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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Can I make a suggestion that doesn't involve violence, or is this the wrong crowd?"
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November 11 2008

The Write Environment site is open for DVD biz-ness, featuring interviews with Joss and others. Writer Jeffrey Berman hosts a series of in-depth interviews with Joss Whedon, Doug Ellin, Tim Kring, Damon Lindelof, Phil Rosenthal and Sam Simon. At $11 per interview/DVD, this is a total steal - and perfect for holiday prezzies.

Whedonites will remember Jeffrey as co-founder of and co-host & producer of UnitedHollywoodLive.

That's what I get for being all obsessive-y and slow about the names and tags. *curses b!X under her breath.* ;>

I'm thinking this one will get deleted....
Your tags are super fun, though, I'm glad you went to all the extra effort. Plus, fun words like "prezzies" & "biz-ness"

But, you're probably right.
These posts are so very opposite in style. Nice.
Deleted thread! I'm back to commenting when it doesn't matter!

(unless Bix's gets deleted. uh oh)
Honestly, I vote for keeping this one, except for using the direct link to the Joss DVD instead. (I know this isn't a democracy, but still.)
Was it the groovy earring tag that sold it, or what?
I kind of like them both. Come on, let's call it a twofer
kazzmere in large part it was my total tag fail followed by seeing these tags. I'm usually so on top of the tagging, but I just didn't have any mojo.
Bix~ I thought your style was more Joe Friday, you know what I mean? Just the facts, ma'am.
Well, I was going to take some of what very little money I have left and order this, but the shopping cart says it can't ship to me. So, I guess not. Heh.
I'm getting that same message, bix. Guess they don't get my $11.
Maybe it's the Pacific Northwest in us.
Thanks, b!X and all - I've edited my link to go directly to Joss' interview, like b!X's, and so now it's up to the PTB. The gods. The All-Powerful Orange Ones.

Good to see you here again, jeffreyunited, after lo! these many months post-strike - and glad to be able to order this in time for the holidays - unlike a certain Paley BtVS Reunion Disc that shall remain nameless notsomuch.

(Maybe Jeffrey can find out why you're getting the ship-fail, you guys.)

ETA: I ordered my copies without a hitch... so not the Pacific in general, anyway...

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2008-11-12 07:26 ]
The Roget's was easy but I don't know enough about filters to get the other two titles, although I was thinking the third one might start with 'Encyclopediographic'. Is there such a word? (I don't think so. ;)
Hmmm... I tried having it shipped to CA & FL, no joy.
I'm hoping jeffryunited will check this glitch out for us and let us know what's shaking...
I posted the error to their FB page.
Okay, I fixed the shopping cart. Sorry for the glitch. Damn bugs. Please try again and let me know if there are any more problems.
Hmmm. Because I ordered it unsuccessfully before, it's now saying I ordered two of them but it doesn't offer me an option to edit or delete. :( By the time this is over, I'll have ordered seven of the darned things. ;)

ETA Okay, I had to click on the View Cart menu item at the top but I got it changed.

[ edited by cabri on 2008-11-12 08:08 ]
Seeing as there's more of a discussion going on here, I've kept this link.
Well, it took my Pacific Northwest address, so all is good.
I'm not even on the Atlantic coast, nevermind the Pacific and it took my order. Guess it's fixed, good work jeffreyunited.
Little late since I just ordered one (to Florida, by the way, so thanks for fixing that) but how long are the interviews, generally?
So, do we know if the contents of Joss's bookshelves is actually covered? 'Cause otherwise, I fear that Quotergal might be playing fast and loose with those fab tags of hers.

[ edited by Lioness on 2008-11-14 00:54 ]
How many minutes of Whedonwitnwisdom are we getting in this interview?
Brain tickles say i've read approx. 50 minutes runtime somewhere but I can't find it now.

ETA: Yep, according to jeffreyunited here each interview ran between 50 and 65 minutes.

