Deserted Island Fiction

For reasons that remain a mystery to me, there have recently been a glut of book lists on Facebook–you know, the fifty most important mystery novels, the twenty-five books your kid must read before he or she turns twelve, the hundred best novels ever written, etc. I even read a list recently of the ten books one author wishes she had never read. I love to read the lists and pick out the books I’ve read, the ones I liked, the ones I didn’t like, the ones I want to read, the ones I don’t intend to read, the ones with the best covers, etc.

So I thought for this week it would be fun to share the list of the ten books I call my “deserted island fiction.” These are the works of fiction I would want with me if I were ever stranded on a deserted island and I had to read the same books over and over again. The great thing about a list like this is that the books don’t have to be award winners, they don’t have to be critically acclaimed, they don’t have to be anyone else’s picks. They just have to be books that I love.

And books like “Shipbuilding” or “Long Distance Swimming” don’t count, because I wouldn’t enjoy them even if they could help me get off the island.

So without further ado,

10.  A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. I like most of Hemingway’s books, but this one was always my favorite.

9. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. An epic love story. I loved it from the moment I started it. Too bad there’s no DVD player on my deserted island, or I’d insist on the movie, too, starring Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward.

8. The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas. An amazing story of love and revenge. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. My husband and I love the book so much that we named our son after the author.

7. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. Herriot, the nom de plume of a veterinarian in Yorkshire, England,  is actually the reason I majored in animal science when I went to college. Please note: he’s not the reason I switched to another major. The reason for that was and will always be organic chemistry.

6.  Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Though I have a daughter of the same name, she was not named after the title character in this book (I never read the book until after she was born). This is a wonderful gothic story complete with a beautiful mansion, a dead ex-wife that “haunts” the present (no real ghosts in this book), and a suspicious and thoroughly creepy housekeeper.

5. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton. Agatha Raisin is hilarious–she’s rude, obnoxious, and needy, but she has a heart of gold and she finds herself in one jam after another in the Cotswolds of England.

4. Do I get to choose just one book of non-fiction? I guess so–we’re playing by my rules, right? So I choose Mark Twain in Hawaii: Roughing it in the Sandwich Islands by Mark Twain. This is a great read that shows the reader what life was like in the 50th state when it was still a sovereign kingdom.

3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. You have to read this if you haven’t. And if you have a young girl to read it to, then so much the better. It’s a wonderful story about a girl with big dreams, a big imagination, and a very big heart.

2. Black Amber by Phyllis Whitney. I would read anything by Phyllis Whitney over and over again (and have on many occasions), but I think this one is my favorite. It takes place in Turkey, and I think what drew me to the book is the exotic mystery of the place.

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Not only does this have the best opening line of any book ever (you’ll have to look it up yourself!), but the book is filled with wisdom and wit. My favorite of Jane Austen’s works.

Incidentally, when I started writing this post, I thought it would be a quick one. But it turned out to be one of the hardest I’ve done, because it was so hard to pick just ten books that I love most.

What books would you take if you knew you were going to be stranded on a deserted island? I’d love to hear!

Until next week,


P.S. As you may know, my second novel, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, comes out on April 28th. Woo hoo! Beginning this coming Sunday, I will start posting more and more guest blog posts, excerpts, interviews, etc. on various websites and blogs. I will post on my blog whenever I’m appearing somewhere else, and I hope you’ll follow the links and visit! Thanks.



6 thoughts on “Deserted Island Fiction”

  1. Well Amy, I am going to break your rules too… I am not one to read a book over and over even if I love it. I will discuss it, but not read it. I am the same way with movies and TV shows, I don’t like re-runs. Once I know the ending, it’s over. Having said that, I haven’t read most of the books on your list, so hopefully we can be on the same island, you can read them to me. I, on the other hand, am a hands on gal. I will bring all the how to books, and take care of us, I will find a way to feed us, keep us warm and then build the ship to get us the heck off that island…. I can’t be anywhere too long without my ipad and my kindle app… 🙂

    P.S. I knew I could never come up with 10 books to take, so I decided to take a humorous approach to your blog today, hope you don’t mind a little humor on this fine Tuesday morning.

    As Always, “Keep Reading and Writing”.


    1. Sharon, your comment made me laugh out loud. I always love humor on a Tuesday (or any day, for that matter)! I’ll pack one more book for us–Rachel Laudan’s The Food of Paradise. I’ll use it to make the meals on our island. I’m assuming, of course, that we’re stuck on a tropical island (though it would just my luck to get stuck on one north of Siberia). And as for reruns, it depends on the show. One year for Christmas my husband bought me the DVD collection of the entire “I Love Lucy” series and I’ve watched the whole collection from beginning to end many times over. I watch it while I make dinner every night. I will never get tired of it!


      1. Absolutely has to be warm, I am a snowbird, can’t do the cold anymore. Ok, I will give you the classic re-runs. They don’t make comedy the way they used to. I have been quoted as saying that Lucille Ball is the best female comedian EVER. When my son had his first tour in Iraq, I sent him several seasons of I love Lucy and he loved them. Good choice of re-runs. 🙂


  2. The one that surprised me was Phyllis Whitney! My mom and I used to read all her books when I was probably in middle school. Brings back memories of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, library 🙂


    1. Hi Nancy,

      I would actually love to have all of Phyllis Whitney’s books with me on a deserted island, but I figured that was overkill and that I should choose some other authors, too! Thanks for stopping by!


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