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Desert Island books (and other favourites)

Enter here to talk about books, art, literature, film, TV and anything else to do with popular culture.
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Ikiru
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Joined: December 26th, 2009, 7:19 am

Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#1 Post by Ikiru » January 18th, 2010, 9:26 am

Well, there's a top 10 for bands and film, and I don't see one for books, so... :D

(I've bought a new bookshelf the other day and so I've been re-organising my books which is what has prompted these thoughts)

My top 10 book list is actually quite simple, rather consistent (and therefore might seem a bit boring)-- in no particular order:

Henry David Thoreau: The Journal: 1837-1861 [this has definitely replaced an earlier, much shorter edition I own]
Henry David Thoreau: Collected Writings (two volumes)
R.H. Blyth: Haiku (four volumes)
R.H. Blyth: A History of Haiku (two volumes)
A Haiku Anthology
[this is actually a work-in-progress, making my own personal compilation of all my favourite Japanese haiku]

I paid a pretty penny for the Blyth books, which are sadly out of print ($500 USD for all six books)-- one of the best investments I've ever made.

~~~~~~~~~~

Other essentials:

FICTION
Natsume Soseki: Kusamakura (tr. by Meredith McKinney)
Yasunari Kawabata: The Master of Go (tr. by Edward G Seidensticker)
Yasunari Kawabata: Palm-of-the-Hand Stories (tr. by Lane Dunlop and J. Martin Holman)
Fyodor Dostoevsky: Crime and Punishment (tr. by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)
Toni Morrison: Beloved


POETRY
Mary Oliver: Selected Poems (two volumes)
Pablo Neruda: Selected Poems (ed. by Ilan Stevens)
Rainer Maria Rilke: Selected Poetry and Prose (tr. by Stephen Mitchell)
Octavio Paz: Sunstone (tr. by Eliot Weinberger)


PHILOSOPHY
Laozi: Dao De Jing (I prefer the Addiss/Lombardo or Red Pine translations)
Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics (tr. by J.A.K. Thomson)
Marcus Aurelius: Meditations (tr. by Martin Hammond)
Rainer Maria Rilke: Letters on Life (tr. Ulrich Baer)
Albert Camus: Notebooks: 1935-1951 (tr. by Philip Thody)
Hannah Arendt: Responsibility and Judgement
Sketches from Life
“The materials for poetry are all about you in profusion.” ~ Masaoka Shiki

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Ken H
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#2 Post by Ken H » January 18th, 2010, 1:25 pm

When I was in high school, Walden was one of my favorite books and helped shape my philosophy. I need to read some of Thoreau's other writings and see if he still has an impact on me. Thanks for bringing him to mind. :smile:
This is one of the great social functions of science - to free people of superstition. - Steven Weinberg

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getreal
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#3 Post by getreal » January 18th, 2010, 4:46 pm

Quite difficult to choose only a few, but here goes:

Robin Knox Johnston-“A World of my Own"
Ernest Shackleton- "South"
Muriel Spark-"The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie"
Joe Simpson-"Touching the Void"
Evelyn Waugh-Complete works
Richard Dawkins-"The Greatest Show on Earth"
Enid Blyton-"Malory Towers stories"
Oxford English Dictionary
Oxfor English Thesaurus

isn't it strange that when you write them down there appears to be a common thread (though my selection is clearly more low-brow than high-brow :D )
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

Marian
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#4 Post by Marian » January 18th, 2010, 7:20 pm

Steinbeck- Grapes of Wrath
R.A Salvatore-Drizzt series (i've used up my ten right here but the books are paperback :wink: )
Bram Stoker-Dracula
Dawkins-God Delusion and The Greatest Show
Clarissa Pinkola-Estes-Women Who Run with the Wolves
R.L Stevenson-Treasure Island
My sketching book with pencils and a sharpener (does that count?)
Hopper-The Heathen's Guide to World Religions
Gary Larson-The Far Side comics
Transformative fire...

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Alan C.
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#5 Post by Alan C. » January 18th, 2010, 7:26 pm

Scuse me folks (I was never a fan of DID) But aren't you given The Complete Works of Shakespeare, plus a bible and one other book of your choice?
Could be wrong, probably am :smile:
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Ikiru
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Joined: December 26th, 2009, 7:19 am

Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#6 Post by Ikiru » January 18th, 2010, 7:36 pm

getreal wrote: isn't it strange that when you write them down there appears to be a common thread
Yeah, I think that's what is interesting about lists like these :-)

And I'll be jotting down titles from here too :wink:
Sketches from Life
“The materials for poetry are all about you in profusion.” ~ Masaoka Shiki

Nick
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#7 Post by Nick » January 18th, 2010, 7:45 pm

No you're right, Alan. I was just wondering how Ikiru had come across it....?


I quite like Desert Island Discs, and keep on trying to chose my 8 records to take (without much success....), but I have decided that my luxury would be an acoustic guitar with a teach -yourself manual and lots of sheet music. Maybe then I' d learn to play!

As for books, I'd just like to make a plug for Peter de Rosa's Pope Patrick. I've mentioned it before, in the original book thread I think, and would love it if someone else would read it too! I can assure you that you won't be disappointed! Have a look at the reviews on Amazon.

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Alan C.
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#8 Post by Alan C. » January 18th, 2010, 9:01 pm

