Friday, July 10, 2015

That Desert Island Thing

R.T., on Beyond Eastwood, issued a challenge to come up with a six-pack of last reads.  I struggled for a while and came up with six, but I'm unhappy with the list because there are so many others I want to include.  In addition. I didn't include any works that I hadn't already read, or rather completely read.  I'm now almost 3/4 of the way through Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time, and I've come nowhere near reading all of Frost's poetry, and I still have a few plays by Shakespeare to read. 

So, I'm going to modify R.T.'s .challenge a bit and expanded it to the magic Ten, so popular among all sorts of listings.  This will be my response to the Desert Island Challenge of Last Reads:  Which ten books would you want to be marooned with you on that Desert Island Paradise?

Shakespeare:  complete plays and poems

Proust:  In Search of Lost Time

Anthony Powell:  A Dance to the Music of Time

Frost:  complete poems and plays

Melville:  Moby Dick

Thomas Mann:  The Magic Mountain

Walter van Tilburg Clark: The City of Trembling Leaves

Loren Eiseley:  The Immense Journey

Jane Austen:  Mansfield Park or Persuasion  (a last minute decision)

Lawrence Durrell:  The Alexandria Quartet

George Eliot:  Middlemarch

Miklos Banffy:  The Transylvanian Trilogy
This is something I'm taking a chance on as I haven't read any of the three works.  However, the reviews sound interesting, and my father was born in what is now Transylvania, so I thought I would risk adding this trilogy.  The work is set in pre-WWI Hungary and is the account of two cousins who followed two very different paths.

Those who are less math challenged than I am will have noted that there are twelve works listed here-not ten.  Well, if one starts out with a six-pack, then it's only logical to expand to two six-packs, isn't it?

  I'm now working on a third six-pack, so I'd  better stop here.


  1. Bravo! I like your choices. And I applaud your ambitions, especially as they involve a 3rd six-pack.
    However, I have a confession. In one of my dark moments, when my mind was inhabited by trolls and demons, I think I must have deleted my six-pack posting (i.e., I do not find it, and I have only a vague recollection of its former existence, and no recollection of its content); so, I have no idea what I listed. And I am astonished that you remembered the substance of my posting since I -- with my increasingly damaged mind -- had already forgotten all about it. In short, your posting reminds me that my mind is in worse shape than I have been willing to admit. Even now, I am babbling and meandering. Enough!

    1. R.T.,

      I created the draft of this immediately after reading your posting, so it really isn't a matter for memory. I find that writing things down immediately helps to fix them in memory and also to provide necessary information when I need it--since I will probably have forgotten it several days later.

  2. I don't think Moby Dick will help much with boat-building. Although, perhaps you wouldn't want to escape the island paradise.

    I wasn't even aware that Frost wrote any plays! For poetry, Frost would be good for me, although I might want to go with Sandburg instead. Or live it up and bring both.

    Aside from possibly Frost, the only one on your list which I might take would be The Alexandria Quartet. I've never read it, but have always heard of it and always mean to read it.

    A couple of mine would be Atlas Shrugged and The Count of Monte Cristo. Nice fat books that are tried and true reads for me.

    1. madamevauquer,

      On the other hand, if I should manage to kill a whale, then I shall have just what I need to know to be able to butcher it.

      Actually with that stack, it will be quite a while before I consider something like exiting my Desert Paradise.

      Frost wrote 4? plays, but I doubt if he really ever expected anyone to actually put them on stage. I especially like _A Masque of Reason_ which has four characters: God, Job, Job's wife, and Satan.

      Lawrence Durrell: one of my all-time favorite English writers. _Justine_ was an assigned reading when I was in grad school and I was so taken by it that I eventually read almost everything Durrell has written, many at least twice so far--perhaps three times for the "Alexandria Quartet.".

    2. Thanks, Fred. I'm putting Durrell on my list.

    3. madamevauquer,

      I shall be interested in hearing what you think of Durrell.

  3. Fred, though I have already forgotten my previously posted (and apparently erased) six-pack, I will reconsider preparing and posting a reincarnation of such a list, but I will do so with several conditions: (1) I will limit the list to six books; (2) I will limit the list to books I have wanted to read but have thus far neglected; (3) I will set a deadline [no irony intended] for my reading of those six books. So, stay tuned at Beyond Eastrod for that six-pack, and if I forget to post it soon, please send me a gentle reminder (e.g., "Hey, snap out of it you old fart! Post the damned list!").

    1. R. T.,

      Have no fear--I shall be awaiting your list.