Great Books Week 2010- Friday’s Topic
If you were stranded alone on a deserted island, what five books would you want?
When I mistakenly posted on this topic earlier in the week ( it was a topic on last years’ list as well) we were given the choice of seven books. That was hard enough. I was forced to invoke the “house on fire rule” even then. Okay, I confess, this is a rule of my own invention, but is easily understood. It goes like this: The house is on fire- every living thing is safe, and you’ve safeguarded everything else of sentimental value, including a pile of books that could sustain you if access to all the other books in the world disappeared ( like on a deserted island). As you flee with your precious bundle, you spy a stack of books that you put aside just in case you had the time/room/etc… to grab some or at least one. That pile is your last chance pick.
I realize that if your house was actually on fire you wouldn’t have that kind of opportunity to organize and prioritize. You would be fleeing with consideration for nothing more than your loved ones and your skin, but the “house on fire rule is what I ended up calling it and now we’re stuck with it.
Now that I’ve explained my rather convoluted process for choosing my ‘deserted island reading list’, I will shamelessly copy my list from earlier this week- with a few alterations…
My List of Five ‘Stranded on a Deserted Island Books’ :
It by Stephen King – Of all of Stephen King’s books, this has always been my favorite. Not The Stand or The Shining as many King fans say, but It. I’ve been a fan of his for a few decades, and I’ve noticed- that with the exception of The Green Mile– the King books I like best center around his writing about kids. I love this one because it’s not just your standard horror story. It taps into our basic childhood fears… the ones we never entirely leave behind. It is also a great story of misfits and loyalty and honor and keeping a solemn vow… no matter how much it scares you. I’ve read this one a dozen times over and it still gets me.
South of Broad by Pat Conroy- I was never a huge fan of Pat Conroy. Some of his books I liked, others… no so much. This one, I really loved. The characters were beautifully drawn and incredibly diverse, but it was the central character- Leo , that really made me fall in love with this story. Of course, the other central character of the book is Charleston itself and there is no one who reveals this beautiful and complicated city better.
The Winner by David Baldacci- This book ( his third) was my first introduction to Baldacci- who is from my hometown. It remains my favorite of all his books. It taps into all those elemental emotions; greed, desperation, power, honor, and it makes you ask yourself what you would do if you were given the choice LuAnne was given. It’s a great ride and a wonderful read.
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman- One of the best books I have ever read- especially by a debut author. This is a breathtakingly poignant story of a twelve year old girl who has spent the majority of her life caring for and coping with a mother who is largely absent from reality and a father is just mostly absent. When her mother dies in a tragic accident, her father sends CeeCee to live with her aunt in Savannah. While CeeCee sees this anything but good, it turns out to be her saving grace. CeeCee goes from being virtually motherless to being surrounded by mothering figures. She transforms from a shy, ostracized child to a caring and courageous friend. Set in Savannah of the sixties, we see the changing times and attitudes through this wonderful girls wondering eyes. When you get to the end, you want to start the journey all over again.
Okay, I confess- I couldn’t decide. There are just too many books I love. Plus, there’s always that one book you’re dying to read that hasn’t come out yet. So, I’m going to go with the house on fire rule and mention a few that made the short list, but I couldn’t decide on for the really short list of five. For those not familiar with the house on fire rule, it goes like this: It’s the very last thing you grab as you run out the door. That last grab could include any of the following:
- A Good Man by Larry Baker
- Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- The Tiger’s Woman by Celeste de Blasis
- Any of the 10 Sookie Stackhouse Novels by Charlaine Harris ( especially the one coming out next year)
- Any of the Montgomery novels by Jude Deveraux ( especially Saving Grace or The Raider)
- Any book by Molly Ivans, who spoke truth to power and made you laugh while she did it.
- Nine Lives by Dan Baum ( because it’s on my list of “really want to read” books
That just about sums it up. I could go on longer. Much, much longer, but you get the general idea. Now… let’s hear your list!
I would like to thank the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors for hosting this blog challenge and creating such interesting and thought provoking topics. I’m looking forward to next years’ topics for Great Books Week. Just one request… please don’t shorten the deserted island reading list any more. I don’t think my powers of indecision can handle it.
Background: In honor of Great Books Week, a holiday that is celebrated annually the first full week in October, Excellence in Literature and the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) is hosting a Blog Challenge with a specific daily topic Monday through Friday.