[ edited by Saje on 2008-11-12 15:51 ]
Well. Merry Christmas to me. :)

ETA: Ordered with no glitches.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-11-12 15:53 ]
Pas de probleme ;).
Joss' interview is 60 minutes long. That's a lot of talking.
C'est bon, jeffreyunited!
Have just purchased early holiday treat from moi to moi. I so know what I like.
I'm gonna have to say a little grr argh here. It won't accept my credit card information. I suspect the problem might be that my state is a country and not in the USA. Once again I have been thwarted due to my excessive Swedishness.
Darnit. Might have to go to Amazon for this.
As long as they don't sell out before I can get to it. Is there layaway? ;)
Okay, I just ordered mine. Now, when was this interview conducted, roughly?
I think it must have been around February or March of this year.

Lioness, you'll see that I'm simply posing the question (as per usual) about Joss' bookshelves - notice my questionmark in the tag? Only by viewing the DVD itself will we find out if we can read the titles any better there than in the original clip...

I would infinitely prefer it if when I visit people at their homes for the first time, they let me check out all the titles on their bookshelves before I hafta schmooze and be all social, but they never let me - they start in offering me drinks and nibbly bits and talking before I can check out the spines. *sigh*
Ooh, I hadn't seen that video clip. Now I'm extra excited, and I also suddenly really want them all.

Restraint. I must show restraint.
QuoterGal The "books first" approach to in-home socializing is actually very sensible, as it can give near strangers something interesting to talk about. Occasionally, however, after checking out a person's shelves, the casual visitor may experience a sudden, nearly overwhelming urge to flee.
QuoterGal, don't worry. If I ever invite you to my house, I'll make sure you'll have ample time to examine my spines. I won't even bother with those pesky nibbly bits or drinky drinks.

And, after you have had your fill of my delightful books, I'll kick you out.

Sound good to you? ;)

BTW, I am formally requesting that if a person has had the chance to identify Joss' books that they post it for all to adore. Thanks.
Yeah, toast - it has happened. Even more surprising than what people have on their bookshelves can be finding out that someone you'd assumed would have books has practically none at all. I do believe in li-berries, but usually folks I like have some volumes in their homes...

korkster - in that case, why don't you just email me photos of your bookshelves, and we can just skip the visit altogether?
The interview was conducted back in February. Joss was just in the planning stages for the Dr. Horrible shoot.

FYI - I'll be posting a mini-version of the episode online next week when the site officially launches. It will be a five minute version of the episode. I'll drop a note here as soon as it's listed.

Keep watching because we're still tweaking the site. And if anyone has any suggestions on how to make the site better I'm more than happy to entertain them.

Also, I'll happily post of a list of titles from my bookshelf if anyone really wants to know what I read.
I sense a new Flickr group topic, "books in my house."
Not having any bookshelves, I'd fail that topic.
I've placed my order, because heaven knows I need another interview with Joss Whedon, but I haven't gotten a confirmation email.... I guess I can just hope for the best?
Not having any bookshelves, I'd fail that topic.
I think the book shelves are optional. You just have to have the books. Piles are ok with everyone else, right?

QG, should we all send you photos of your bookshelves/piles? ;)
Embers, if you e-mail me your full name I'll check to make sure the order went through and if not why. So far, I've got four orders still incomplete and I'm working to figure out how to correct the issues.

E-mail me at
No piles. Most of my books are stuck in blue storage bins, completely out of sight.
My house contains a couple thousand books, at last count. Most of them belong to my dad. And yes, we have bookshelves, but not enough.
There are never enough bookshelves.
The smattering of Books you seen behind Joss is just a smattering of what he owns, I'm sure. If I remember correctly, most of them were reference books.
I might have enough books to participate if it comes down to selling them off.
jeffreyunited, come payday I'll be all over it. Thanks for the hard work & feeding my interest.

QuoterGal, well, we could skip the trip, but you'd miss out on the lovely San Diego weather, and it'd be awesome to meet you in person. Next Comic-Con, perhaps?

whoa. I just got flashes of an on-line catalogue breaks down what every Whedonesquer owns, and pictures to their bookshelves. Including a "how many books does it take to get to Joss" Kevin Bacon sort of thing.

