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  • Sidebar book cover thumbnail pictures are affiliate links to Amazon, and the storefront links to Blackwell's and The Book Depository are also affiliated; should you purchase a book directly through those links, I will receive a small commission. Older posts may also contain affiliate links to one of those bookshops. I am not paid to produce content and all opinions are my own.

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It's so hard for me to come up with one favorite. I have found that I have different favorites depending on the time in my life it happens to be.

Currently, a new favorite is The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

An all time favorite is Watership Down by Richard Adams.

I just love to read!


The L Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks - the first book that really got to me.
Pant, pant, please put me in!


How very difficult - I think it will have to be Anna Karenina since it is one of the few books that I have read twice and thoroughly enjoyed: too many books that I want to read and too little time. Please can my name go in the hat.


Oh it's hard to pick a favourite, but one of the books I've loved for a long time is Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi. It's a sweet, funny and thoroughly heartwarming book, whether read as a kid or an adult.


Would I be allowed the complete Virago Modern Classics library? I thought not!

margaret 46

Life without books is unthinkable.
My must have book is 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.I thought that Gregoery Peck was so right in the part.Every time I read it I am impresed with the writing and the power of the story
Please put my name into the hat.
Many thanks.

Peter the Flautist

The works of Colette, no question, and can I take the Feynman lectures on Physics (3 vols) too please?

Dark Puss


Oh I can't resist your draw- put me down for M. Bovary. I do love to read about that silly woman and I'm sure I would continue to enjoy her on my desert island.

Ed Frame

Hi Cornflower

Hello from a fellow blogger in Edinburgh.

My favourite novel is 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay' by Michael Chabon. It's got everything love, male friendship, comic books, what it means to be an artist, and golems. And it is set across the world. The prose is precise and it still keeps the pages turning.


Oh dear - I can't choose between the Complete works of Jane Austen and the Complete works of Daphne du Maurier .... All right! I'll choose the dear Jane, they're better suited to reforming the natives of this Desert Island!

Pia Carreman

From the swedish horizon: The wind-up bird chronicle by Haruki Murakami. Just recently discovered this japanese author and I am overwhelmed. This book really gives you a lot to think about.

Lisa W

So hard to choose! I think the complete works of Jane Austen would keep me content for quite a while.


For me it would be Middlemarch or the complete works of George Eliot (a toss up between her and Jane Austen but on an island the Eliot would take longer to read).

I will add this to my round up of giveaways post too this evening.


My desert island book is Middlemarch. Imagine being stuck on the island and then longing to read Bleak House or Mansfield Park!

Ed Frame

Hello - Becca and Ed Frame's comments have got mixed up!


Can never pass on an opportunity to have another book. And no, just lugging all of our recently arrived from Ireland stacks of books to the shelves does not put me off the possibility of having another!

If I were stuck on an island and had a lot of beach time reading, it might be Peter Tremayne ancient Ireland crime mysteries.

If the island were a busy, crowded place, I might choose some classic Lucy Maud Montgomery or Louisa May Alcott as a reminder of simpler, less complex times.

Of course, if it were limited to one volume, I might choose a compilation of Jane Austen's works.


It sounds like Jane Austen will be available (I'm assuming all our islands will be close enough so maybe we could throw books back and forth--a loophole??) so I think I'll force myself outside my usual choice and say I'd bring the complete Lord Peter Wimsey series of Dorothy Sayres. Like Jane Austen's, those books just create a different time and compelling characters!
. . .and I'd LOVE a new book, even as I'm winnowing out to donate to the library book sale!

Terri - teelgee

*Wagging my tail with leash in mouth*
I'm a contemporary gal and would have to take the works of Louise Erdrich with me. Such a great mix of humor and thought provoking writing.


I don't tend to re read books- I have so many I want to read and work in a Library so the list gets longer and longer every day! I do love the book Dear Genius about the woman in charge of Harper and Row way back when they were in charge of all the "great" children's authors and it is fill with letters back and forth to the authors. Great fun.

adele geras

Count me in! I would take the complete Jane Austen but also the Dickens books I haven't read....quite a few of them: Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, Little Dorrit, Edwin Drood, Martin Chuzzlewit and Tale of Two Cities. They will come in useful on the island for other things too, as they're so nice and solid...


It would have to be Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor. I've read it at least once a year since first reading it at the age of 13 (I'm now 35). Each time I read it I discover new things, and different things have been important to me at the different stages of my life.


Cornflower readers must be in synch with each other. Jane Austen (especially Persuasion, but also P&P) and George Eliot (and let's not forget Daniel Deronda) would be on my list. But to expand the library, I might add in Moby Dick (grandeur, length & obscure knowledge); Huck Finn (beautiful for reading aloud to other desert island residents), and the Book of Common Prayer (psalms, among other items). My suitcase would be heavy indeed!


