A Classic Question

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If you were stranded on a deserted island, what five books would you have, and why?  Never mind about food, shelter, weapons, or even “how to” books. Banish those logical thoughts from your mind. Tell me what books so speak to your soul that you would be content to read only those precious five for the rest of your conceivable life.

I personally own a great many books. If you asked me to give them all away but five, I would ask you to take a long walk off a short precipice. Nevertheless, for hypothetical purposes, here are my five picks:

1) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë 

Unrequited love, unrelenting hate, revenge, and characters that give you all the feels are a few reasons why I read this book at least twice a year. It makes me feel sad in a way that makes me feel happy; if you understand what I mean, come over with a cup of tea sometime and we’ll read it together. If you don’t understand, just read this quote from one of the main characters, Heathcliff, who is longing for his dead love:

” …Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!'”

I get goosebumps every time.

2) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is probably a book you had to read in school. Did you skim it and just watch the movie? Shame. This book is about a small southern town with all its hopes and predjudices  as seen through the eyes of a young girl who worships her father and tolerates her brother.  At the age of 14, I knew I would name my first-born son Atticus Finch (insert last name here). That never happened, but my love for this book is just as strong as it was then. Incidentally, I actually do love the movie almost as much as the book; a rare opinion from me. I like Go Set a Watchman as well, though as an extended look into Scout’s life rather than a stand alone book.

3) Tisha as told to Robert Specht by Anne Purdy

A young woman goes into the Alaskan wilderness in the 1920’s to teach children in a remote mining village. She tries to teach some Indian children along side the white children, but encounters suspicion and resistance from the villagers that builds into aggression when she starts dating a man who is only half white. The best part? It’s a true story. I have bought every copy I have come across so I have extras to give away. The copy I keep my mother gave me, and I read it about once a year.

4) And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Written by the Queen of Mystery, this book follows a group of people-each hiding a dark secret-that come together on a strange island. One by one, they are murdered, and their deaths are eerily similar to the lyrics of a children’s nursery rhyme. Who is killing them, and why? The movie (1945) is fun to watch, but they ruin the ending. Read the book!

5) The Magic of Oz by L. Frank Baum

I’m consistently surprised by the large number of people who do not realize just how many books are in The Wizard of Oz series. You are certainly familiar with Dorothy, the Wizard, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow. Perhaps even Princess Ozma. This book has a wicked Nome king, a Munchkin magician, Li-Mon-Eags, a magical island, and a plot to invade the beloved Emerald City. A fairy tale at its finest.

This list might change tomorrow. Maybe I’ll find a new favorite, or remember an old one. Maybe next week I’ll be in the mood for some sci-fi or a good western. The beauty and the brilliance of books is that, no matter how much you change, they will always be there to read again, and again. And again. What else is there to do on a deserted island?

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