Deserted Island Books

Good morrow, friend Reader! First, a little housekeeping.

There is still plenty of time to sign up if you’d like to help out in some way with the launch of Yorien’s Hand in January! Release Day is pretty much covered as of right now, but I have lots of slots open on Tuesday-Friday of release week, so make sure you look over the Google Form (you can find it HERE) and see if there’s any way you might be willing to help spread the word about my next book! If you pick an interview or a guest post, I do most of the work… you’re just lending me your blog-space for a bit. Also, if you know any bloggers who enjoy learning about new books, feel free to let them know about the launch party! I’m also planning a facebook party to celebrate… not on release day, but maybe that Friday to kind of wrap up launch week… keep an ear out for more details on that!

Also, January 4-9th, my blogging friend Heidi is having a Cinderella-themed New Year’s Ball. For more information on how you can be involved in setting up the decorations or with the catering, please visit her BLOG. (You are also more than welcome to simply attend in a lovely dress if you don’t have a blog or the time or energy to write up a review of a Cinderella retelling of a book or movie).

I now have a profile set up on BookBub – a site that is dedicated to letting readers know when their favorite books are on sale or free. I’ve never been accepted on their site for a promo, but word on the street is that if you follow authors on BookBub, they will alert you when a new book is being released by any author you follow. Kinda cool. You can find me on the site HERE.

Okay, I think that’s all the announcements I have for now. On to today’s blog post!

I totally missed this, but back at the beginning of November (where was I? Oh… that’s right…) Joy over at Fullness of Joy tagged little ol’ me for a fun game of “If you were stuck on a deserted island, what 8 books would you really want to have with you?” I guess she was inspired by the #DesertedIslandReads hashtag floating around on twitter. Anyway, it’s a neat idea! I love this sort of hypothetical question – it is exactly this kind of “question game” that caused me to fall in love with my husband as we walked around the Loop at Taylor University throughout our friendship and into our courtship period of life. It’s still an excellent exercise for road trips!

But I digress.

8 books I would want to have with me if I was stuck on a deserted island. Only eight? Sigh.

Okay, I’ll try to keep it to 8.

IMG_0947The Holy Bible – Preferably my own Bible, because I have lots of things underlined and some notes written, and it’s easy to find things in and has a fairly good concordance. But it wouldn’t really matter. Any copy of the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant Word, and if I was trapped on a deserted island all by myself, that is not just something I would want, it is something I would need in order to survive. If this was the only book I could have, it would be more than enough. The comfort and inspiration within its pages are beyond compare.

But since I get to choose more than one, the second book on the list would be this one: IMG_0951He Whistles for the Cricket by Gwen Walker. By far my favorite fictional book ever written. And not just because it was written by my Grandma, but because it is so sweet and dear and lovely. The story inside is charming and wholesome. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and I find myself re-reading it over and over again and never getting tired of it.

Another book I would want to have with me is another absolute treasure that I often re-read, and am amazed to find things inside that I missed or that hit me in a different way every time is IMG_0952Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnand. I love this book so much. It teaches me something new every time I read it. It is definitely up there on my list of, “If you don’t read anything else, read this” books.

You ought to be able to tell how much I love this book by how beat up it is. Such a great book filled with awesome truths about what the Christian walk can look like as we follow our Good Shepherd and trust Him to lead us safely through – even when everything about the path we are following looks grim and dangerous.

IMG_0950My fourth pick is a total cheat, but I absolutely cannot choose between them – the Silmarillion, Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I cannot imagine being stranded on a deserted island without being able to read my favorite fantasy books, to never spend time with Bilbo or Gandalf or Frodo or Sam, Merry, Pippen, Boromir, Aragorn, Thorin, Legolas, or Gimli again? No. They must be with me on the island. (Okay, if one of them sank with the ship to the bottom of the sea, I would rescue the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings first. (Sorry, Tolkien, but the Silmarillion is just not quite the adventure tale the others are, and while I would enjoy having it on the deserted island, it’s not as necessary as the others – would love the time to study it more closely, of course!

Taking the number 5 slot would have to be…. IMG_0955Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. This is another one I can read over and over again and I never get bored. It’s silly and a little corny, but I love it so much. Cimorene and I… we travel along the same wavelengths. I would need her pragmatism, her snarky sense of humor, and her sarcastic wit to keep me going out there on that deserted island.


Let’s see, number 6. An all-time favorite: IMG_0954Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

Billy, Anner, Danner, and everything else. This is another book I just can’t imagine being told I could never read again… so onto the island it goes. This book began my love of dog stories, and I just love it so very much.

Moving right along, we now come to number 7. And I can’t be alone on a deserted island without the story that really probably deserves most of the credit for not only being the book that sparked my love for fantasy and science IMG_0953fiction, but also the story that truly fueled my love of reading. It’s the first chapter book I can ever remember reading on my own. My dad was in the middle of reading it out loud to us and one afternoon I decided that I could not go on without knowing what happened to Meg and Charles Wallace. I had to know. Right. Then! So I snuck the book off the shelf and curled up in a corner and read the book, speeding through the chapters until I had finished. And as I closed the book, my heart knew a kind of satisfaction I had never before experienced: that of a well-told story that ends perfectly.

Thus, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle has to be on the island with me.