I'd love to be part of the drawing. I think I would have to bring the complete works of Jane Austen, a popular choice I see.

Margaret Powling

Decisions, decisions ... what will it be? The first of the Famous Fives by Enid Blyton or even A Dream of Sadler's Wells by Lorna Hill for the child still in me, or One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes, such an elegant novel, or Mrs Miniver by Jan Struther, or Diary of a Provincial Lady ... no, it has to be the book I read about once every couple of years: Bernard Levin's Enthusiasms.


I always think that when (hah!) I'm invited onto Desert Island Discs, I shall be bartering my 8 records for more books. I'd like to take the Marlow stories of Antonia Forest, please. Comforting, engaging, and probably some helpful survival tips tucked in there as well.

I'm very excited to be leaving this comment - I've been trying to comment on your TBR pile for about a week and something always seems to go wrong with the connection. Anyway, I shall be interested to know what you make of Victoria Hislop's book. I recently read The Island and thought it was one of the worst-written books I've ever read. Which was a shame, because at the heart of the book was a genuinely interesting story. It would be interesting to know if The Return is any better.


A favourite . . . one favourite . . . a desert island . . . A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry always pops into my head when I am asked this question. I haven't read this book for a while and would love the opportunity to read it again. I remember that I really cared about the characters and wondered how they were doing every time I closed the pages. I know I didn't want the book to end!

As a born and bred island girl (although I am not there now!), the sand, the shells, the fish and the sunshine are enough to stimulate my daydreams!!


I don't think I would ever tire of reading Lampedusa's The Leopard ... trouble is, it's not very long. So it might have to be a complete set of Dickens. (I love Jane Austen more, but I haven't read all of Dickens - and it sounds like Jane might be busy on other islands.)


A desert island? How appropriate that these are the words that captured me when I began to read what has become my favourite book: "I have escaped to this island with a few books and the child - Melissa's child." While I wouldn't take a child to a desert island, I would certainly take The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell.


Gosh - it is hard to pick one! I think Jane Austen's novels would be the ones I'd take.

Simon T

What a nice idea - a virtual bookshelf!

If the Bible is also a given, then I'm going to choose The Provincial Lady (cunningly, the 4-in-1 version). I feel sad to leave Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker, and Jane Austen's oeuvre, behind - but I had to pick one...

Mrs C

The Queen and I by Sue Townsend. I know I should probably say something much more highbrow, but this book just always makes me smile no matter how down I feel. My copy is pretty much falling apart from all the times I've read it!


Not half as high brow as most of the recommendations here... but I would have to take my Alexander McCall Smith books. I just love them!



On a desert island I could read any Barbara Pym book over and over again, as well as any Angela Thirkell and Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers. Since I'm American, I love Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry and almost any book by Jon Hassler, especially Staggerford and Dear James.


Oh, I would love to reread the entire series of Miriam Grace Monfredo which is historical fiction based during the American Civil War. Or, The Secret Life of Bees. Or, the entire Cadfael series. I could keep going but I'll stop now!

sonja poor

For the desert island I think it would have to be Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, but I reread 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff; written by a voracious reader wanting beautiful books. I laugh and cry at every reading.


Off the cuff I'd say Madeleine L'Engle's quartet, _The Crosswicks Journals_ I always find something that speaks to me.


To a desert island, I'd take a translation of Euclid's Elements because I've been wanting to read it and I think it would provide me with more things to think about than I'd get through in a lifetime.

I don't know if I can choose a favourite book that I've already read, though. There are too many good ones to choose from.


What to choose? Jane Austen and Dickens are favourites, so are George Eliot and Dorothy L Sayers, but I think I'd go for Georgette Heyer's complete works. Light fare but they are my favourite comfort reads.

Sussex Yorkie

Would love another book! The only book I can think of that has been read more than once is Pollyanna, must find another copy.


A most unoriginal choice, I know, but if push really came to shove, it would simply have to be the complete works of Jane Austen.


If I'm stuck on a desert island, the book I posted about on my own blog recently would be too short. So maybe something like Life of Pi - and a fictional Richard Parker to keep me company!


I know it's not very cheery for reading on the desert island, but my absolute favourite book is "We Need to Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver. One to make you think. If I was also allowed one for laughs (is that cheating? Ach, I don't care!) any Christopher Brookmyre to remind me of the voice of home!


I think it would have to be Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, but since it is short, I would also sneak in The Brother's K by David James Duncan. Both are books with far too much to discover and enjoy properly in one reading!


Well since all of Austen, Antonia Forest and The Provincial Lady will be there, perhaps Edith Wharton's novels, and Daddy-Long-Legs and Dear Enemy by Jean Webster.


