If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 56 books at your disposal, which books would you take?
I would take (in no significant order):
Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gaarder. I read this “novel about the history of philosophy” when I was too young to really get it, and have been insisting ever since that I’m going to reread it. It’s also a great reference.
Little Herb Gardens, by Georgeanne Brennan and Mimi Luebbermann. Because I aspire to successfully growing things, especially things I can then cook with.
Ulysses, by James Joyce. In case it makes more sense there.
Legends and Storytelling
Irish Stories and Tales
The Legend of Arthur
The Idylls of the King, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco
Maps and Legends, by Michael Chabon
The Age of Wonder, by Richard Holmes
Summerland, by Michael Chabon
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
Series and Epics
The Lord of the Rings (3), plus The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, by J. R. R. Tolkein
The Chronicles of Narnia (7), by C. S. Lewis
Harry Potter (7) (in hardcover!), by J. K. Rowling
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (hardcover all the way!), by Susanna Clarke
The Moosepath League (4… 1 is still on loan…you know who you are), by Van Reid
The Mark of the Lion (3), by Francine Rivers
Lives of the Great Composers
The NY Philharmonic Guide to the Symphony
Just Plain Useful
The Fiction Editor, the Novel, and the Novelist, by Thomas McCormack
Travel Guides (15)
OK, and then at the end I would (hypothetically of course) throw in about ten books I own but haven’t read.