY JIM from Kingsley Amis.

I'd also want a good collection of short stories I could jump into and out of -- Ann Beattie or Raymond Carver or David Means, maybe. Or a BEST MYSTERY STORIES from OPenzler or a BEST SHORT STORIES from some year.