Well all my classic choices have been taken - how about THe House on the Strand by Daphne Demaurier (for escapism) or The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett (for the feel good factor)

Barbara MacLeod

I can't decide! I'm going to opt for a book that kept me absorbed on long passages (sailing): Reeds Almanac which I see is subtitled 'The Yachtsman's Bible' and has a blurb stating it is a "literary lifejacket"!


I'm not sure I would take it to a desert island, but when I went in to hospital to give birth, I took Noel Barber's A Farewell to France both times. The youngest is now eleven, and I would have to read it again to see why I chose it, certainly seems to be a strange choice now.
Maybe it is why we now live in France......

Tim V

I'd take Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West with me. I've read it a few times already and I know I'll read it again. Bonus if I can take the edition that has The Day of the Locusts included as well...

Tim V

I'd take Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West with me. I've read it a few times already and I know I'll read it again. Bonus if I can take the edition that has The Day of the Locusts included as well...


Wow! Decisions, decisions - can't make 'em. I'm greedy, I guess - but my tastes do vary so widely, from humor to espionage. I was pleased to see someone mentioned _The Queen and I_ by Sue Townsend - enjoyed that a lot.

But, to a desert island, let's start with humor and take a complete selection of the Provincial Lady as well as all six of the Mapp and Lucia books by E.F. Benson - then move on to espionage. I have _10_ books by Alan Furst (haven't read the 10th one yet), with stories that take you from 1934-1945, written by a self-described "diehard European history buff." The one consistent character is the city of Paris.

More, please! I'll bring a trunk ful and share. There's no way to leave behind all the volumes of Virginia Woolf's diaries and all the volumes of her letters.

There, that should take of me for some time on that desert island.

Linda C.

Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Fir. It's a collection of short stories set in 1800's in a small Maine community. It may not be familiar to British readers, but it's my all time favorite, and I don't generally like short stories!


The Same Sea by Amos Oz.

Translated from the modern Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange, the language of this book is amazing, it's so poetic and really seductive. Though not a narrative exactly, this is the 'story' of a small group of ordinary people living near Tel Aviv, slightly adrift and quietly trying to get their lives on track, along with a Narrator character who drops in comments on them from time to time! The book is composed of a long series of short passages - a mixture of narration, description, and reflection - that sweep you along and draw you in.

This is a really unusual book. It's short, at 197 pages, and because there's no pressing narrative it's the kind of book you really can read in snatches (if need be), or even open up at random and just taste the words. Do not be put off by the paperback cover: this makes it look like an airport read, and it's nothing of the kind. It's wonderfully rich.


I see that most of us have to cheat a little and assume that we'll all share books. Given that, I'm torn between Cold Comfort Farm, and M.F.K. Fisher's The Art of Eating, a compilation of several of her books. Aside from the obvious pleasure of reading about food on a desert island, Fisher's stories of her quite adventurous life introduce the reader to some unforgettable characters and images that live in the memory--like segments of orange left on top of a radiator until the skin is crisp. Thanks for the fun. Kate


I would take Sunlight on the Lawn by Beverley Nichols. It is my favorite book of all time and never fails to lift my spirits.

 Carmen T

I would take "Pride and Prejudice" because it's one of my favourite classics. The language in it is just so sophisticated it'll probably distract me from the loneliness. haha.


Ah good - back just in time to enter.... my desert island book would have to be Tess of the d'Urbervilles.


I would take Thomas Mann's 'Der Zauberberg'. I have started this book many times, but never managed to get further than about one-third through. I really loved 'Buddenbrooks' so I am determined to finish the Zauberberg some time.


I don't know if I can just pick one favorite. For a desert island I might pick The Count of Monte Cristo! It has a little bit of everything--love, war, buried treasure, revenge and be sure to take the unabridged version--you'll have plenty of time to read it! :)


Ooh, I see another Carol has also posted (along with a Carole). Better call myself Carol N for these purposes then.

Favourite book has to be Jane Eyre, although if I had to go for collected works it would probably be Howard Spring, who is OP these days and out of fashion too, but I first discovered him as a teenager in the Seventies and regularly re-read him to this day.


I think I would pick Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, but it's very difficult to choose! I've read it many times in the past, but not recently.


TO a desert island, I'd take "A dance to the music of time" by Anthony Powell; or "In search of lost time" by Marcel Proust. I figure being on an island would finally give me the time and quiet needed to actually finish reading these masterpieces.


My complete works of Jane Austen is a tempting choice, as is Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy which I can read again and again. I think I'll settle on sticking together Neal Stephenson's Baroque cycle and smuggling it in as one book as I've not read it and that should see me few the first couple of weeks. I'm discounting all thin books just to be sure that I get my maximum word count in, you see!


I'd take the complete works of Elsie Oxenham - very old favourites of mine, especially the Abbey Girls books, and I love the way the various series interconnect.


One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It never fails to enchant and surprise me. I read it about once a year when I need to "get away".


