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IWSG: Desert Island Inventory: Books for a Transition

Monthly IWSG Corner

Some time between in post-fifties Britain before the ‘Sixties’ revolution, BBC Radio aired a weekly show, Desert Island Disks, allowing a celebrity castaway to a fictional ‘desert island’ to take with him a handful of favored tunes, to accompany him in his exultant solitude.

Some of you will know I recently moved lock, stock and library shelves to a new abode [PDT is my excuse for being three hours late, Alex]. And while my internet hiccups continue—I know, it’s getting boring—I seem to have discovered a Desert Island Inventory of my own.

Higgledy piggledy among a few other life-enhancing objects—my possessions recently completed a circuit by sea from Europe to North America via the Panama Canal. I add quickly, I did not. I came the other way. And while I am still ‘camping out’, I’m gradually able to open a few boxes, and thought the readers/hoarders/collectors among us IWSGers might enjoy what came out of the first couple of cartons. I swear I didn’t pack them—this was movers’ choice. Isn’t it interesting to see one’s life flash before one’s eyes?

There follows a sample of my lifetime reading—as they emerged from the box. In the opinion of some, a ‘wasted youth’; but IMHO, Goodreads, eat your heart out.

Robert Heinlein's seminal work: Stranger in a Strange Land; moved a generation

Robert Heinlein’s seminal work: Stranger in a Strange Land; moved a generation

Joseph Conrad: Outcast of the Islands, Limited Ed. Avon, CN 1979
Frank Herbert: God Emperor of Dune, Berkley Books [Putnam’s], 1981
Arthur C. Clarke: Childhood’s End, Penguin, 1963
Arthur C. Clarke: 2010 Odyssey Two, Penguin, 1986
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary—on historical principles—Vol. II N-Z, Clarendon Oxford, 1965 (‘shorter’ edition requires only mild magnifying glass)
William Golding: Lord of the Flies, Capricorn [Putnam’s] New York 1959
Fred Hoyle: Astronomy, MacDonald, London, 1962
Robert Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land, Berkley, 1975
Jeffrey Archer: As the Crow Flies, Coronet, Hodder & Stoughton 1991 [no apology]
Shirley MacLaine: Dancing in the Light, Bantam New York, 1987
[in my suitcase as current reading are:
Shirley MacLaine: Going Within,
Ken Carey: Return of the Bird Tribes so I guess my reading habits alter little!]
Victor Hugo: Notre Dame of Paris, Vols I, II & IV[??] Dent London, 1899
Lewis Carroll: Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Ox,U.P. 1979
Mrs Gaskell: Cranford, Nelson, London 1945

Illustration from Reign of King Herla in Fairyland

Illustration from Reign of King Herla in Fairyland

True Annals of Fairyland in the Reign of King Herla, Dent London Dutton NY, prob. 1940s
Wallis Budge, E.A., Egyptian Book of the Dead—Papyrus of Ani, Dover NY, 1967
Evans-Wentz, W.Y. Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries Oxford Univ. Press, 1911
Concise Oxford Dictionary [don’t ask; handier single volume] Oxford Univ. Press, 1976
Aldous Huxley: Point Counterpoint, Chatto & Windus, London 1938
Thornton Wilder: The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Penguin (2 copies?), 1966, 1971
Innes of Learney, Lord Lyon: Scots Heraldry, Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1945
Lyall Watson: Heaven’s Breath, A Natural History of the Wind, Hodder & Stoughton, London 1984
Harriet Beecher Stowe: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Sunday School Union, Ludgate Hill, London 1896
G.Brook-Shepherd: The Last Habsburg, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1968
L & J Laing: Picts and Scots, Sutton, Stroud, 1996
Marion Campbell: The Dark Twin, Colonsay, Argyll, 1973
E.B. Lytton: Last Days of Pompeii, King, London 1832
Bros. Grimm: Household Tales, Dover, London 1963
P.D. James: A Taste for Death, Faber London, 1986
Lyall Watson: Lifetide—Biology of the Unconscious, Coronet 1980
J.V.Luce The End of Atlantis, Paladin [Thames-Hudson], 1973
J.C.Lilly: Centre of the Cyclone, an autobiography of Inner Space Paladin [Thames-Hudson], 1974
J.C.Lilly: The Human Computer; Abacus, 1968
David Austin's Mary Rose old English shrub rose

David Austin’s Mary Rose old English shrub rose

New Oxford Book of English Verse, OUP, 1972
S.Rushdie: The Satanic Verses, Viking, London, 1988
Taylor Caldwell: Dear and Glorious Physician, Fontana/Collins, 1959
Vera Brittain: Testament of Youth, V. Gollancz, London, 1985
Rbt. Burns: Poetic Works, Kilmarnock edition, Scot.Daily Express, Glasgow. 1938.
E.A. Poe: Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Bracken, London, 1987
Salley H.E. & Greer, H.E.: Rhododendron Hybrids, Batsford London, 1986
David Austin: English Roses, RHS, Kew London, 1997
Reader’s Digest Great Illustrated Dictionary, Vol. II L-Z, 1984

One bonus to having even a single volume of the last item: it comes in handy when the wireless goes … I won’t mention it again… but round here, the internet service isn’t called Suddenlink for no reason…
I suspect you’re getting a little insight into my dilemma.
Onward and upward.

Once again, my thanks to Alex and his team of stalwart IWSGers. And a teeny weeny apology for not getting to press under the midnite deadline, EST. Raps own knuckles. Will try better next time.

And, BTW, oh so HAPPY MAY!
©2013 Marian Youngblood


May 2, 2013 - Posted by | authors, culture, fiction, publishing, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Suddenlink? Wow, that is aptly named.
    You have a nice selection of science fiction titles there.

    Comment by Alex J. Cavanaugh | May 2, 2013 | Reply

    • Thought you would like, Alex …:) Isaac A and Martian Chronicles must be in another box—hehe. I told you I had a misspent youth! Thanks for letting me in again this month ‘under the wire’…

      Comment by siderealview | May 3, 2013 | Reply

  2. Hi- My name is Shannon and I am with Suddenlink. I am sorry to hear you are having trouble with your service and would be happy to help resolve. Please email me at shannon-AT-suddenlink-DOT-com. Thank you!

    Comment by sdlshannonhannon | May 2, 2013 | Reply

    • Oops, Shannon: thank you for being so on the ball! I’m sure it’s not your fault; somebody cut the line along the volcanic fault here as a prank, but they seem to like doing it whenever another ‘rattle’ comes…

      Comment by siderealview | May 3, 2013 | Reply

  3. Hi, Marion, Thanks for an interesting book list….I also have found many of these to be quite valuable.

    Happy Spring to you, too, Nancy

    Comment by Nancy Talbot | May 2, 2013 | Reply

    • That’s affirmative, Nancy. How did I guess you would be a ‘Desert Island’ type?! Hope you are well & ready for action …

      Comment by siderealview | May 3, 2013 | Reply

  4. That’s quite a list. Should come in handy with suddenlink, but who has time to read when they’re keeping one eye on the volcano?

    Comment by M. J. Joachim | May 3, 2013 | Reply

    • MJ thanks for this: I tried to reciprocate on your EXCELLENT blog & blogspot wouldn’t let me in… or shall I blame it on the suddenness of my linky-link? Sorry. Maudlin has taken over. Love your wisdom.

      Comment by siderealview | May 3, 2013 | Reply

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