Monday, 10 March 2014

Desert Island Books...

Image courtesy of: winnond / Free Digital
We're continuing our Desert Island Books series this week with some fab contributions from Mike Swanson in our IT Services department. Looks like he's given this some serious thought!
If you'd like to contribute your literary choices, there's still time, email me at

        If you were stranded on a desert island which 4 books would you like to have with you and why?
J.R.R Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” {trilogy in one volume}  I have been reading {& re- reading } this since my early teens and I am able to lose myself in the text and in Middle Earth
Quite easily again and again. It simply never disappoints and, although I wouldn’t ever admit to it, I always cry when Sam leaves the shire at the end. {ooh, spoiler alert!}
“Dune”  Frank Herbert. I would probably take the first three if I could get away with it. Dune’s mighty sweeping dynastic saga is distracting enough to take your thoughts away from missing family or where the next fish is coming from and how to cook the thing once you catch it. The intrigue, plots,  wheels within wheels, subterfuge, assassination, war and politics keep you gripped throughout the convoluted and complicated plot.  Not the easiest of reads but very enjoyable.
“A Short History of Nearly Everything”  Bill Bryson. Mr Bryson is ever amusing and I have frequently laughed out loud in public places (yes, even in libraries) while reading his books, I challenge you to get through “Down Under” without guffawing.   “A Short History..” is Bryson’s description of evolution, geography, chemistry, astronomy, physics and everything in between written in a light and easy style, you can’t read it without learning something and I’m sure there’d be content of use on a desert island in here.
While we are on the subject “The SAS Survival Handbook” by Lofty Wiseman is probably the most sensible selection to take along, I think I’d like to survive the Island and maybe escape it so this is definitely on the book list.  I had a copy in my teens and bought one for my son this Christmas.  You just never know when you might need to splint a limb or skin a deer.  This book tells you how.
        If you could bring one of the characters to life, for company, who would you choose and why?
Why not the doughty Boromir? Heir apparent to the Stewardship of Gondor, High Warden of the White Tower. He is bound to have many stories to tell to while away the long warm, moon kissed island nights while sitting baking fish around the campfire he could certainly build and light from even the dampest beached wood or fallen palm. The capture and preparation of fish and wild pigs would be second nature to this adventurous captain and we need fear no savages or pirates while in his fierce and steadfast company.  Certainly he may not always have your best interests at heart, but this is only because he loves his own city, people and land and would give up anything to preserve them, even his own honour and dignity.  What better companion could you ask for?
        You can have one luxury item on the island with you…what would it be?
I’m not sure you’d call it a luxury, but a Machete is probably essential; for the cutting of palm fronds for the manufacture of shoes, obligatory grass skirt and dapper headgear, the skinning of wild pigs, raft construction, self-defence from savages. If we really are talking luxuries, I suppose I’d like my Kindle please; and a means to keep it charged.
        You are rescued and can only take one book back with you…which one would you pick?
“The Lord of the Rings”. I have to admit I do treasure that book.



  1. What an interesting and delightful contribution. I think I'll go and find a copy of "Down Under" right away!

  2. You can't go wrong with Bill Bryson!