Monday, October 15, 2007

What’s on your list?

The Strand bookstore, a venerable literary institution in New York City whose tagline is "80 Miles of Books," recently celebrated its eightieth birthday with a huge party at its sprawling, historic store on Broadway, in an area that used to be known as New York’s Book Row. At the party, guests were asked for a list of their five favorite books of all time. The general public was also asked to submit lists on-line. The books that got the most votes now comprise a list called the Strand 80, revealed today—a fascinating, eclectic collection.

That got me thinking about that age-old question: if you could only take one (or two or three or five or ten) books with you to a desert island, which books would you take? Hmm . . . a question that’s both wonderful and awful to contemplate. Here’s my list, in no particular order:

Three Poems by John Ashbery
The Revisionist by Douglas Crase
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
There’s Something in the Back Yard by Richard Snodgrass
Our Town by Thornton Wilder
The Voice That Is Great Within Us ed. by Hayden Carruth
Here Is New York by E. B. White
The Anxiety of Influence by Harold Bloom
My Life As a Man by Philip Roth


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