What gives me a headache though is that because QuoterGal was fascinated enough in Joss' books to snapshot them and identify, I became interested and hope that she's able to finish the mission. Isn't that nuts? Now, not only am I a fan of Joss, but I'm also a fan of Joss' fans mini-book-fandom. I need a drink. (Water, to help with the headache.)

I kid sometimes, but always with love. *wanders off looking for Pointy to hug*
Gee, I can't wait for the discussion that's going to erupt when you see the walk through that I did with Joss.
Hmmmm. What exactly did you walk through?
This is why you go to LibraryThing or GoodReads and enter all your books. Then friends can randomly browse your collection without making you get up.

Chunks of my book collection are in there (LibraryThing | GoodReads) but neither listing is even close to being complete yet, too many books in storage and way too many e-books to catalog yet. Warning: these sites will suck up your life.

[ edited by C. A. Bridges on 2008-11-13 02:14 ]
Which one do you prefer? What about LivingSocial?
QG: Re: No books at all.
When my daughter was about 12, she got a baby-sitting job for a young professional couple who worked with my brother. (Um, she was baby sitting for their children, not the couple day I will learn how to speak.)

When she came home, I asked her how it went, and what it was like. She said they were nice, and she liked the kids, but their house seemed weirdly off-putting somehow- she wasn't sure why. The next day she realized what it was. "There were no adult books in the house. Anywhere. Wow."

[ edited by toast on 2008-11-13 01:59 ]
So far I prefer LibraryThing, it's easier to enter your books, I think. If you have a CueCat you can even scan them in. Haven't tried LivingSocial.
Oh Toast, I sat at some similar homes: one where they had no books at all anywhere, but at least they had some dirty magazines in their bedroom (it was late and I was bored!), which was better than the scientific couple who only had technical manuals. I learned I had to bring along more books than just my homework.
I haven't tried GoodReads but I like LibraryThing a lot. I'm obsessive enough that if I don't like how the book covers look I'll upload my own.
On GoodReads, but haven't updated in a while. Also on Shelfari.
You'll find me on goodreads and librarything but what you won't find is much of my library.

I found it too daunting, and quit adding books early on when I realized (yeah, Cabbie, me too) how much time I'd already spent scanning and uploading my covers when they didn't have the version I wanted.

That said, mebbe I'll go in and add a few more *sigh* tonight, because it is happy-crack for the book-addict.

(Here is my favorite bookcase wot I got when my folks passed on. We call it the Dickens case - although there are other authors in there, too. I got many of my folks' books too, so you can see why the task grew beyond me...)

Back to the topic at hand - sorta - since I became all Whedon-y fannish, my related books and DVDs and comics have expanded exponentially, and now I need a case for them, too. I look forward to adding The Write Environment DVD there when it arrives.
Gee, I can't wait for the discussion that's going to erupt when you see the walk through that I did with Joss.

Does he have a dungeon? Torture chamber? A vast collection of life-size cardboard figures of Lara Croft? A pet llama? A gimp costume? A pet llama wearing a gimp costume? Thousands of guns? Terrible décor? An evil twin locked in a cage? A good twin locked in a cage?

I want to know!
Maybe we'll get to see the "life-sized Sean Maher made of human flesh that keeps screaming that it's the real Sean Maher".
Oh dear. I was hoping for something more along the lines of walking through actual walls. :( Although I've never quite figured out why characters can walk through walls and yet not fall through floors. Is it a mental thing? o.O
Wait... Joss *is* Kitty Pryde? That explains so much.
There she goes showing off that beautiful bookcase again. [envy envy envy] :)

I love the idea of those book sites, but I think I'd never have time to read if I used them.

