Desert island books revisited… would I even survive long enough to read one?

In a former post I considered which five books I would choose to be stranded with on a desert island.

Since I have been trying unsuccessfully for two days to crack open a coconut, I am beginning to doubt I would survive as a castaway long enough to even re-read ONE of my favourite books. My failure (so far at least) with coconut opening has me wondering why when I saw the coconut in the grocery store I was compelled to buy it. I don’t think I’ve ever purchased a bag of shaved coconut. And, if there’s ever a coconut sprinkled item offered at a bake sale, funeral, or family gathering, I’m likely to skip it in favour of those sweetly indulgent squares seemingly solely fashioned out of peanut butter and miniature coloured marshmallows.

So, what was it about the coconut in the grocery store that called to me? I had a lot of time to ponder this while I waited for the coconut to freeze and subsequently bake at 200 degrees when the apparently tried and true methods of draining, hitting, twisting and hammering the coconut refused to yield its white inner flesh.

In books I’ve read and movies I’ve watched about characters being stranded on islands, the characters at least partially survived by eating coconuts. It made sense then, that the prominently displayed coconut with its outer husk still attached, like a freshly cut down prize from a  palm tree on an exotic island, would capture my attention. The coconut likely held even greater appeal than normal because I would be leaving the grocery store to step into the beginning of yet another Prairie blizzard. The impending storm was in fact the reason I was at the grocery store to stock up on supplies, although not necessarily coconuts, in the first place.

I can’t remember all of the details of The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe but I’m sure when he was stranded  on the island he ate grapes and goats to get by in addition to more romantic fare like coconuts.  Similarily, in The  Swiss Family Robinson, the family took some provisions from their sinking ship  to help them survive. Robinson_Cruose_1719_1st_edition

Still, there is something about the site of a coconut that provides the same feeling of “getting away from it all” as a “desert island” book both in the favourite book sense and as an actual desert island themed book. Although some would suggest an exotic vacation to chase the winter blues away, the combination of coconut and a good book are enough of an escape for me and much less costly.

Plus, if I did pursue a tropical vacation there is a chance my plane would go down leaving me in a real desert island situation. My inability to open a coconut would mean I’d surely starve. Worst of all, assuming I’d even thought to pack them, all of my favourite books would get wet.

What to Read: Here’s my list of Desert Island reads. What books would you want to be stranded with? You can read the classic desert island tales The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson by following the links to Project Gutenberg. Please donate to this amazing site that offers free-to-download ebooks and audio books if you can. Other great “island” classics  in my library are  Lord of the Flies and Island of the Blue Dolphins. Younger students also enjoy the Island series by Gordon Korman and the Flight 29 Down series based on the TV show developed by Stan Rogow.


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