A Castaway’s Bookshelf

If stranded on a desert island, these Southerners would read…

“I would read Shelby Foote’s The Civil War, having never given myself time to complete this three-volume masterpiece.” — Richard Howorth, co-owner, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

“I’d read The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert, a story about self-determination, perfectionism, and the isolation that results when we bend ourselves and others toward an ideal.” — Wiley Cash, author

“I’d pull The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor into my island hammock. Her stern moral vision is cut with admiration for the devil in all of us.” — Beth Ann Fennelly, poet laureate of Mississippi

“A desert island might give me the time to finally read The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel like everyone else.” — Ann Patchett, author and co-owner, Parnassus Books in Nashville

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin is a novel that will have you on the edge of your beach towel.” — Janet Geddis, owner of Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

“I love to travel to the far-off lands of literature while sitting oceanside, so I’d choose Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, an epic of friendship, betrayal, and romance.” — Molly Moore, inventory manager at BookPeople in Austin, Texas

“A massive book I have had since college, The Riverside Shakespeare, begs to be read aloud, which would be entertaining while occupying hours. It also could serve as step stool, yoga block, and pillow.” — Jill McCorkle, author

“I’d reread For Whom the Bell Tolls, All the King’s Men, As I Lay Dying, The Great Gatsby, and The Young Lions. I would also like on hand an instruction book in the growing of coconut trees.” — James Lee Burke, author

This article appears in the June/July 2020 issue of  Garden & Gun. Start your subscription here or give a gift subscription here.