For someone who lives in a tiny two-bedroom cottage, I have many more books than I ought. Walls of books, unsteady towers of books, a rubble of books on every surface.
I love them but they certainly cannot all come in the motorhome so I’ve sold a few, given others to charity or friends, and rather gleefully dumped several particularly tedious academic tomes in the bin. Most of the rest will go into storage. A few will come with me on the road. When I say ‘a few’, I mean about 40 …
Choosing which books to take isn’t all that hard, once you’ve convinced yourself of the need to be practical. So most of the Chosen Ones are non-fiction – books on fauna and flora, habitats, landscapes, local histories, nature writing, a fat A-Z of English towns and villages, a detailed road atlas. Then there are the books I can’t possibly live without for a year – Alan Garner’s Collected Folk Tales, The Owl Service, Thursbitch, Strandloper; Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian; Paul Bowles’ Collected Stories.
I’m also taking three books I loved as a child: BB’s Little Grey Men, Down the Bright Stream, and Brendon Chase. These are old books, first published decades before I was born. The first two are fantasy, relating the small adventures of three gnomes searching for their lost brother. The third is the story of two boys who run away from home and live in the wild for the best part of a year. If you want to know more about BB and The Little Grey Men, I recommend that you read Michael McCarthy’s lovely article ‘The debt I owe to Dodder, Baldmoney and Sneezewort’.
So there they are, my Desert Island books.
Plus the ever-expanding library in my Kindle, of course. Thank heavens for the Kindle.
What books would you take?