Desert Island Books

Desert Island Books

Our final castaways for 2018 will be familiar to our regular visitors because they all spend time on our help desks.

Spending all day surrounded by books makes picking just 5 extremely difficult. This explains why some castaways are sneaky with their choices. As usual each of our castaways has been given a virtual copy of the SAS Survival Guide and asked to choose just five books to keep them company. Here are their choices:

Lee - Lending Services Supervisor

Complete Works of Shakespeare 
On the BBC’s Desert Island Discs they always give you the Collected Works of Shakespeare and the Bible. Both seem sensible in terms of depth and length, and when I’m rescued I’ll be able to understand every Shakespearean and religious reference I ever see.

Plenty. Yotam Ottolenghi
Gotta eat well! So Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty would be amazing. Also, it has a soft pouchy cover so could also be used as a pillow.

Times Literary Supplement
A subscription to the LA Review of Books or Times Literary Supplement, delivered within the week of the publication date. I mean, COME ON I can’t be completely out of the cultural loop, no matter how away I am cast.

Te Ao Hou New World 1820-1920. Judith Binney, Vincent O'Malley and Alan Ward
A much-acclaimed series of books from BWB. Would help me better understand the particular events, forces and results of European colonization of NZ and the resulting near-complete loss of sovereignty by Māori.

One-way Street and Other Writings. Walter Benjamin
I wanted to take a book of art but to choose one book would be too limiting. So, like the Shakespeare and the Bible, reading Benjamin would transform my understanding of art and culture, both on the island and on my return. Also, when other than on a desert island would one ever read these literary behemoths?!

This is all so earnest so I might sneak some Dorothy Parker or David Sedaris or similar with me.

Maureen - Senior Library Assistant

The Other Woman. Daniel Silva
Part of a series with Intelligence Office Gabriel Allon. Fast paced, current, and suspenseful. The story takes you to many places in the world so an atlas would be essential as well on the desert island so I can check out the places mentioned.

Under the Influence. Joyce Maynard
An author I have just discovered – this story is about the true meaning of friendship. A story for our time and one that makes you think about what is important in life.

A Heart Divided: The Life of Daisy, Countess of Warwick.  Sushila Anand
I had been reading about the women in the life of Edward Prince of Wales, and Daisy’s name was amongst them. The Countess of Warwick sounded like such a likeable, formidable character that I wanted to know more about her. I’m sure I could read the book again on my desert island and still discover interesting details about her life.

A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer the World’s Oldest Holocaust Survivor. Caroline Stoessinger
It’s very uplifting reading about the life of this woman, as despite all the deprivations of war, enduring a concentration camp, and losing many loved ones to the Nazis, Alice Herz-Sommer displays no bitterness and is determined to bring good to the world.

So, if I’m feeling a bit brassed off with life on the desert island I would open this book and count my blessings!

This Mortal Boy. Fiona Kidman
Based on a true story, Fiona Kidman captures life in 1950s New Zealand. Albert Black, known as the ‘Jukebox killer” was convicted of murder in July 1955. A moral panic ensued in the country, and a perceived decline in traditional values prompted a government investigation into moral delinquency.

A compelling glimpse into our recent history.

Manu - Library Assistant

Poetic Edda. Snorri Sturluson
The corpus of Old Norse/Icelandic poetry - funny, moving and very human.

One Hundred Years of Solitude. Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
A book on what it means to be South American in the early 20th century. Needs to be read several times so will keep me occupied.

Pillars of the Earth. Ken Follett 
Actually not my favourite book in the trilogy (Winter of the World is better), this is still a highly emotional read for me. Will appeal to anyone with an interest in post-Conquest England and/or religious architecture.

The Odyssey. Homer 
One of the greatest stories ever told - will help with feelings of isolation and hopelessness.

The Feast of the Goat. Mario Vargas Llosa
Set in the Dominican Republic under General Trujillo in the middle of the 19th century. Beautifully written, an insight into what life was like under a "benevolent dictator."