And cabri, I've never thought about that before. Now it's going to bother me forever. Where would they fall to?
See, your books look great together. Mine are a mismatch of perilously stacked heaps of different sized books, all held in place by the judicious wedging of yet more books.
jcs: "And cabri, I've never thought about that before. Now it's going to bother me forever. Where would they fall to?"

Errrrrrrrm. *gets bright idea* Why, the other side, of course! Maybe they bounce back and forth from hemisphere to hemisphere, but by the time they get to the furthest end of a bounce, they're going so slow nobody notices that they're not standing still. :)
Working my way across the internet you can now find The Write Environment on Facebook and Twitter, which has me a little confused, since I've never used it before. Also, I was limited on letters when it came to creating a name so you can find me on Twitter as Writeenvironment.

Comments and feedback on the website are also welcome as I'm still tweaking it in this final week before the launch.
C. A. Bridges: "See, your books look great together. Mine are a mismatch of perilously stacked heaps of different sized books, all held in place by the judicious wedging of yet more books."

Me? I wish. That's just that one antique bookcase, where everything was selected for aesthetics and and set-itude, in honor of my parents. All the other cases are a kindof Hodge-podge Lodge - old paperbacks with covers coming off, library rejects, you name it - for example, the history section is just whacked.
The search function on twitter is down right now. (It does that.)
Wow! Here's how much cooler Whedonesque is than some of the other fans sites, I just tried to make an announcement about the series over on one of the main Lost Forums and got no further than the first post when i was banned for life from the site. Apparently the moderator doesn't think the fans will be interested in hearing about an hour long interview with Damon Lindelof.
Well, to be fair, many sites have rules against self-promotion, especially with sales. (Even here, if you'd tried to post an announcement yourself, it'd have been deleted due to being self-linking.)

The trick, really, is either to contact site admins with the news, or find ways that members of those sites will learn of the news and post it themselves.
Ahh, good to know. Thanks.
I remember once after my parents' divorce when I was a young teenager my father had a rental house with wall-to-wall, full, bookshelves encasing a couple of largish rooms. Lots of good stuff. I remember guiltily wishing that I could trade in my parents for the people who owned the house. I wouldn't feel guilty about it now.
That sounds like my "lottery win" setup dreamlogic (though I suppose you're more likely to win if you enter, might have to consider that ;). I used to want a library full of properly bound hardbacks, now i'm maybe a bit less in love with books as objects than I was (though I still hate seeing people breaking the spines and so on - y'know those maniacs that deliberately bend the covers back on themselves ? Reckon there might be more than one level to the Special Hell ;) but it's still a nice dream.

(and you seem to have a cat stuck half-way into your bookshelf QuoterGal, did it come like that ?)
Here is a pic I took of my library. Excuse the mess. And the Sputnik.

(Okay, it's not actually mine. See Wired for the story. Simply amazing.)
That rental house may have been the place that let me get started on ridding myself of my pristine book fetish. I remember squinting into paperbacks that I'd only opened about 80 degrees, both sides, (40 each) to avoid damage.

I'm an adoptee who always walked on emotional eggshells. What's your excuse? C'mon - it's totally neurotic ;)
My lottery dream involves floor to ceiling built-in shelves in the dining room and bedrooms.

I love beautiful books as objects- and I am a geeky fan of typography, book-design and bindings. But when I do the QuoterGal shelf scan on visiting someone for the first time, and find only beautiful books and/or worthy literature, I suspect a self-conscious arrangement- designed to impress.

I have a hard time believing that anyone who has nothing even vaguely junky is displaying an example of their actual reading. Perhaps this is just a reflection of my own low tastes.

Can anyone suggest some good free or low cost software for organizing a home library?

[ edited by toast on 2008-11-13 11:55 ]
Can anyone suggest some good free or low cost software for organizing a home library?

The Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress systems, total freeware. That may sound bitchy, but I sort of organize my books around those categories while leaving plenty of room for personal associations.
The trick is toast, hardbacks without their dust-jackets. Any unjacketed hardback just looks more impressive, whether it's Danielle Steel or Michel De Montaigne. That said, mine would look like two people's shelves I reckon just cos of the mix of [what some consider] "junk" and others.

