Based on the BBC radio programme ‘Desert Island Discs’, we’ve adapted this idea to ask castaways to list up to eight books, one song and one luxury item that they couldn’t do without on a desert island.
The rules are fairly simple, any type of book can be selected, but we ask that at least half are lesfic. Choices should be justified in a paragraph or two. Any type of music is allowed. The luxury item must be inanimate and of no use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside.
My Book Choices
So, fun fact … when I was a child, I used to play a game I called Stranded Island (hey, I was 8), no doubt inspired by the airing of Swiss Family Robinson on the Wonderful World of Disney, which I watched religiously every Sunday night. I had a diary and everything, as I spent my days imagining the difficulties of living on an island, isolated from the rest of the world. In other words … early training for Desert Island Books.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Not only is this one of my favorite books, it is also my favorite movie (1940 version, of course). Since I can’t watch the movie on my island, I will read the book and manifest the movie in my head. Only a pinch of sapphic here (Mrs. Danvers, obviously). Watching the naïve heroine tumble into the dark web of Manderley’s secrets and claw her way out again is a delight.
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier
It is not as famous as Rebecca, but, IMHO, is DuMaurier’s best. It’s hard to explain what I love about this book without blabbing the spoilers, but I think of Rachel often—her situation, her motives—and wonder whether I will ever really know her or whether I really want to. If you’ve read the book, let’s talk (before I get banished to this island for eternity). No sapphic content.
Alone by E.J. Noyes
I mean, it’s only fitting, right? I could probably write my own version of Alone after being on this dang island, but E.J. already did this brilliantly. A fascinating study of the psychological effects of being alone. Pro tip: if you’re taking this book to your island, listen to the audiobook (read by Abby Craden) before you go. Divine. You’re welcome.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This book took me totally by surprise. I was drawn to the cover immediately, didn’t read the blurb or the reviews before purchasing (which is unusual for me), and I was immediately captivated by the story. Old time Hollywood is my jam. I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a sapphic love story, and then, of course, bought stock in Kleenex. It has become a favorite, and I will return to it often. (As if being marooned on a desert island isn’t enough to make you cry.)
Casting Lacey by Elle Spencer
I’m a huge Elle Spencer fan, so she was getting on my island for sure. I love the fake romance trope, and extra points if it’s a celeb fake romance. This book kept me up all night turning pages. It is my comfort book (and I’ll need it after Evelyn Hugo).
Satisfaction Guaranteed by Karelia Stetz-Waters
I just loved this book! Selena made me laugh out loud, and if I’m stranded on a desert island, why not bring a funny, charming romance between co-owners of a sex toy shop to keep me … warm. Amiright?
The Blood We Spill by Jo Havens
A few things. I am not usually a sci-fi reader. The idea of a long book gives me pause (though I write them), and the assassin-to-lover trope is a neat trick that isn’t easily pulled off (unless you’re Lee Winter). This book drew me in immediately and made me forget all those things. The world-building is amazing, and Cie (the assassin) is burned into my brain forever. It’s dark and gritty, and exquisite all at once. As a bonus, the author is a pal, so it’s sort of like having a friend on the island. A friend who shreds her characters and puts them back together again.
Uncharted (The Pirate & Her Princess Book 1) by Alli Temple
This one had me at the gorgeous cover. Throw in princesses and lady-loving pirates? Heck yeah! This story is a rollicking adventure/fantasy tale that will have me dreaming of a pirate ship rescue (please, please, please).
My Song Choice
Oh, this was hard. I mean really hard, because music is about mood—do I want to set the mood or feed the mood? I had four choices in mind. One haunting, one an uplifting swing tune that I just adore, one an operatic duet that is the most beautiful piece of music evah, and, finally, an emotional tune that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it (and also compels me to belt it out at the top of my lungs).
The last two were neck and neck, but fearing my singing would scare away the only companions I have on the island (the wildlife … there is wildlife, right?), I went with the operatic duet.
Delibes’ “The Flower Duet” (from Lakmé) performed by Katherine Jenkins & Kiri Te Kanawa
This is such a delicate piece of music. The ladies are singing a harmony that is only a few notes apart and the effect is stunning. This is my favorite pairing for this piece. (Honestly, Kiri Te Kanawa anything!)
I’m practical, and I’m a lesbian. Multi-tool. I will need it to MacGyver a still.
About JE Leak
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My lesbian noir Shadow Series is available at all the places in e-book, paperback, and audiobook:
In the Shadow of the Past (Shadow Series Book 1)
In the Shadow of Love (Shadow Series Book 2)
In the Shadow of Truth (Shadow Series Book 3) Now available for preorder!
In the Shadow of Victory (Shadow Series Book 4) Now available for preorder!
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