Fifty Desert Island Books

The “stranded isle” test shows surprising results. Alas, only fifty will fit in my tiny hut, from classics to ephemera. Gone are the thrillers, breakthroughs, manifestos, philosophy and feuilletons; they don’t compare to identity, “imago”, the rough outline and telling detail. However, I include a few strays. Here is what’s left of a gaudy life.

After an unusually frenetic sales season, a desert island would be a relief. No computer, radio, television, public—Dorothy Parker’s “fresh hell”. Just a pair of reading glasses and a deep well.

Here’s the cream off a house full of books, in no order:

Jan Valtin “Out of the Night”
Various authors “The Dartmouth Bible”
Homer “The Iliad and The Odyssey”, Lattimore
William “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Shakespeare “Richard II”
  “King Lear”
F. Scott “The Great Gatsby”
Ernest “The Sun Also Rises”
Hemingway “For Whom the Bell Tolls”
H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds”
Karl Capek “Three Novels”
Paul Bowles “The Sheltering Sky”
  “Up Above the World”
Franz Kafka “Collected Works”
Louis Ferdinand “Journey to the End
Celine of the Night”
George Sessions “Walls Rise Up”
Robert Flaherty “My Eskimo Friends”
Frederick Manfred “Lord Grizzly”
Herman Melville “Moby Dick”
Joseph Conrad “Lord Jim”
Jerome K. “Three Men In
Jerome A Boat”
Jean Shepherd “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash”
  “Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories
and Other Disasters”
Calvin Trillin “American Fried”
E. M. Forster “Where Angels Fear to Tread”
Nikolai Gogol “Taras Bulba”
Fyodor “The Brothers Karamazov”
Leo Tolstoy “Anna Karenina”
Gustave Flaubert “Salammbo”
Arthur Conan Doyle “The Lost World”
Maxim Gorky “Mother”
Czeslaw Milosz “Native Realm”
Charles Peguy “Basic Verities”
Tom Clark “When Things Get Tough On Easy Street”
Florence Cohen “The Monkey Puzzle Tree”
Erdoes and Ortiz, “American Indian Myths
eds. and Legends”
Edwin Muir “An Autobiography”
Alice Munro “The Beggar Maid”
Christopher Dawson “The Making of Europe”
Gilbert Murray “The Five Stages of Greek Religion”
Stuart Dybek “Childhood and Other Stories”
Ryszard Kapuscinski “Imperium”
William Blake “Songs of Innocence and of Experience”
John Keats “The Odes”
Gary Paul “Songbirds, Truffles
Nabhan and Wolves”
Alvaro Nunez “Journals” (unabridged)
John L. Stephens “Travels in Central America” (unabridged)
Robert D. Kaplan “The Ends of the Earth”
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