*looks at Jay Walker's library ... **splodes** *

... the instruction manual for the Saturn V rocket ...

1. Light blue touchpaper.
2. Stand WELL back.
3. We're not kidding about 2.
4. Really.

What's your excuse? C'mon - it's totally neurotic ;)

Heh, I dunno really dl. All I can think of is that in my house growing up, vandalising a book would be like kicking Jesus in the nuts in other households. Guess it's just one of the things I carry ;).

(I remember going to the ice-rink as a kid, falling over and putting my hand down to catch myself only for my fingers to be narrowly not skated upon. My Mum's panicky-angry-cos-she's-scared reaction probably explains why i've been on an ice-rink maybe twice since then ;)

Can anyone suggest some good free or low cost software for organizing a home library?

I'm looking myself toast, found this but i've no idea if it's any good (looks fairly basic but it allows barcode scanning etc.). Part of the reason for doing it (as well as selling) is that i've bought the same book twice a couple of times just because I forgot I had it - it'd be handy to have a list I can carry with me.
Thanks Saje, I'm definitely going to check that out. My books are more or less shelved by topic, but in addition to the double-buying problem, I want to be able to find the physical location of my books on the shelves when looking them up. (There's a double-shelving problem here, too.)
Jay Walker's library is almost unbearably fabulous.
Thanks, Saje - I want something that'll be a little easier to see on my iPhone than goodreads or library thing, so I can check books when I'm buying, as well - I also can't rely on signal for web access. (I've bought more than just a few as duplicates - it happens all the time at this point, and I'm tired off fussing with paper pages when I shop.) This may do the trick if it's flexible; I'll check it out. My books themselves are obsessively sorted by area (history, psychology, American fiction, etc., and then chron and/or author) with a few shelves left for, as dreamlogic mentions, strictly personal associations. (The looong shelf called "decent books made into crappy movies", f'instance...)

I had the same upbringing - do not mess with books - although we were allowed to open up paperbacks so we could actually read the thing. It was so sacrosanct a notion that I was shocked and appalled when people highlighted their textbooks in college. (I took notes rather than deface the book.)

I still have a hard time doing it, even under circumstances that call for it - I had an antique, falling-apart copy of Bleak House with pages missing that I had gotten on a freeshelf at the bookstore where I worked - and it took weeks before I could actually pull out the illustrations I wanted to frame. I guess I sorta felt like the other pages would miss them.

zz9 - Jay Walker's gut-wrenching, envy-making library is where I'm going when I die. He better be comfortable with a Ghost Who Reads.

“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” — Jorge Luis Borge

(I hope that jeffreyunited - and the mods - don't mind that we've been derailing this thread with our Book Talk. I swear most of us are also interested in your interviews and can't wait to see the Joss-y one, at least...)
I love Jay Walker's library. I'm joining QuoterGal there when I die, although I'd love to see it before then!;)

I'm a member of both GoodReads and LibraryThing, but I'm obviously doing something wrong if it's easier to add books in the latter, because I was getting very frustrated at the process last night - especially compared to GoodReads.

I have books in every room in the house - and at least one (sometimes two or three) bookcases in every room, plus the hall, except the bathroom. (And I live in a one-bedroom apartment!)

I was brought up to respect books and to read anything I wanted, so my tastes are eclectic and I'm a voracious reader. Luckily most of my favourite authors are prolific.

I also had to buy a new bookshelf since I became a Joss fan, to contain the books, comics, DVDs, etc. I look forward to adding this DVD to that list. (See how I cleverly came back on topic? :D)
So what would you consider the most cherished book in your collection? For me it would have to be a first edition of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, which I tried to get the old bastard to sign for me a few years back but he absolutely refused citing that if he did sign it the value of the book would go way up and since he wouldn't see any profit in it he wanted no part of it.
Cherished, that's tough. I have a first edition Franny and Zooey, which I thought I'd lost. I love having it, but it's not my most cherished. I have a first of an obscurish book called The Story of Mary MacLane, that's awesome.

