A while back, my uncle challenged the family to create their own list of books we would take with us if we were to live on a desert island for the rest of our lives. The rules were, you could name only 10 fiction books, and you couldn’t list anthologies (believe me, it crossed my mind and I had to double-check the rules).
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Oddly enough, I found this challenge more difficult than expected. There were books I wanted to choose, but didn’t make the cut when I thought about having to read them over and over again, even though they still sit on my shelf today. The challenge made me realize that I have a lot of books that I really like, but not that many that I love. Here’s the list, for now:
#1 Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter was the first book I thought of, and then I took it off the list, and then I put it back on. This book has huge sentimental value to me – it feels like the book of my generation. Even if I had more room on my list, I know I wouldn’t bring all seven books with me (I’m sorry, don’t hate me!!). But The Philosopher’s Stone has the initial magic that we all love, so I think it would do the trick.
#2 Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
This book showed up in my Christmas stocking when I was 14 years old. I was extremely overjoyed to learn that it was the first of a series and promptly bought the remaining books. It tells the story of a group of Australian teenagers who, after camping deep in the bush, return home to learn that the country has been taken over by a foreign army. Throughout the series, the teens do their best to survive, avoid capture, and take part in some guerrilla warfare. It’s full of action, character development, and hard questions about life.
#3 The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
This is a book from my childhood. I’ve read it over and over and, although it’s now an easy read for me, I remember every time why I love it. It tells the story of the quiet sister having to become the hero her loud sister would have been, had she not become sick.
#4 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
At first, I didn’t think I would want to bring Little Women on my hypothetical forever-trip, but then I remembered the whirl-wind of emotions it brought on and how well-written it is and I changed my mind. Little Women may be long and not have a whole lot of plot, but it has a whole lot of learning and living and fascination and fantasy that just makes for an entertaining read.
#5 People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Another book I read as part of my degree, and I loved every moment! This book is about a woman restoring a book that has gone on an incredible journey throughout history. The narration introduces the reader to different times, different cultures, different historical events, and also provides a glimpse into book restoration. Great for history and book nerds.
#6-9 The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamara Pierce
If I were allowed more than 10 books, I’m confident there would be more Pierce books on this list. The fact that I’m allowing for an entire quartet is revealing. This is a fantasy series that follows a girl who has to pretend to be a boy in order to become a knight. I remember borrowing the books from my best friend in grade nine before purchasing them myself (in exchange I would let her borrow my Protector of The Small Quartet, also by Pierce).
#10 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
This was a no-brainer. I loved this book. The title character is ahead of her time, demanding independence, freedom and respect. She is so unlike any other Victorian female character you read about. The book covers subjects such as faith, love, and the fantastical, which makes it still relevant today. This is not a Jane Austen novel. It’s so much more than that.
What books would you bring with you to your desert island home?