Monday, March 02, 2009

Stuck on a Desert Island

When I am stuck for something to read, I go back to the classics. In the airport (en route to either Turin or Madrid - I can't remember which) stuck for something to read, I spotted Wuthering Heights and thought “YES!” Beside it was Jane Eyre which I had never read and thought “Perfect, not only can I go back to an old faithful but I can still read something sort of new!”    

I was quite pleased.

There is something to be said for going back and re-reading favourite books from time to time. I firmly believe that as you read them, at different ages and different times of your life, they take on new meanings. With Wuthering Heights I had always romanticized Heathcliff and Cathy as having one of the truly great love affairs. Clearly I had a romance filter firmly in place in my teenage years to think that their dark, insane and completely dysfunctional relationship was anything remotely close to a classic romance. That doesn’t make the story any less of a masterpiece; it just made me think it over again.   I love that experience. Jane Eyre - nothing short of brilliant. I have read critical opinion that it is a perfect novel. I think I have to agree: character development, plot construction, description...all exquisite. I could read it over and over again. 

I then started to think about all of the other books I could read over and over again. Which then led me to think about a game my husband and I play “If you were stuck on a desert island” – best played over a bottle of wine and nice dinner after the children go to bed. We usually play this about music (“If you could only have 5 albums on a desert island – what would they be – no greatest hits”). So I started thinking about books. If I was stuck on a desert island today and could only have 10 books, here is what they would be (in no particular order):

Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruis Zafon
Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
The World According to Garp, John Irvin

I suspect this list will be pretty fluid although I bet at least half will remain the same as time goes by.