Monday, 19 May 2014

Desert Island Books...

Image Courtesy of: BrandonSigma / Free Digital Photos
More from our Desert Island Books series...this week we have some great contributions from Elaine Sharpling who is a member of the University's Education staff. Great choice of luxury item Elaine...!

If you were stranded on a desert island which 4 books would you like to have with you and why?

My first choice would be Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake. Each pair of poems speaks of the journey from innocence to experience and debates whether it is better to remain ignorant of all life’s trials and tribulations or to live life to the full.

Following a bit of a theme here, my second choice would be a children’s book: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Di Camillo. This is the tale of a china rabbit who spends his days looking at a pristine white tablecloth. One day, his life suddenly changes when he embarks on an adventurous journey. Again, the story asks the question of whether taking a risk in life is more fulfilling than staying behind the front door! Perhaps it will help to explain why I have arrived on the island in the first place.

Third choice…mmmm… I am rather fond of the shipping forecast on Radio 4 and have a romantic picture of a rugged ship’s captain glued to the radio listening for the weather in Dogger Bank. I have a lovely book called Rain Later, Good by Peter Collyer and I would add this to my list.  He takes each shipping forecast area and conjures up these mythical locations using detailed drawings and poetry. I could pretend I was a radio presenter and invent a shipping forecast each morning.

Lastly, I will not be very patient on this island and may be prone to the odd complaint. To help me put this into perspective, I should like a very big book on the Lives of the Saints. Perhaps then, I will be a better person when I am rescued!

If you could bring one of the characters to life, for company, who would you choose and why?

I don’t think I would like William Blake as company for a lengthy period as poets tend to be a bit solitary and a china rabbit might be a bit limiting and somewhat delicate. There are no actual characters in the Rain Later Good book so I think I will go for a good selection of saints; Thomas Aquinas, John Fisher and Thomas More.  They would offer a nice mix of being interesting and scholarly and then they will wander off for more contemplative moments and leave me to practise my shipping forecast.

You can have one luxury item on the island with you…what would it be?

A big bottle of Chanel 5 perfume please.

You are rescued and can only take one book back with you…which one would you pick?

Do you know, I think I will leave them all behind for the next shipwrecked person. Would that not be the start of an island library?

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