Without question, what I love most about my blog is the opportunities it has given me over the years. From attending a memoir writing retreat at Lake Atitlan led by one of my all-time favorite writers, to spending a week in Indonesia to learn more about the country’s literacy scene, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have my passion for Books in my career.
And while travel is still not possible – thanks to the global Covid-19 pandemic – I’ve been fortunate enough to invite a number of incredible writers to join my Desert Island Books series as we all continue to dream of the day traveling far and wide become a reality again. I remember studying – and loving – Hideous Kinky many moons ago for my degree in English Literature, so it was an incredible honor to meet the author Esther Freud – whose ninth novel, I Couldn’t Love You More – was recently published – to invite – to share their books about deserted islands on my blog. From her childhood favorite series to her ultimate desert island book, here are the eight books Esther would take to the sandy shores of a desert island.
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingles Wilder
I loved this series of books as a kid, just as Wilder woven stories from her own life. The slow pace, the surprising tension, the small family that survives in the great expanse of nature.
Buy Little House on the Prairie at Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon, or Amazon AU.
Journey in the Dark by Jean Rhys
This book got me thinking about the possibility of writing my own novel one day. The prose is so light and clear and the subject so subjective – a book based on Rhys’s own experience when he came to London from Domenica gave me a glimmer of hope.
Buy Voyage in the Dark at Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A dark, beautiful novel about poverty, resilience and redeeming love. It fired me with a belief in the deepest soul connections that has sometimes led me astray.
Buy Jane Eyre at Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon, or Amazon AU.
A Strange Eventful Story: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving, and Their Notable Families by Michael Holroyd
Holroyd is the master of biography, and this is the most ambitious and fascinating of his many books. He brings to life two great actors of the 19th century from very different backgrounds and creates the passion, chaos and ingenuity of their lives. Story after story unfolds, marriages, scandal, bankruptcy, children – loved and abandoned – and again and again a theater production with leaps of faith, trains full of props, transformations and dreams.
Buy A Strange Eventful History at Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon, or Amazon AU.
Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo
I was amazed at the accumulation of stories in this book, each stronger than the other. A writer who has peaked and has full control over her material.
Buy Girl Woman Other at Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.
Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
I am a huge Waugh fan. He’s so brilliant at people and his dialogues sparkle like no other. That is my favourite. Funny as always, but also heartbreaking, with the most haunting ending.
Buy Handful of Dust at Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.
A house full of Juliet Nicolson’s daughters
I love the scope of this book and the honesty and insight that the author brings to learn how much power, inspiration, and harm is passed down from mother to daughter from generation to generation.
Buy a house full of daughters at Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
My ultimate book on deserted islands. A great and haunting novel full of history, philosophy and romance. Storytelling at its finest.
Buy Anna Karenina at Bookshop.org, Book Depository, Waterstones, Amazon or Amazon AU.
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