Desert Island Books: The One Book We’d Take to the Island

Desert Island Books: The One Book We’d Take to the Island

One of the great sessions at this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival is Desert Island Books, where different authors share the eight books they’d want to have with them if they were stuck on a deserted island.

Choosing eight favourite books is easy. We’ve upped the challenge, choosing just one book. We admit, it’s a little like Sophie’s Choice – an impossible task, and there were moments when, like Sophie, we procrastinated for so long someone just tore one of the books we were mulling over from our grasp.

We may or may not call the following books our all-time favourites, but we’d certainly be happy reading them over and over again on that island.

Cheryl’s choice:

Harper Lee’s 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, about a child’s view of race and justice in the Depression-era South.

Cheryl says:

To Kill a Mockingbird is as relevant today as it was when it was first published. I love everything about this book. It’s timeless.

Jane’s choice:

The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, a fascinating, detailed account of Japanese court life in the eleventh century.

Jane Says:

Written by Sei Shonagon, a lady of the court at the height of Heian culture, this book is filled with history, wit, and subtlety. I love it so much. Sei Shonagon’s strength and originality is awesome, especially when you remember she wrote it 1,000 years ago.

Melissa’s choice:

The Tree of Man, Patrick White’s portrait of human resilience, chronicling the lives of the Parker family and their changing fortunes over many decades.

Melissa says:

The Tree of Man paints such a stark and pared back existence of living on the land as it once was. Even though life isn’t always good, it’s simple. Patrick White’s ability to create a vivid picture and tell a rich story draws me back to The Tree of Man time and time again.

Amelia’s choice:

Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Goldfinch, a coming-of-age tale about a boy who loses his mother and gains a painting.

Amelia says:

When I first read The Goldfinch a few years ago, it immediately became my most-loved book. The story of young Theo Decker and his priceless, secret painting is captivating, Donna Tartt’s writing so evocative and beautiful, that it’s impossible not to get swept up.

Rosie’s choice:

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, about the Bennet family, five very different sisters and the romance between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy.

 Rosie says:

Whether she’s poking fun at her peers, or bearing her soul through the gracious Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Austen always puts a smile on my face.

Which book would you take with you? Tip: Don’t overthink it.

Related Articles

Organising Your Books: How Do You Do It?

News | Book Life

12 January 2022

Organising Your Books: How Do You Do It?

    10 Great Audiobooks for the Holidays, Inspired by the Top 100

    News | Awards | Book Life

    17 December 2021

    10 Great Audiobooks for the Holidays, Inspired by the Top 100

      Exciting Book Nerd News: Book Themed Christmas Decorations are a Thing

      News | Book Life

      15 December 2021

      Exciting Book Nerd News: Book Themed Christmas Decorations are a Thing

        Dyslexia Awareness Month: Telling Stories with My Dyslexic Sons

        News | Book Life

        20 October 2021

        Dyslexia Awareness Month: Telling Stories with My Dyslexic Sons

          This is Our 6th Top 100... Here are all Six Lists

          News | Awards | Book Life

          24 May 2021

          This is Our 6th Top 100... Here are all Six Lists

            Great Literary Love Affairs

            News | Book Life

            22 October 2020

            Great Literary Love Affairs

              Guilty Secrets: What I Found On My Friend's Bedside Table

              News | Book Life

              21 October 2020

              Guilty Secrets: What I Found On My Friend's Bedside Table

                It's About the Brain: Why Do We Still Bother With Books… When There’s So Much Online?

                News | Book Life

                6 July 2020

                It's About the Brain: Why Do We Still Bother With Books… When There’s So Much Online?

                  Bookstagram is Heaven for Book Lovers

                  News | Book Life

                  30 June 2020

                  Bookstagram is Heaven for Book Lovers

                    Wine, Coffee, Tea? What Do You Drink While You’re Reading?

                    News | Book Life

                    15 June 2020

                    Wine, Coffee, Tea? What Do You Drink While You’re Reading?

                      COMMENTS

                      Leave a Reply

                      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

                      1. maree jones says:

                        The bible, because it is one book I have not read through, and interpretations vary.

                      2. Susan says:

                        The book I’m reading now, The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati. It’s an interesting story about cousins who are biracial, one’ s white and one’s black. Also both are women and also physicians who are also women’s doctors only.

                      3. Nic Bell says:

                        The Pillars of the Earth because I’ve been meaning to read it forever and it looks really long so it should take me a while. If I had to pick one I have read though then ‘The Bronze Horseman’. I don’t care if anyone thinks it’s tacky chic lit, I will love it until the end of time.