But I guess my value of "cherished" has far more to do with how often I read a given book than how collectable or rare it is. I'd survive losing my Franny and Zooey, for example. I'd not survive losing all of my Richard Powers, even though it's almost entirely trade paperback editions.
Most cherished would be my father's 1922 copy of the Real Mother Goose. I bought a house with a room which I could turn into a library. It is still too small and no, there are never enough bookshelves. Love this conversation!
Picking my most cherished would be hard. I mean, every once in a while I'll play the game of 'if I were stuck on an island...' but then I get lost in the bliss of being on my own island. (Mine has wifi.) Anyhow... mine: my big giant creaky broken spined dictionary. After that, it's hard say. Probably my Pelican's Complete Shakespeare and (don't judge) my duct taped copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Radio Scripts.
The first edition of The Last Unicorn I bought from a library discard sale for 10 cents when I was 8. Or was.

Lesson learned: do not loan out your favorite book.
:( Friends are the only ones that 'steal' books. I loaned out my hardcover copy of The Stand. (The long version.) And my copy of Last Chance to See. Both gone forever.
Oh God Oh God Oh God Oh God, I can't do this. The Island Game makes me hyperventilate and it took me two years just to pick out my two-book-allowance for the purely imaginary library on the Goners Teams at

Gah! It would have to be something out of print or old and much-read, I think, although the aforementioned two books were out-of-print for years and just went back into print recently. I have some signed books (very few) by authors I love, and some firsts of ditto - but as long as they are still in print, I can stand to lose them.

I guess it would be my copy of George Combe's illustrated Essays on Phrenology which I bought from a junkstore when I was a kid on vacation in Maine, and refused to put back on the shelf, despite parental attempts to intervene. I loved the drawings, and it was so old, and I loved it.

I still do. Despite many moves and many book losses, it still lives inside its secret book-with-a-book hiding place. It's not particularly valuable to anyone but me, but I still like to keep it safe & hidden.
The island game for me is easy: Richard Powers' Galaeta 2.2, the only book I re-read at least once a year. (The Gold Bug Variations, also by Powers, I re-read just slightly less than once a year.)
Ahh, well if we're doing the island game, then my top three favorite books are, in order, To Kill a Mockingbird, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Will, by G. Gordon Liddy.
QG, did I forget to mention that my island also has regular deliveries from,, and Cuz it does. Please start breathing again. Breathe, dammit, breathe!
That sort of undoes the entire premise of the island thought experiment.
True. But so doesn't passed out players of the game. Ok then... Amazon, BetterWorld, and Albris will only show up if one wins immunity.
Methinks you think you are James Kirk and this is the Kobayashi Maru test.
jeffreyunited - whiskey tango foxtrot re: Liddy? Is it because his major weirdness is fascinating?

Thanks, NYPinTA, I do like your island better than the other ones, but I think I just might fail the thought experiment, and bring the ship hurtling through space to die in a painful vacuum. Wow, that's not helping my breathing any.

I do know this - what I'd bring to the island isn't my most cherished book, it would be the chunkiest, densest, longest collection of many authors in one volume that I could find - something like Maugham's collection of literature for the traveler, or something like that.

*begins to breathe again...*
Well, I'll face up- I'm a movie buff. Dabbled in books now and again, but they were sporadic and for unknown reasons. I enjoy them though, but I don't think they measure up in the Hall of Libraries.

Anyhoo, QuoterGal, just wanted to say that I really enjoyed examining your bookshelves. Everyone's in fact. And reading this thread has been so much fun (even though I can't really participate)!

I can relate to the "dedication shelf" for Joss. Of course, mine are the DVDs that link him and our other Whedonverse actors (which is now out of room). I also have a cube filled with the comic books. And, for my pathetically white Target shelves, analysis books rest on top next to a Coca-Cola lamp.

