The 7 books I'd take

If you were stranded alone a deserted island with only seven books to read over the next few years, which ones would you take?

My friend Cheryl chose some good ones. Here's are mine:

1. The Annotated Brothers Grimm. I own this book, but I've never read it. I bought it because I'm fascinated with the often blood curdling truth behind the fairy tales we grow up on. I think I'd actually sit down with it if forced to by virtue of having no other option.

2. Mosquito by Gayl Jones. I own this book, too -- it's bound with Corregidora and The Healing (making it one book). However, I've never been able to read it. Jones' style is very dense and rambling, turning just the first paragraph into mental gymnastics. I need to read this book, though, because the main character becomes heavily involved in the Mexican underground railroad. I was first exposed to Jones when I was interning at Beacon Press and helped write the Reader's Guide for The Healing, so these books (and this author) is close to my heart.

3. The Outsiders. This was one of my first favorite books and will always hold a special place in my heart. I introduced Javi to The Indian In The Cupboard series this weekend and my heart lifted because I know he's one step closer to right age for The Outsiders.

4. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. Gloria Anzaldua woke me up. Reading this book helped me understand the way I grew up and the world we live in. It also gave me a context for processing Who I Am. I like to re-read every few years to remind myself to stay grounded. I would try to find it bound with This Bridge Called My Back.

5. Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban. Animagus, father figures, werewolves ... what can I say? POA is the favorite book of the series, followed by Order of the Phoenix and then Goblet of Fire. I felt that Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows were too ... rushed? I wanted to sit in things a while longer. I will say that at the end of HBP, I had to close my book and whisper NO! just like Sebastian in the Never Ending Story. That was a weird moment for me.

6. Drown by Junot Diaz. Gritty, intense, spellbinding... I read this book around the time that I first saw Fight Club so my feelings for one are inexcoriably linked. Both bring up aggression and a seething, pulsating anger ... but they both also make me feel alive. I also loved The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, but nearly in the same way.

7. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Who doesn't love Kingsolver's books? It was really hard to choose between TPB, The Bean Trees series, and Prodigal Summer -- but I have read TPB four times already and I listened to it on audiotape three summers ago. I like to quote it and consider myself a forever a Leah and my baby sister forever a Ruth May (though she thinks she's an Adah). My older sister is definitely Rachel. Dude, I just got the urge to read it again. It's so good. If you haven't read it and you decide to, please tell me which sister you are.

Why only seven, universe? I had to leave off Bastard Out Of Carolina, The House On Mango Street, Woman Hollering Creek, The Color Purple, Possessing The Secret Of Joy, The Sweet Life Of Bees, The Fact Of A Doorframe, The Blue Estuaries, and so many more. I urge you to read any of these if you haven't already.

I'm a bibliophile, so this post gave me some mild anxiety. Thankfully there is no remote island and the library is just a short drive away.


  • Issa

    I may be the one person in the world who didn't like the Poisionwood Bible.

    Um, I'd be a brat about the 7 books. In my head, HP series, should count as one. The rest, I'd have to think about. I know however that I NEVER want to be on a deserted island...unless I had a private plane to leave on after a few days...then it sounds kind of nice.

  • Kelly Miller

    What?! How could you not like TPB? I did considering condensing the HP series into one huge book, but the anxiety hadn't really kicked in yet.

    I think I'd enjoy a deserted island because it didn't say I had to be stranded all alone and I'd love to just get away from it all for awhile. I'd come stocked with Malibu rum to drink with all the coconuts!

  • Cheryl

    Love your list! I see titles I love (Brothers Grimm, Harry Potter, and of course The Outsiders), but also a few I need to put on my to-read list. And I'm with you- there are too many favorites to whittle the list to seven. Although, it's a lot better than today's post, which asked for ONE book. What are they, crazy?!?

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