Thursday, 10 July 2014

Desert Island Books

Image courtesy of: foto76 / Free Digital Photos
Time for the last instalment in our long running Desert Island Books series. The grand finale comes from ex UWTSD library Assistant, Hannah Meiklejohn, who now works for the Faculty of Art and Design. We hope you've enjoyed reading our book choices as much as we've enjoyed sharing them with you!

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 The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley because it brings back memories of bedtime reading with Dad. I have it on my Kindle but I would love to get my hands on either a first edition (1863) or an original 1916 version, which included beautifully illustrated coloured plates by Jessie Wilcox Smith. 
The second book would be Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.  The first time I read it I didn't want it to end, so I started to read each chapter twice before moving on (a fitting tribute to The Soldier Who Saw Everything Twice, I think!).  I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to read and re-read it on the island.
The third book would be The Complete works of Shakespeare.  As a single volume it would be huge - no need to worry about running out of reading material for a while.  I would start with The Tempest as the characters were trapped on an island for twelve years so I would probably be able to relate - I may even pick up a few tips!  Viola was also found shipwrecked in Twelfth Night, so I would move on to that next.   Hamlet is my favourite of Shakespeare's plays, but I have never read some of the classics like King Lear or Merchant of Venice so as well as old favourites I will have plenty of time to discover some new reading material. 
Finally for my fourth book I would bring a blank notebook.  I would use it to journal my adventures, write letters that I can never send, record my dreams, doodle, compose poems and make notes for story ideas.  If I'm on the island long enough, I might even finish writing a novel (one can dream…)
If you could bring one of the characters to life, for company, who would you choose and why?
The Water Babies has some wonderfully named characters (such as Mrs. Doasyouwouldbedoneby) but I would without a doubt choose somebody from Catch 22.  While a doctor would come in handy, I wouldn't get much use out of Doc Daneeka.  As well as being selfish and unwilling to help others, he is also officially dead (he even gives up telling people he’s alive as no one believes him).  It would not be Milo Minderbinder.  Using flawless, circular logic he would no doubt convince me to do all the work on the island, and let him take all the credit.  I would love to spend some time with Yossarian, but I think the obvious choice, given my setting, would be Orr.  Orr is a genius at constructing apparatus.  We'll keep warm, cool, dry, clean and eventually when I'm bored of the island we'll build a boat and row all the way to Sweden.  Good ol' Orr.
You can have one luxury item on the island with you…what would it be?
A camera and a HD card with the largest memory capacity you can have.  It would need to be operational for my whole ‘strandedness’ so maybe it will be a wind up or solar powered one.  I'm assuming this island gets plenty of sun.  Can I also have a good zoom lens for getting shots of insects and animals?  I’d love to do a time lapse of the islands’ movements.  I have to take pictures everywhere I go. #DesertIslandSelfie  - that’s a thing, right?
You are rescued and can only take one book back with you…which one would
you pick?
If I did manage to find a first edition of The Water Babies I wouldn't want to leave it behind, but as precious as that would be, my notebook would be irreplaceable

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