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14 Books to be Stuck on a Desert Island with

For many of us being stranded on a desert island sounds like the perfect opportunity to catch up on our ‘to be read’ pile; but what if we could only take one book? Well that was the question we asked our reading addicts in our latest poll. We had an astonishing 147 different books suggested. So here are your top 15 desert island books, to keep you company for the rest of your life.

A special mention should be made to you scallywags who suggested survival manuals, raft and boat building guides and their ilk.

Four books topped the poll sharing the most votes and they were:


The Book Thief – Markus ZusacThe Book Thief

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Buy in the UK


The Lord of the Rings Set


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Buy in the UK

Outlander series – Diana Gabaldonoutlander

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Buy in the UK

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird

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Buy in the UK

Next,  in joint second place were:


The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams


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Buy in the UK

A Novel of Rumi: The Forty Rules of Love – Elif Shafak

Forty Rules of Love

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Buy in the UK

Then, finishing the list in joint third place are:


Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stephenson
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Kalheid Hoosein
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe

And that’s 14 books in all! Do you agree with these choices? Add your desert island book in the comments!

Leave your vote


  • Mindy says:

    I’d want that one book to last for a very long time with many stories…”The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories”.

  • Dolores Gormley says:

    I would have to take Contact by Carl Sagan, or his autobiography. WOW…it’s really hard to choose just one. Couldn’t I be stranded with one library?

  • jamie says:

    where is Wuthering Heights?

  • Tanya Davis says:

    Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

  • Tabbymom says:

    I’d rather have the Oxford Unabridged English Dictionary.

  • Melissa says:

    The Stand by Stephen King & Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon

  • will says:

    Holy Bible Lutheran Study edition

  • Dudley says:

    Pillars of the Earth / Heaven Tree Trilogy / Cathedral of the Sea / Confederacy of Dunces / Crimson Petal and the White / A Rage Against Heaven / A Fool’s Progress / Aztec / The Journeyer and Shantaram

  • Mike Cody says:

    Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter & History of the English People by Winston Churchill.

  • Noni says:

    The many adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    The new world translation of the holy scriptures
    Alice in wonderland
    The grand Sophie
    White fang
    There are just too many on my I can read these over and over list

    • Elizabeth carey says:

      Anything by Terry Pratchett, particularly Good Omens with Neil Gaiman

  • Howard says:

    sAS survival handbook for me please! H

  • Chandalin says:

    If stranded for ever and ever, I would need that one book that would take me a lifetime to get through. Probably Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. I need to be stranded to finish this!

  • Robin says:

    Things fall apart – Chinua Achebe

  • JazzyJake says:

    Norton Anthology of Poetry

  • Brad Frakes says:

    “The Count of Monte Cristo. The Fountainhead.” 🙂

  • tamineha says:

    Stories of lust, greed, murder, hope… I would take the Holy Bible, a library of books to last a lifetime.

  • JazzyJake says:

    Norton Anthology of Poetry. All Norton Anthologies if allowed. I want something to last a long time. Oh, and a book light with cases of batteries.

  • House of Leaves by Danielewski so I could finish it. But All of Shakespeare’s works could keep me entertained. The Oxford Dictionary would be great. But I’d need to bring the novels I’d written, The Vampire Books One and Two; after all I wrote them so I’d always have at least one book I’d truly love to read over and over. But I’d go mad without paper and pens/ pencils to keep on writing.

  • Sunjo says:

    “A suitable boy” by Vikram Seth and “Middlemarch” by George Eliot

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