when you don’t have anything nice to say, make a list

I really have no news for you. I’ve not received any exultant acceptances or depressing rejections in recent weeks (though I have plenty of stories in circulation).

Still I feel that I ought to make some kind of post here simply to give evidence that I’m still alive.

So I’m falling back on that old, reliable post: the list of five books I would take to a tropical island. Here are the five I would want with me:

  • Moby Dick – the Norton Critical edition, which I have on my shelf
  • Walden – which I’ve read numerous times
  • The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll, by Alvaro Mutis – a modern Don Quixote
  • The Ghost Writer, by Philip Roth – which I’ve lost count of times read but easily at least twenty
  • The Sea, The Sea, by Iris Murdoch – though nearly any novel by her would be worthy

Why the list has to be five books rather than six or ten or twenty is possibly trivial or not important at all.

So what are your five (or six or ten or twenty) must-have books?

Explore posts in the same categories: Ramblings Off Topic, Rants and ruminations

2 Comments on “when you don’t have anything nice to say, make a list”

  1. Teri Says:

    I’m a girl who loves a list. (love your list, by the way, Paul) I’ll have to go with:

    Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
    Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
    Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Above the River, the complete poems by James Wright


  2. Shoot. I’m not sure I can do this.

    1. Shakespeare’s sonnets
    2. Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich
    3. Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (I reread it periodically and enjoy it each time)
    4. The Outermost House by Henry Beston
    5. Annals of the Former World by John McPhee (because then, maybe, I’d actually read it)

    Only having five books would probably do me in.


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