You know that old question: “If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have 10 books, which 10 would you pick”? It’s an old question, and one that pops up on Top Ten lists all the time. In fact, I’ve already done a post like this, back in 2018! At the time, the Top Ten Tuesday meme had a lot of great answers I’d ever thought of… including books that would actually be useful on a desert island.
Honestly, I always interpreted that questions as “you’re stuck on an island, what books would you read over and over again”? … But, yeah, I suppose sensible science and medical texts would make sense.
Now, exactly two years later, I want to revisit this list. A lot has changed!
To clarify the purpose of this list – these are books I love. The reason why this is called my “Crossing” booklist is because it’s inspired by The Queen of the Tearling. As we found out in that trilogy, passengers to the New World were limited to 10 books of personal (not practical) value. Books were heavy, and whole libraries could not be taken. These books were cultural works that were close to peoples’ hearts, not textbooks or guides.
And, two years later, I’d like to update my list!
Of my original 2018 list, only 5 books remain:
- The Hunger Games
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Anne of Green Gables
- Tess of the Road
- The Book Thief
I think the reason for that is … I’ve changed as a person. I’ve changed, and I’ve read a lot more books. Whenever I tack a book to my “favorites” list, I take a look at my top ten and ask myself, “Did I enjoy this more than any of these other books?” and sometimes… the answer is yes. I replaced The Night Circus with The Starless Sea, for example. I loved The Night Circus, but The Starless Sea captured my heart better. In another two years, I wouldn’t be surprised if another 5 different books appeared.
I think lately, one of my biggest motivations has been variety in setting. Of the new books, I’ve added one set in the American West (Walk on Earth a Stranger) and one with and odd but intriguing pair of girls who ate a bat (Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future) and I’ve never read anything like it, so it captured me in that way.
While I can’t say, still, that these books would be culturally enriching to a new society of modern pilgrims, I do think they are wonderful books I’d be excited to share with others. And certainly ones I would want to read again and again on a long sea voyage. In fact, I did read both The Book Thief and The Starless Sea on sea voyages, so I can personally recommend them from experience!
Are any of these books on your top ten? What books would you take with you on a journey where you only got to bring 10, but had to leave all the rest behind? I’d love to hear your choices, so let me know in the comments!