My Island Books

What 3 Books Would You Want if You Were Stranded on a Desert Isle?

The correct answer is three copies of the King James Bible. Usually this answer is thrown out and it’s asked again. Excluding the Bible I would say:

  1. Moby Dick
  2. Moby Dick
  3. The Brothers Karamazov
I’d want two copies of Moby Dick in case the first got too threadbare. I’ve read it four and a third times and I can’t get around to reading any other Melville because I feel like I should just read MD again. TBK is the only other book I’ve read that belongs in the same category as MB. Karamazov is too complex for me, but maybe hours on end on a desert isle will help me grasp it better. If I’m forced to take three different books I’d make the third St. Augustine’s City of God, because it’s funny, complex, deep and encompasses pretty much everything.
If we’re talking poetry I’d take:
  1. Canterbury Tales : Geoffrey Chaucer
  2. Commedia : Dante Aligheri
  3. Faerie Queen : Edmund Spenser
Of the moderns I’d take:
  • Complete Poems of Robert Lowell
  • Complete Poems of Robert Frost
  • Collected Poems of Robert Creeley 45-75
  • (Complete Poems of E.E. Cummings)
  • (Complete Poems of Wallace Stevens)
More than three books? What? I don’t know what you’re talking about. If Completes and Collecteds aren’t fair I’d take:
  1. For Lizzie and Harriet : Robert Lowell
  2. For Love : Robert Creeley
  3. No Thanks : E.E. Cummings
It’s impossible for me to take a single book from Frost’s works since so many of my favorites are taken from  all over. I dunno, maybe New Hampshire if I had to pick one.

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