A desert island reader’s dilema

I’ve been putting off posting the last couple weeks because I didn’t want to waste my first post in over a month on something that wasn’t glamourous.

But as of now there have been no affairs, sabotage or money laundering to report on and the only red carpet I’ve seen in ages is the spot on the rug where I spilled red wine. So instead I’ll write about books (Us Weekly, you can stop reading now).

The other day a young woman asked me if I was stranded on a desert island with only one book, which book would I choose. I told her that was not a question. How could anyone pick just one with absolute surety? And if they could, why on earth would they continue to read others purposelessly, knowing they’ve already found the one? And were they ready to commit to this singular piece of work, knowing that kind of statement binds them to its pages for life and demands an intimate knowledge of what’s between them, both stated on their weathered faces and insinuated in their turning? The question’s very existence was disarming, and left me no choice but to address it immediately.

After a short period of deliberation, it became clear that while I had no problem committing the rest of my life to a man I had dated less time than I had been a junior in high school, picking a single book to define as my one and only seemed quite nearly impossible.

So I picked five. This is where the marriage metphor ceases to work, FYI.

I’ve listed them for you below, in no particular order, just in case you’d like an activity to pass those post thanksgiving meal hours that completely excludes your family.  Keep in mind I have read only the tiniest fraction of the books in this world and I’m sure many of you have much more learned lists. Feel free to share them in the comments below (I’d like a little holiday reading of my own).

On Writing by Stephen King

East of Eden, John Steinbeck

The History of Love, Nicole Kraus

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer

An American Childhood,  Annie Dillard

Note: I am halfway through The Architecture of Happiness and I am 85 percent sure it will make it on the list. You’ll be the first to know if it does.

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2 Responses to A desert island reader’s dilema

  1. Michelle says:

    I recently read and reviewed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I’m glad to see it on your list! I really loved that book. The others I’m not as familiar with.

  2. Mom says:

    Maggie, really? Maybe your question should be “If I were stranded on a dessert island with a Bible and could only have one other book…” Gotcha! With much love.

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