Jessica L. Webb’s Desert Island Books
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
First, I have so many questions about the desert island. Did I land here tragically and dramatically? Or, in true introvert fashion, did I escape to this wondrous place of solitude? For this exercise, I will assume I had some forethought in packing a few of my favourite things, including books.
The Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell
Am I cheating by including a series? Of course I am. It’s my desert island. These books are deep and dark and wonderfully character-driven. Kay Scarpetta as the lead, a chief medical officer who undertakes autopsies and investigations of the worst homicides, is intelligent and conscientious and so very human. I love the tension of her being constantly driven and constantly exhausted. Her niece Lucy is my favourite character, and not just because she’s gay. There is no character like Lucy and the series is so long, the reader gets to watch her grow up and be ever more amazing and complex.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
I read this book a long time ago when I was starting out in my (non-writing) career. I felt a little lost and a lot uncertain and this book made me feel astoundingly small and insignificant. It was exactly what I needed to help me put things into perspective.
Luca Bennett series by Carsen Taite
Another series, another cheat. But to really know and understand Luca Bennett, a wonderful disaster of a human, you need to read the series. Luca is a bounty hunter who is very good at her job and very bad at taking care of herself. I love rooting for a character while being utterly exasperated by them. Great character, great plots, great series.
Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
I have re-read this book so many times. This story is beautifully written and beautifully crafted. It is a true escape into another time and I feel like I live the main character’s life along with her for the whole book.
Of Echoes Born by ‘Nathan Burgoine
This is a collection of short stories with interwoven stories and lives and the author also weaves gentle, sweet magic into each narrative. There is comfort and heart in every word and every page of this collection and I think those are things I would need on a desert island.
Tailor-Made by Yolanda Wallace
Another favourite re-read. Following Grace and Dakota as they meet and fall in love, set against a back-drop of challenging gender norms and gender expression, gets me every time. There are no head games and angst with these two, just true connection and the need to figure out each other, their own hearts, and their future.
My Song Choice
My favourite song in the whole world is ‘Angel from Montgomery’ and I would like it sung by one of my favourite singer-songwriters, Kate Reid. To me, this combination is perfection.
this one stumped me. My immediate thought is chocolate. But also maybe a pen and paper. But also maybe a washer and dryer because I love doing laundry. Or maybe something practical like a multi-tool. Or sunscreen. Or a picture of my family. A shovel? A deck of cards? A water purification system? My favourite hoodie? I can’t choose, I have crumbled under the pressure.
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