Which author would you choose for a deserted island?

Desert island image courtesy of rikahi, Morguefile.

Today my sense of frivolity has taken over (or maybe it’s all the cruise ship commercials I’ve seen on TV — who says there is no such thing as subliminal advertising?), so I’m doing a fun poll. Remember those questions about being stuck on a deserted island? Usually, these island questions ask you which famous actor or actress you would select or the three books you would pick to take with you. So I’m being contrary…Which authorΒ would you take with you to a deserted island? (Okay, okay, you can have two or three authors, if you like. Don’t look at me like that.)

Although I’m tempted to say that I would take my favorite performing artists with me (hey, who wouldn’t?), honesty makes me admit practicality would win out. I figure it this way: If I’m going to go and get myself stuck on an island, I’d want three things. Those three things would be some method of making fire, a U.S. Navy Seal (one of those guys with skills — send them into the wilderness with a knife and a Q-tip and they build you a shopping mall) and a boat builder. We would work through the day to build shelters, outwit any wild animals with bad attitudes, scavenge for food and drink, and get the boat built. (Cue the music: theme song from “Lost”.)

However…at the end of the day when the work was done and it was time to rest, we would gather around the campfire to relax. And that’s where the storyteller would come in. Β I tell some good stories (and even a tall tale from time to time for fun — ask my relatives), but a master storyteller would keep us entertained. So my picks for authors would probably be somebody like Isak Dinesen (a.k.a. Karen Blixen and the author of Out of Africa), James Thurber (he’d be funny) or Agatha Christie (she’d keep us guessing with her mystery stories and keep our brains active).

So, blog readers, have some fun with this poll: Which authors would you bring to a deserted island and why?


Filed under Writing

46 responses to “Which author would you choose for a deserted island?

  1. I would take Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, for sure. πŸ˜€ And not just him, also Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall because they are my favorite adventure writers (I only read one book authored by them, though, and it’s Men Against the Sea).

  2. I would choose C.S. Lewis. πŸ™‚ He could tell all kinds of exciting tales which happen in worlds, but he could also give us something deep to think about with his more philosophical ideas. He also seems like the sort of person who would have a good sense of humor even if he was stuck with only a few people on a deserted island which would be helpful. πŸ˜‰

  3. Saying as how if you took the authors then the island would no longer be deserted, I’ll go for a book instead. In this predicament I’d like to have a copy of “How to Build and Sail Small Boats – Canoes – Punts and Rafts.” Tony Read (Editor) πŸ˜‰

  4. I’d take C.S. Lewis. He’d keep me entertained and enlightened with his stories and philosophies.

  5. J. G. Burdette

    Charles Herbert Lightoller (he did after all write his autobiography) because he was shipwrecked enough and Wyn Craig Wade who wrote a very well done book on the Titanic. I would like to hear what Wade’s other thoughts on the disaster might’ve been. And Karen Schwabach. Her juvenile historical fiction is pretty good.

    • J. G. Burdette

      Oh and Henry James. I’d like to ask him why his ‘The Portrait of a Lady’ was so hideously long. I’m one of those people who isn’t a big fan of his classic.

    • Karen Schwabach

      J.G., you’re on, and thank you. But will there be Internet access on this island? And coffee? Because those are important things.

      • I’ll get my Navy Seal, the guy with skills, to build a Starbucks. Those Seals can do anything and we must have civilization on this island, after all. πŸ˜‰

      • J. G. Burdette

        I’m not a coffee drinker, but I sure would miss the Cokes if they weren’t available. Hmmm, Internet. We might be able to swing it. πŸ˜€

  6. Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, and let’s see, a mix of Steve Berry/James Rollins. All modern authors, I know, but they do tell good long stories!

  7. Harper Lee so I could grill her on why she didn’t write another book. And then force her to sit at the typewriter until she did. Provided you are allowing typewriters on your deserted island.

  8. I’d take Haruki Murakami or Stieg Larsson! Haruki for the out of this world entertainment and Stieg for the cunning twists in his investigative ‘stories’! Problem is, I will probably be up all night glued to whatever story they’re about to share. =-)

  9. Jane Austen. I shouldn’t need to explain why. πŸ˜‰

  10. Well, Agatha Christie, the whodunnit queen, for sure. There’s a joke about her that says that if a Martian was to have read only her novels (while researching what Earth was all about, probably), he’d expect a dead body in every living room and a skeleton in every closet. And then there’s P.G. Wodehouse. The man whose wry humour leaves you in awe of his genius convoluted plots, and with characters that leave you wondering how on earth, once upon a time, the sun never set on the British Isles!

  11. Agatha Christie for some good old-fashioned crime, Peter Robinson for true gritty crime and Carl Hiaasen purely for his humourous writing style and I figure that after reading all those crime novels, I will undoubtedly need some fun reading to lighten my mood!

  12. Hemingway to pick his brain on his writing style and travel history and to be sure to have a constant flow of booze to dull the sunburn; J.R.R. Tolkien for his imagination, scary monsters in the dark, and impeccable planning abilities, and Josephine Tey for the mysteries of history.

  13. Tennessee Williams. I love a decadent Southern story.

  14. Interesting question — I think I’ll take Ray Bradbury.

  15. I’d have to have Jane Austen. I can read her books over and over and over (and over…) and never get tired of them. L.M. Montgomery, for a little comfort reading. And can I bring a poet? I’m sure I would have days when I’d need e.e. cummings in my life.

    • Sure, you can bring a poet. I’m allowing a Starbucks, chocolate, Internet service and a typewriter, so why not a poet like e.e. cummings? Although we’d have to invite Ogden Nash, too, to keep him company. They could bounce ideas off one another.

  16. I think I might — at least at this moment in time — take a teen fiction author like Anthony Horowitz or even younger fiction authors like Jerry Spinelli or Louis Sachar to keep things light and entertaining, yet with the deep learnings that come with growing up.


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