Sally Green Talks To Bookbag About Her Desert Island Books

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Sally Green Talks To Bookbag About Her Desert Island Books

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Summary: Sally's hoping that she won't need a stack of 'how to' books and that she'll be able to indulge herself with some excellent books. We're just wondering how she's going to get them all there!
Date: 25 March 2014

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External links: Author's website



Of course if I was shipwrecked on a desert island the books I’d need would be the sort of thing I’ve never normally read: ‘How to’ books (how to build a shelter, how to fish, how to forage, how to make a campfire), maybe those ‘I Spy’ book (do they do one on poisonous snakes?) and a first aid book (we own one and I looked in it once - won’t open it again).

However, I’d rather imagine my desert island was a little more luxurious and I was washed up somewhere remote, but with the basics of food and shelter dealt with, so that all I have to do is while away the hours until, hopefully, a ship comes by. My books then would be companions, reminders of home and bringers of hope.


Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte.

As with most of my choices this reminds me of my past. I lived close to the moors for some years and the sense of place in this book, both the moors and the green valley will be a wonderful reminder of home. But mainly I have to take this book because it is heartbreakingly good, though I can list so many things I don’t like about it; Catherine for a start is quite horrible, and I can never be bothered to even read Joseph’s thickly written dialect, though perhaps now I’d have time to give it a go. And Heathcliff is detestable too, though he is also heart-stoppingly sexy. Whilst I don’t think Wuthering Heights is flawless, I don’t think flawlessness (if it’s even possible) is what makes a book great - it’s those bits that get to your soul that do that, and this book has lots of them.


The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

Another love story but with a very different mood and so much more hope than Wuthering Heights. There’s many reasons to choose this book. I love Miller’s writing, and the ways she has retold the story of the Iliad. It’s a reminder too for me of my grammar school days when we had to translate sections of Homer for O Level Latin. When I first read The Song Of Achilles I remembered my old school, the wooden desks, the teacher holding the book standing at the front, the sun coming in the window, Achilles fighting with a spear, Patroclus on his chariot...


The First Forty-Nine Stories - Ernest Hemingway

This is a book of short stories. One of them, ‘Big Two-Hearted River’, I first read at university and it has stayed with me. The prose is perfect - simple yet divine. It makes me realise what it’s possible to do with words. I think it will be perfect for my island as the story is about a man camping and fishing, alone with his activities and his memories. There are other great stories in here too and I do mean great.


Staying Alive - real poems for unreal times

I occasionally dip into poetry and always feel I ought to do it more often. Now I’d have the time. This collection seems to have the appropriate title.


Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

David Mitchell is one of my favourite authors. His writing is a wonderful mix of beautiful, amusing and clever. This is also about five books in one so a perfect cheat to get more story onto my island.


Ulysses - James Joyce

I’ve never read this, but I’d like to and on my island I would have no excuses.


Goodnight Moon - Margaret Wise Brown

From a very big book to a very small book. This is a board book which I used to read to my son when he was a baby. I think I’ve read it several hundred times but probably can still read it several hundred more. For memories of my son and possibly to help me to get to sleep too.


Danny, Champion of The World - Roald Dahl

Another one for memories of reading with my son and also because it’s such a great story.


Dance on My Grave - Aidan Chambers

As a writer of teen books I feel I ought to have one YA title with me. This is one that has memories of my youth as it’s written and set in the eighties. But also has memories of me trying to learn to write in 2011 and reading good Carnegie Medal winning novels to teach myself how to do it. Aidan Chambers writes beautifully with wit, compassion and originality.


Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson

A perfect title for my situation and another book I’ve not read for years, but I do remember laughing out loud at some points. I’d choose it as a reminder of home, of England, though not really the England of the twenty-first century. It is my past in time and place but hopefully will make me smile and think I’m not so badly off on my little desert island.

If you want to follow Sally's blog tour she'll be going to shelovestoread next.

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