29 March 2017


Preparing for a few days journey by ship. Books to bring.

A shipwreck! Anthony of Times Flow Stemmed made me reconsider my priority reading list drafted a lifetime ago (on the first year of this blog). What my desert reading looks like I leave to a combination of fortuitous circumstances.

Inter Ice Age 4 – Kobo Abé
The Writing on the Wall – Miklós Bánffy 
Frost – Thomas Bernhard
Selected Non-Fictions – Jorge Luis Borges
Hydriotaphia and The Garden of Cyrus – Sir Thomas Browne
Sakhalin Island – Anton Chekhov
Scenes from Provincial Life – J. M. Coetzee
The Last Samurai – Helen DeWitt
The Lover – Marguerite Duras
The Maias – Eça de Queirós
Visitation – Jenny Erpenbeck
The Siege of Krishnapur – J. G. Farrell
Mysteries – Knut Hamsun
Amerika – Franz Kafka
A Time for Everything – Karl O. Knausgaard
Satantango – László Krasznahorkai
Nada – Carmen Laforet
Women in Love – D. H. Lawrence
Payback – Gert Ledig
Joseph and His Brothers – Thomas Mann
Wittgenstein's Mistress – David Markson
Oleza – Gabriel Miró
The Sea of Fertility – Yukio Mishima
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne – Brian Moore
The Man Without Qualities – Robert Musil
The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll – Álvaro Mutis
But for the Lovers – Wilfrido S. Nolledo
Hygiene and the Assassin – Amélie Nothomb
At Swim-Two-Birds – Flann O'Brien
The Book of Disquiet – Fernando Pessoa 
The Gray Notebook – Josep Pla
The History of the Siege of Lisbon – José Saramago  
Silent Catastrophes – W. G. Sebald
The Case of Comrade Tulayev – Victor Serge
And Then – Natsume Sōseki
Indian Summer – Adalbert Stifter
Toddler-Hunting and Other Stories – Kōno Taeko
Petals of Blood – Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Territory of Light – Yūko Tsushima
Poemas Humanos – César Vallejo
The Aesthetics of Resistance, vol. 1 – Peter Weiss
The Vivisector – Patrick White
The Waves – Virginia Woolf


  1. Ah, that's the secret of doing one of these - include books that have not yet been published, thus insuring a stream of new books.

    That Sebald has not yet been published, right?

  2. I like the twist, looking ahead, rather than at my huge collection of books that fortunately made land on my desert island. I'm contemplating the right time to get to Mann's Joseph, this summer perhaps.

  3. Tom, that's the secret. The Sebald is slated for next year. It's being pushed back every year for maybe four years now. The Tsushima book is for a couple more months. And I was thinking of adding in the new version of Grande Sertão but the "unfaithful" version is good enough for the fuzzy memory of a stranded reader.

  4. Anthony, trilogies and tetralogies would be ideal in the desert island.

  5. A good many of these overlap my own desert reading list, but I recall experiencing the same phenomenon when I first discovered your blog (which thanks to your encouragement led me to start my own).

    I'm eager awaiting Alison Entrekin's new translation of Grande Sertão, as the on-line excerpts promise to make it a completely different reading experience. Sounds like we may be waiting a good while, though.

  6. Scott, I too await Entrekin's version but am not raising my expectations that it will come out in 3 years or so. A miracle is possible.

    I'm happy to have discovered intersections in our reading too.

  7. This is a great idea, Rise! I'll try to make my own shipwreck list sometime. Two titles here that would be in my list would be Peter Weiss and Ngugi Wa Thiong'o :)

  8. I have Ngugi's book in Filipino translation. Hope to read it someday soon. I'll be curious what books you'll include in your list.

    1. Here tis: https://karlomongaya.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/books-on-a-desert-island/

    2. Thanks for sharing your book list, Karlo!