Stuck on a deserted island

So there you are, stuck on a deserted island. In your backpack you’ve got a nifty water purifying thingy; a lighter; some objects that you can MacGyver into something to procure food with; a waterproof pup tent; some chocolate kisses; a pack of cigarettes; and a book. What book is it? Mine might be Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. Because at first it would make me laugh.

Now no cheating. No iPads, Nooks, Kindles, or blank Moleskins. I want to know what you would read if you had only one thing to read. Over and over again. And why. Why that book? And who put those cigarettes in your backpack?


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32 responses to “Stuck on a deserted island

  1. Love reading this. The Bible is a good one because it is so packed with the uplifting, the sorrowful, everything. But, the first book I thought of was To Kill a Mockingbird. I would read it again and again in hopes that I could finally figure out how to write something that could become that much of a classic.

  2. ‘Skulduggery Pleasent The Deathbringer’ by Derek Landy. It’s one of the few books that has made my stomach hurt from laughter.
    And it would have been my sister who stashed the cigarettes, either to quicken my death or to avoid getting caught with them by my parents. Got to love her (because of the whole ‘she’s my sister’ bit) but she is pure evil. (most of the time, the rest she’s just partly evil.)

  3. All right, I’ve been thinking about this, well, off and on all day. I think I’d have to take one of Christopher Moore’s books. Something funny, something with wacky characters that could get in my head and continue to live. Otherwise, I’d go crazy thinking about the fact that I was stranded on a deserted island. And if forced to choose, I’d take “The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove.” It’s fun and at the end it has that ray of hope that you really can change the status quo.

  4. Orlando by Virginia Woolf. I love the idea of traveling agelessly through time as a man and woman. The history, locations, and characters are timeless.

    And thanks to whomever threw those cigarettes into my backpack, mmuuaahh!!

  5. I think it would be Orlando by Virginia Woolf. I love the idea of traveling through time without aging and experiencing life as a man and woman.

    And thanks to the person who added the cigarettes, muuuahhh!!

  6. Ok…well, I’m almost hesitant to put this because some people are pretty prejudice but ah, whatev I’d bring a Bible. Why? One reason being there are soooo many stories in it and every time I read one of them I get another idea for a story of my own. So, I find that reading it sparks my own creativity and somehow manages to take me out of a negative frame of mind (which I assume I’d be leaning towards as I’m stuck on a deserted island).
    So yeah that’s what I’d bring : )

  7. greyson

    Song of Solomon (Toni Morrison). It’s long enough, and every time I read it I get more. I always want to reread it again, but rarely set aside the time to actually do so, because there’s so much new I haven’t yet read.
    As a bonus, if my water purifier broke and no rescue were imminent, SoS would give me the guts to end it all (probably by smoking that pack & eating the chocolate, thereby going out in a grand but delicious asthma/allergy attack).

  8. Sarah

    The bible. Great stories, inspiration and hope to sustain me. And maybe I could learn how to build an arc and sail back to civilization…

  9. The Riverside Shakesphere because I’d have something to read for every mood and I could use the reference material as kindling when I ran out of cigarettes. I hope there’s a lighter with those cigarettes.

  10. Heather Hawke

    The Lord of the Rings. I reread it every few years and I still can’t remember all the characters. Maybe after the 100th consecutive read…

    Perhaps my naughty 13-year old self planted those cigarettes.

  11. KimberlyFDR

    The Promise of Rest by Reynolds Price because it was the first book that I read of his that I went “yes, I can relate to all these characters” because they reflected a lot of what was going on in my own family as I was growing up. Mr. Price was my writing mentor throughout my life, but that book touched something fundamental inside me. That’s what good writing is all about.

    As for the cigarettes, they were a present from my friend. I told him I was going on an adventure and he said I’d need them. Obviously he thought adventure = prison.

  12. Let the Great World Spin because the writing is beautiful and every time I read it I come away with something new.

  13. The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. I could open it at random and it would give me something different each time. Even if I went back to the same poem more than once.

    As for the cigarettes, I have never been a smoker, but under those circumstances, I would probably start.

  14. Big shocker, The Feast of Love, because I identify with a different character each time I read it, which is like having more than one book. It’s also heavy enough, without being too heavy. Too heavy is bad on deserted islands. Okay, who am I kidding? I’d choose it to remind myself of when Charles Baxter and I were almost probably supposed to get married, if we’d met, and then he’d have written Feast 2 and based grownup Chloe on me and we’d have gone to the opening of the Feast 2 movie and the paparazzi would’ve been like, “Who’s that stunning woman next to Baxter?”
    And the better informed among them would’ve been like, “Oh that’s his wife–she’s a writer, too. Her agent just landed her huge book deals with all six of the big six.”
    “OMG. At the same time?”
    “Yeah, unprecedented!”
    “I know!”

    Something like that.

  15. Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story. I re-read the book over and over again because of the magical journey with creatures. I would need something to keep me company on a deserted island and these creatures will definitely entertain me! A bit of fright, fun…

  16. Steve McCann

    “Gulliver’s Travels” or maybe “Huckleberry Finn.” Both can make me completely forget about my surroundings.

  17. Listening Point by Sigurd Olson. First, it would remind me of my favorite place on earth, the Boundry Waters of northern Minnesota. Second, Mr. Olson’s philosophy could be easily applied to the situation.

  18. First of all, if I only have one pack of cigarettes, I won’t be able to read for very long before the psychosis kicks in from nicotine withdrawal. Before I get too insane to read, though, maybe something like “Swiss Family Robinson” or “Robinson Crusoe”, or even “The Mysterious Island” would be good. If nothing else, they might be filled with helpful pointers on how to survive after being abandoned on a deserted island.

  19. SwiftScribbler

    Gone With the Wind. I love antiheroes, I love the writing, and, most importantly, I love how LONG it is (or, at least, I’m sure I would if it was the only book I could read for the rest of my life).

  20. Jennie

    Dangerous Lady by Martina Cole. I don’t know why I picked it up off the bookstore shelf so many years ago, as it’s a far cry from my usual funny-women’s-fiction reads but I love it! A seriously kick-ass (and flawed) MC, sex, lies, the criminal underground – this book’s got it all! I’ve read it so many times and it still surprises me. Oh, and it’s set in England, so everybody has accents. Hm…now that I’ve written this, it might be time to read it again!

  21. Rachel León

    My first instinct is to say a Nick Hornby book–probably About a Boy. I wonder how many times you can read something funny before it stops being funny? Hornby’s books are great though because they aren’t just funny but endearing as well. So when I second guess myself, I think no, Zadie Smith’s On Beauty would be better, a book I can read over and over. So the question becomes would I go with my gut instinct and grab Hornby or over think it (as I tend to do) and grab On Beauty? I suppose it depends on how much time I had to plan packing that backpack.

  22. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s the funniest, wildest, most creative book that I’ve ever experienced (because you don’t just read this book — you experience it) and it’s been on my re-read list for years.

  23. Wendy

    Well, I’ll tell you what it would NOT be: 50 Shades of Boring – I mean Grey – whatever it’s called. Or as you would say: What. Ever.

  24. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. It’s not the most popular Murakami (by far) but it’s my favorite. I think if I were surviving in the situation you describe I’d want to read a story that’s about exploring the recesses of the inner self as the last frontier. Plus it’s entertaining and well-written and kind of hallucinogenic, which I think would match my needs at such a time. And lastly, it’s an ultimately unknowable book, and I don’t think I could continually re-read a book that wasn’t.

    That question I can answer. The cigarettes are beyond me.