As for books, I'd just like to make a plug for Peter de Rosa's Pope Patrick.
If they don't already have it Nick, I shall request it at the library on Saturday.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Nick
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#9 Post by Nick » January 19th, 2010, 3:26 pm

:happyclappy: Thanks Alan! You've made my day! I'll be hoping for progress reports as you read through it. :D

Marian
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#10 Post by Marian » January 20th, 2010, 12:23 am

Me too, Nick! It's on it's way to my library branch.
Transformative fire...

Nick
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#11 Post by Nick » January 20th, 2010, 12:35 am

That's great, Marian :happyclappy: You're gonna have a fun time ahead :D And a thinking one too :idea:


I'm really looking forward to your feedback :)

Felicia
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#12 Post by Felicia » June 28th, 2010, 9:49 pm

I thought the title of this thread meant 8 favourite books, instead of the 8 discs. (+ or - Shakespeare and Bible.) Perhaps we could have one piece of music, in addition to two given great works (what would they be? Complete Beethoven and Beatles, perhaps?)

Anyway, my 8 books this week would be :-
Oxford Book of English Verse
Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
Ted Hughes: Birthday Letters
Georgette Heyer: The Grand Sophy
Iain M Banks: Excession
Mervyn Peake: Gormenghast
Martin Amis: Experience
Carol Shields: Larry's Party

The one I would rescue from the waves would be the Oxford Book of Poetry.

If I had to chose one piece of music, it would be 3rd movement of Sibelius's 4th Symphony.

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jaywhat
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#13 Post by jaywhat » March 20th, 2011, 9:33 am

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy)

by Grieg Larsson - just finished (at 7am yesterday) this trilogy about Lisbeth Salander and now struggling to get my life back !!! Wow!

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animist
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#14 Post by animist » March 20th, 2011, 9:59 am

I'd like to recommend Matthew Kneale's "English Passengers", which deals with the destruction of the aboriginal Tasmanians in the early-mid 19C; it's not all doom and gloom, and includes a very funny and nutty clergyman who is convinced that Tasmania was in fact the Garden of Eden!

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Tetenterre
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#15 Post by Tetenterre » March 20th, 2011, 6:49 pm

jaywhat wrote:
by Grieg Larsson
Stieg Larsson :wink: Great trilogy, indeed. Are you watching "The Killing" on BBC4?

May I offer, in no particular order after #1, which is the most powerful piece of writing I have ever met:

1. Christopher Logue -- War Music
2. John Cowper Powys -- The Brazen Head
3. Robert Holdstock -- Mythago Wood
4. Neil Gaiman -- Sandman Series
5. John Fowles -- The Magus
6. Roger Penrose -- The Road to Reality
7. Paul Davies -- About Time
8. Christopher Priest -- Fugue for a Darkening Island
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

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Val
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#16 Post by Val » March 20th, 2011, 8:44 pm

Alan C. wrote:
As for books, I'd just like to make a plug for Peter de Rosa's Pope Patrick.


Alan did you ever get this book. I tried but my library, after several weeks, said they could not get it. it is out of print too.

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Alan C.
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#17 Post by Alan C. » March 20th, 2011, 9:04 pm

Val wrote:
Alan C. wrote:
As for books, I'd just like to make a plug for Peter de Rosa's Pope Patrick.
Alan did you ever get this book. I tried but my library, after several weeks, said they could not get it. it is out of print too.
Nick very kindly sent me a copy Val as my library couldn't get it either, PM your address and I'll gladly pass it on (sure Nick wont mind)
Written by an ex Catholic Priest it's both funny and satirical.

A review from the Dublin evening Herald said

"Absolutely hilarious...Satiric, but not sacrilegious.
Weighted with inside knowledge, it is so funny you will laugh aloud on the bus."

As I said to Nick, if we could have a real Pope Patrick the world would be a better place.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Dave B
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#18 Post by Dave B » March 20th, 2011, 9:06 pm

Val wrote:
Alan C. wrote:
As for books, I'd just like to make a plug for Peter de Rosa's Pope Patrick.


Alan did you ever get this book. I tried but my library, after several weeks, said they could not get it. it is out of print too.
It's available on Amazon for as little as 1 penny, Val, second hand (plus£2.80 p&p!)
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan C.
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#19 Post by Alan C. » March 20th, 2011, 9:14 pm

Dave
It's available on Amazon for as little as 1 penny, Val, second hand (plus£2.80 p&p!)
Pft! I'll send it at no cost to Val, and I'll wager it wont cost me £2.80.
Edit.
Val could collect it in May, that would cost nowt.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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jaywhat
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Re: Desert Island books (and other favourites)

#20 Post by jaywhat » March 21st, 2011, 6:17 am

Tetenterre wrote:
jaywhat wrote:
by Grieg Larsson
Stieg Larsson :wink: Great trilogy, indeed. Are you watching "The Killing" on BBC4?
Thanks Tetenterre, Stieg, of course.
Yes we are fans of 'The Killing' which ends this week - but they say there is more to follow - very gripping.

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