Space is an issue (I have a bed), so the books that the family has finished reading we sell at Basically, it's a free book-exchange (dozens and dozens of dollars).

I am proud that among the chemistry, travel, Star Trek, & language books that rest on my ultra-white shelves that worlds of fantasy are among them, and some of my most cherished.
Desert island-wise, I'd have to take the big old ratty embossed cover black Shakespeare from the 1820's with all the plays and sonnets, and a bunch of elaborate etchings (one for each play)- mostly because of it having the most to read, look at, and re-read whilst stranded.

But just picking an actual favorite volume, it is probably the 1985 Yale edition of Max Beerbohm's Zuleika Dobson with eighty illustrations by the author, taken from his own copy of the novel, which he illustrated in watercolors after publication- because it is a really neat object. Or the whole series of Laura Ingalls Wilder books I nearly wore out as a kid,and still like- or Cloud Atlas cause I just love it. Unless it's Middlemarch.

I have a Whedon shelf and a box or two of the comics, but not a whole case. Yet.

[ edited by toast on 2008-11-14 04:58 ]
Methinks you think you are James Kirk and this is the Kobayashi Maru test.

It's true. I don't believe in the no-win scenario.

korkster, there is a real free book exchange called (Never used it myself. But I'm thinking I should.)
One of the most fascinating books I've read is Mrs Beetons Household Management. The glimpse into that world is amazing. A young lady can dance with a chap all evening but will ignore him in the street the next day because a dance does not constitute a formal introduction...
Hmm, Desert Island Books is really hard. I'm playing by Radio 4 rules and assuming you already have The Complete Works of Shakespeare and whichever holy book applies to you so I don't have to choose those. And i'm going to gag my pragmatic side so that its muffled mumblings of Ray Mears' "Essential Bushcraft" or John 'Lofty' Wiseman's "SAS Survival Handbook" are barely heard (cos it's the nice sort of island where survival's just a given ;).

Aside from that, I dunno. Maybe the Encyclopaedia Britannica or the Complete OED (cheating a bit with the whole multiple volume thing but it's still one "book", just spread over several, err, books ;) just cos they'd last and i've never had any trouble getting lost in reference books ("Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable" is one of my absolute faves but it's not as long as the other two). Also, if necessary, I could fashion a makeshift shelter from either one ;).

Most cherished ? Probably my battered old copy of 'Catch 22'. It's just a Corgi paperback but i've had it a long time and read it more times than any other book I currently own. And when I bought it it had a nice note in it, presumably to a previous owner from her beau - I love those little found pieces of someone else's life you sometimes see in secondhand books, they're like bonus "stories" and explicit reminders of our connectedness.

(on the bygone era thing, I have a book on cryptography from 1939 which is just fascinating. Bit geeky but anyone that knows anything about crypto and/or computers knows that WWII is where it all started to change - Turing and his fellow misfit mathematicians, linguists, engineers and crossword addicts at Bletchley basically invented the wheel as far as that stuff goes, everything changed after them and a survey of the state of the art just beforehand is really interesting - if that sort of thing really interests you ;)
When I was growing up there was a program on CBC radio on the weekends that asked celebrities what three records (dating myself here ;)) and two books would you take to a desert island. My mother would then ask what my decision would be. Now that there are iPods, you can pretty much take as many 'records' as you want, but the book decision is hard.

I'll go with the same answer I would give my mother for the first book: One of my editions of the complete works of William Shakespeare, which should keep me going for awhile. For the other book, I think I'd take Celeste de Blasis's Tiger's Woman, a meticulously researched and well-written historical novel set in and around San Francisco, Seattle and the San Juan Islands at the end of the 19th century. Since it's well over 600 pages of small print, it would keep me busy for a couple of days.

On the other hand, The Unknown Reality, Vol 1 & 2 by Janes Roberts would probably be better, as I've read the other book close to a dozen times already. Hmmm.
Oh... I'm changing my answer. I'm taking an iTouch and a Kindle. 'Pack light, forget hate'... and rely on technology for your entertainment needs. ;)

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