Problems with our internet kept us off and on-line for a few days. When it was more off than on, I spent some time reading and re-watching the DVD version of The Office. One of my favourite episodes is The Fire from Season 2. When a fire starts in the kitchen, the office staff evacuate to the parking lot. While waiting for the fire department to investigate, Jim suggests a game of “Desert Island” and asks his fellow office mates to list which five books they would want to have with them if they were stranded on a desert or uninhabited island, sometimes also referred to as a deserted island although technically that would only be the correct term if the island had once been inhabited.
The prospect of having some time on a desert island with five favourite books is very appealing, and, the episode got me to wondering which books I would pick. Depending on the duration of my stay, and assuming it would be a long one, my first impulse would be to bring along the thickest books I could find. On the other hand, one of my favourite books is also one of my thinnest volumes –The Little Prince by aviator Antoine de St-Exupéry, which, suitably is about the author being stranded in a desert (which although not quite the same as being stranded on a desert island, has some similar challenges). Plus, the book would be an excellent choice to share with any children or even other adults with imagination that might be stranded on the island with me. After all, I saw the elephant inside the boa constrictor – not the hat.
That would leave me with my second choice being a toss up between two childhood books that wouldn’t be long reads either. One is my worn copy of I have a Turtle, which evident by the fact the spine and inner pages have been taped many times, was one of my favourite books my mom read to me when I was little. The book begins with the single utterance, “I have a turtle…:” and then proceeds to place the turtle in the little boy’s life by describing that the turtle is “in my mommy’s hat box… under my bed…”, etc. with corresponding illustrations of the turtle’s location. I’m not doing it justice here, but, trust me, it’s a good little book. I just googled it to try and find a link and the only mention I could find was of a much better looking copy than mine for sale on ebay.ca for $94 (pictured), not that I could ever part with my copy. Plus, I’m convinced it gave two other turtle-lovers, Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark, their inspiration for their own series of books about a turtle named Franklin.
The other slim volume I would want with me is The Teeny Tiny Woman, a short story really about a woman who is haunted by a ghostly voice repeatedly asking her to “give me my bone”. I used to love the way my mom would build up the suspense in her voice when she read me and later her grandson that book, calling out, “then take it!!!!” at the end. Both books, along with Dr. Seuss, were among the earliest books I read on my own, and, just having them with me as reminders of my mom, since passed away, would be a comfort during my desert island stay. And, since both books are so short, I’m taking the liberty of listing them as one choice.
Heavier volumes could include Christopher Paolini’s Eragon and the follow-up Eldest, which are actually my son’s favourite books. At well over 500 pages each, these two volumes of The Inheritance trilogy would keep me busy for a while. Assuming my son would be stranded with me and that we won’t be stranded until the third volume comes out, I would let him spend two choices on Eragon and Eldest and I’d use up one choice on the third book, an excerpt of which has recently been released by the author. (update: of course the third and thought to be final book would become Brisingr followed by Inheritance).
So, that leaves me with two more choices. I would definitely have to bring along Anne of Green Gables. The rules of the game likely wouldn’t let me bring along the entire Anne series, but, L.M. Montgomery’s first book is her best anyway. Emily of New Moon, her first book in the trilogy about another orphan runs a close second. So, depending on my mood the day I was actually stranded I might have either book in my possession. Both inspired me to become a writer, and Anne and L.M. herself gave me the idea that perhaps the best route to writing books that people would read would be to become a journalist first.
Before revealing my last choice, I should mention, in case you’re not an Office fan, that for her desert island book picks, Angela chooses The Bible and The Purpose-driven Life, a self-help inspirational book by Rick Warren. When Phyllis picks Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, Angela says she would take the book to the desert island and burn it, a reference to the book coming under fire for its portrayals of religious figures.
The always prepared Dwight chooses Physician’s Desk Reference, but, only because he would hollow it out and fill it up with supplies. He later adds Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to his list. Not making much headway as far as people coming up with good book ideas, Jim switches the desert island list to DVDs.
For desert movies, Meredith chooses Legends of the Fall, My Big Fat Greek Wedding (by former Winnipegger Nia Vardolos), Legally Blonde, The Bridges of Madison County, and the scence with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze throwing pottery together from Ghost. Jim and Pam make fun of the choice of Legally Blonde, and, later, when Jim’s girlfriend Katy picks Legally Blond, he abruptly ends the game.
Before he does however, Pam, one of my favourite characters, chooses Fargo, Edward Scissorhands, Dazed and Confused, The Breakfast Club, and The Princess Bride. She is about to list her “all time favourite” when she is cut off because she has already listed five. We never learn the title of Pam’s favourite DVD, however, I’m sure it will be revealed in a future episode, so, I am hesitant to speculate on what it might be.
I like some of Pam’s choices, but would exchange Fargo for The Big White, a Fargo-ish movie that was actually written by one of my friends from college. I would keep The Princess Bride for its appeal as a funny, smart fairy tale and The Breakfast Club as a reminder of my teenage life in the ‘80s. Hardly classic films, but, I figure the most important thing to do while stranded on a deserted island will be to keep your sense of humour and reflect on good times past. With only five DVD choices I couldn’t take all of the Star Wars movies, so, I’d settle for Star Wars, A New Hope, the first or fourth movie depending on how you look at it.
That would leave me with one more book choice and one more movie choice. For my book choice, I would take My Side of the Mountain, my favourite book when I was twelve and still good the last time I read it as an adult. The tips on surviving by eating berries, making clothes out of deer skin and living in a tree trunk alone make it an excellent choice (assuming there are some deer and berries also stranded on the island).
And, for my DVD choice, I’m going to cheat a little as it’s actually more than one disk, and select the soon to be released Season 3 of the Office. Hopefully, someone on the island will think to bring along a DVD player.