IMG_0948Speaking of childhood favorites that sparked a love of reading. I would definitely need to have something by Albert Payson Terhune with me. Choosing just one of his books was painful, they’re all so good: Lad of Sunnybank, Lad: A Dog, Treve, Bruce, Wolf (oh, Wolf!), The Heart of a Dog…. but in the end, the one I would want with me on the island would have to be Gray Dawn.

And that’s it.

I can do this.

Nope. No, I can’t. Two more.

Okay, taking the number nine slot on my deserted island survivors list would have to be … oh…

IMG_0962The Icarus Hunt by Timothy Zahn. I know I’ve talked about this book before, but I just love it to pieces. The mystery and twist at the end are so well written. This book is a work of art as much as it is a story. And even though I’ve read it several times, I still can never remember exactly how it ends, so it would be nice to have something along that manages to surprise me a bit every time I read it.

And here we are at the end of my list and I have so many books to choose from.

The final book I would have to have with me on my deserted island would have to be….

IMG_0956Yeah, gonna have to go with The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern. Especially if I wouldn’t be able to watch the movie again… due to not having a TV or electricity… Yep. Would need the book.

Personally, though, I’d want the “red letter” hardback edition. Not the paperback I currently own. It’s just not the same.

Christmas gift idea, anyone? haha


Okay, so that’s my list. I couldn’t leave it at that, however, so I have a row of “Honorable Mentions” because choosing 8 was obviously impossible, and having a top 10 just wasn’t quite good enough, either.


IMG_0961 IMG_0960 IMG_0959 IMG_0958


My honorable mentions are as follows:

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde – the book that introduced me to a love of “Meta Fiction” and makes me laugh like none other.

Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card – a book that blows my mind and ties itself around my heart in ways few other stories can manage.

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald – really, this book should be much higher on the list. MacDonald is a master wordsmith and though I’ve only read a fraction of what he wrote, I am always captivated by his stories, characters, and the way he weaves them together.

Wilderness Champion by Joseph Wharton Lippencott – along the lines of Where the Red Fern Grows, Gray Dawn, and He Whistles for the Cricket, this story has a sweet place in my heart. I love this kind of story.

I’d also want to have a large notebook with many pages and a pen or pencil with unlimited ink/graphite so I could write down all the stories I’m sure to think up while I’m there. (Better yet, my computer and an endless battery).

What is truly interesting about this list, to me, is how little fantasy is on it. I think that is probably because, though fantasy is my favorite genre to read, it usually comes in series. It’s hard to want to use up all 8 (er… 10… um… heheh… 14?) of my slots with a single series – and how to choose just one book out of a series? How does one choose a favorite “Tale from Goldstone Wood” for example? Or their favorite book from the Harry Potter series, or just one book from the DeathGate Cycle.

Maybe that’s what I’ll do next time. Pick a favorite book from each of my favorite fantasy series.

How about you, dear Reader? Stranded on a deserted island, with no hope of rescue or replenishing your library – what books would you want to have with you?

~ jenelle


DJ Edwardson (@djedwardson)

Oh yes, the Bible. The book by which all others fail to even measure.

Personally, I would have taken Pilgrim’s Progress in place of Hind’s Feet. The prose is a little stiffer, but the truths are so sweeping and powerful. It gives the full scope of the spiritual journey of the believer. But Hind’s Feet is also a great book.

And I’m right there with you on your Middle-Earth dilemma. How to pick just one? And they are all so different. It’s like choosing between breakfast, lunch, and dinner with your favorite selections being served for each meal!

As for a book which you didn’t mention, I’d thrown George MacDonald’s Collected Fairy Tales, specifically for the Lost Princess story. That one is a little bit like Hind’s Feet, but without the heavy handed allegory and more in the fairy tale style. So beautiful.

But hey, here’s to hoping neither of us ever get stranded on a desert island with eight books in the first place!


I have yet to read The Lost Princess, though I love MacDonald’s The Light Princess. :)

Truly, I hope never to be stranded on a deserted island… especially with only 8 books… that I probably wouldn’t get the luxury of choosing for myself. With my luck, I’d end up with Tale of Two Cities, War and Peace, the Faerie Queen, and assorted journal entries of various people that somehow made it into the Norton Anthologies of American Literature (which are NOT literature). Or something equally unpleasant.

Deborah O'Carroll

I loved this post! (And… am only just now getting around to commenting on it… *cough*) I thought I would tell you that I darted off to Goodreads to look up Icarus Hunt, because I loved Timothy Zahn’s Heir of the Empire series and haven’t read anything else by him. The second I had read the description and found out my local library has it, I added it “To Read” so fast I got whiplash. It sounds like a Firefly-esque tale done by Zahn in book form. I.e., I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE. :D



Icarus Hunt is AWESOME! I love it to pieces. It is a little Firefly-esque, come to think of it…. though nobody will ever be Malcolm Reynolds like Mal is… the crew dynamics are very different, as they are all strangers… but still quite mysterious and entertaining and has kind of a dry sense of humor that Zahn is very good at. I just love his books. I love that he doesn’t write 20-book series, but creates completely new and unique and vast worlds for each of his series, and even for something like Icarus Hunt, which is a stand-alone.


I love hearing from you, dear Reader!