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My wife just finished reading Moby Dick, and she saved me some time - the whale wins.

My desert island reading list would include some Pynchon old and new (Gravity's Rainbow, Mason & Dixon), Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, with Cryptonomicon along as a chaser. I'd throw in some "always meant to read" stuff as well - DFW's Infinite Jest, maybe Tristram Shandy (8 months in isolation is probably what it would take for me to plow through it).


Speaking as someone who lived for 6 months in Russia, where the only English-language books available in stores are the ones approved by the old regime (i.e. populist O. Henry, Jack London, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull), I would unhesitatingly recommend the complete works of Saki (H.H.Munroe), bound in a single volume. The man was a satirical genius, and wrote everything from 3-page sketches to substantial stories. It's nice to have a large collection of self-contained pieces from which to pick and choose, rather than one big book to plow through. But that's just me.


Marco Romano

Freya Stark "The Journey's Echo"
Any of Lawrence Durrell's travel books


A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth. It's super long, and is set in a warm climate. Of course, it also weighs about 12 pounds, which is the sole reason that I haven't read it lately--too heavy to carry around.


The Recognitions, by William Gaddis.


I second Moby Dick-one of my favorites and you need to have very little distractions to read it. (I read it in Iowa.)

When I studied abroad, I brought Ulysses, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Midnight's Children, because I had read an interview with Jeffrey Eugenides where he talked about the three of them in conjunction with each other as national epics. Great reads, obviously, but kind of made me wish I had studied in their respective countries (I studied in Berlin).


I think you are thinking like sukrat, but I think you should cover the other side of the topic in the post too...


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