This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, BrokeandBookish‘s bookish linkup for bloggers, is about your top ten Summer Beach Reads. Confession: I don’t really read at the beach. If I’ve gone all the way to the beach, if I’ve actually put on a bathing suit, slathered myself in soupy, greasy sunscreen, if I’m enduring the heat and the salty air and the hoards of people running around, I’m getting into the water. I’m spending all my time in the water. I can’t sit out in the sun; I burn. And I don’t want my books to get sand all creased between the pages! I’m really not the person to be compiling a list of summery fun beach reads.
So, I thought I would cheat a little.
You know what has a beach? A deserted island. That’s where I’m taking this Tuesday Top Ten: I’ve been in a plane crash, or my boat has shipwrecked, or I’ve won some kind of contest where I get to spend a month on a deserted island (is this a prize or a punishment??) — and I’ve been left on a beach with no other person in sight. I’ve got a source of fresh water, trees loaded with fruit and nuts, and a knapsack with some very useful reading material, because I just so happened to have come prepared.
So, what books would be actually, genuinely useful if you’re stranded on the sandy stretches of a deserted island’s beach?
1. Hatchet, Gary Paulsen — I feel like this would be a really useful book to have with you. Brian is a 13 year-old boy who crash lands in a forest-y area. He has to learn to make his own shelter and fire, find food, and survive until help arrives. Surely you can glean something from this, even if it’s just solidarity at not being the only person stranded!
2. Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe — Robinson Crusoe is literally shipwrecked and wakes up on a beach! I’m sure there are descriptions of his crafting shelter, hunting, and keeping himself sane as he survives for years all alone.
3. Swiss Family Robinson, Johann David Wyss — A whole family is shipwrecked and have to learn how to survive on a deserted island. And, I mean, if I can learn how to build a treehouse half as impressive, I’ll consider the book worth reading.
4. Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O’Dell — this is one of my mom’s favorite books, about a girl whose tribe and family are killed and is forced to live by herself on a deserted island for eighteen years. There are lots of descriptions of foraging for food, killing animals, fighting off wild animals. It’s also a super heartbreaking book, so I’ll read it when I’m feeling particularly awful about my situation and want to either wallow, or remind myself it could be worse.
5. The Odyssey, Homer — A classic story of a guy trying to get home, with the very sea god Poseidon rooting against him. This’ll remind me that, whatever the obstacles, perseverance will get me back home. Plus this’ll keep me entertained for a while because the story is actually kind of NUTS, and will remind me that no matter what dangers are on this deserted island, it’s not nearly as bad as a Cyclops or Sirens, or six headed monsters.
6. Lord of the Flies, William Golding — GEEZ, these kids are stranded on a beach for a little bit and basically GO NUTS. There should be some good descriptions of finding food and shelter … and of turning against each other and murdering a kid, if that’s something I want to read about.
7. The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway — I’m living on a beach, maybe I’ll get super into fishing??
8. SAS Survival Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere, John Wiseman — I looked up survival books on Amazon, and this topped the list. It’s got advice for shelter, first aid, what to do in a disaster — totally helpful to have crammed in the (by now very heavy) carry-on.
9. The Mysterious Island, Jules Verne. I found this post, 10 Thrilling Imaginary Island Novels, that says this about The Mysterious Island: “Jules Verne wrote other castaway stories, but this one featured a balloon wreck as well as impressive displays of human survival skills, tons of ecological details, and a diverting plot.” Survival skills and ecological details, this is the kind of stuff that might be useful on a deserted island!!
10. Physician’s Desk Reference. Hollowed out. Inside: waterproof matches, iodine tablets,beet seeds, protein bars, NASA blanket, and, in case I get bored, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — No, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. What? Dwight Schrute would approve.
What about you? What books (fictional or non-fiction) do you think would actually provide you some skills or solace if you were stranded on an island? And link me to your own (probably obedient, non-cheating, on-topic) Tuesday Top Ten!