Mrs. Miniver is a long standing favorite of mine. I am sure someone will lend me a Jane from time to time. That is allowed, isn't it?


The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. But Dickens if it was all works by one author (think maximum word count!).


Hmmm, I was thinking War and Peace, because it's so long, and I haven't yet managed to read it. :0) Anything by Jane Austen for pleasure, though.


I see several of my favourites have already been nominated - Durrell's Alexandrian Quartet, and E F Benson's Mapp and Lucia novels, so I shall plump for my most frequently re-read novel - The Shipping News by E Annie Proulx (might not be the most comfortable read when surrounded by sea on a desert island, but I shall assume it will be a tropical island and not the sea off Newfoundland!). Then if I could be greedy, I'd like to take Kathleen Jamie's Findings as well, to remind me of how important it is to look at everything carefully and really see what is around me.


I'm reading Tove Jansson's The Summer Book at the moment, which is so sad and lovely and happy all at the same time ... I'm almost finished and I know I'll want to start over again because I don't want it to end. So I think I've just discovered a new desert island book! And as it's set on an island, that makes it perfect!

Elaine Simpson-Long

All the Provincial Lady books, all Jane Austen, Bleak House and David Copperfield for my Dickens slot, The House of Mirth and Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, Little Women and Good Wives by LM Alcott, Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome and Diary of a Nobody by Grossmith, oh and loads more but these will do for getting on with


Having spent most of yesterday sitting around on planes and trains variously, re-reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, I wondered whether to choose that but, on long reflection, my desert island book is The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. I never tire of it.


Thanks for this giveaway. I would take any Daphne Du Maurier book since it would be something extraordinary to lost myself within the pages.


Like at least one other commenter on here (and, apparently, Iain Duncan Smith), I'd take Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet.


Hmm, the my desert island books would be either Possession by A.S. Byatt,The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons and Anna Karenina!


ONE book on a desert island? Hmm, aside from a blank journal for my own writing, I'll have to say The New Dictionary of Thoughts.

tea and cake

Hello, I just found you via Zoe's knit bag. If I were stranded on a desert island the one book I would have to take is 'The Colour Purple' by Alice Walker. From the first to the last pages, I am always hooked into the characters, and their stories. Oh, that I could write like Walker!


On a desert island I would bring "Pride and Prejudice". I love this book to pieces.


I'll take The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon with me to the island! It'll definitely cheer me up. :D

gautami tripathy

I would take a few poetry books and my poetry writing journal.The solitude works best for reading and penning down poetry.


Also assuming I could borrow someone's Austen, I'd take A Room of One's Own & Three Guineas by Virgina Woolf.


One of the really big Wodehouse collections would be my choice; either Mulliner or Jeeves & Wooster or Blandings. But it still is stressful to think of being stuck without many, many, many books. :<)


I guess I would take Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or The Witches. I could read those books over and over again! :) Thank you for the chance!

Ivan Girl

hi there!

i bumped into your page through someone's blog. :)

anyway, my desert island book would be a very fitting one for the occasion. It's a YA book Gary called Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.

i wasn't really fond of YA books but this one was good.


I should say a long book I've never read all the way through but that draws me in every time I pick it up-- that would be Swann's Way.
But truth is it would have to be L.M. Montgomery's The Blue Castle. From an island in Muskoka to an island anyway. Definitely The Blue Castle.


The Second Tree from the Corner by E. B. White is my favorite book. I have many beloved books, but E. B. White's writing will always be my favorite.

Ros F

Testimony of Light by Frances Banks-
Was written in the 1960's but is timeless.
It's an extraordiny tale of life after death and as I was reading it (the first time round), many of her descriptions were familiar to me. Co-incidence or fiction? It will certainly stir the imagination!


Poisonwood Bible. I do love Barbara Kingsolver and think I could read this numerous times!


I would have to take my Bible with me. It is my first visit here but not my last, I really like your site! Thanks for the contest!


Not sure if I'm getting my name in on time, but I would take I Know This Much is True by Wally Lame. Best. book. ever.

Jennifer Dee

I would take 'Wuthering Heights' or any of the Bronte sisters work.


Thanks for having a giveaway. Wow, I would have such a hard time choosing just one book. The Bible would be my first choice. Pride & Prejudice would be my second choice. :)
I linked to your blog here:


Oh...has to be Jane Eyre, one of my all time favorites. But looking at the picture on your blog I am now trying to remember if I have read Daddy Long Legs. Might be, have to scrunge a copy and see if it as I remember.

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  • Sidebar book cover thumbnail pictures are affiliate links to Amazon, and the storefront links to Blackwell's and The Book Depository are also affiliated; should you purchase a book directly through those links, I will receive a small commission. Older posts may also contain affiliate links to one of those bookshops. I am not paid to produce content and all opinions are my own.


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