One of the inevitable truths of life is its impermanence. What we think and feel today often changes by tomorrow. When pondering my favorite books, the list remains in constant flux. If I am entrenched in a fiction mood, the list is weighted towards fiction. If I am hiking often, the list leans towards natural history. If I am spending most of my free time on my porch, well, you get the point: the books that shape us change. Despite the exercise containing an ample amount of futility, I find it a worthwhile endeavor to occasionally consider what books at a particular moment mean the most to me. I have tried to distill this fluctuating list to those books that over numerous reflections continue to stand out as important books. These are my deserted island books.
A treasure trove of stories and the subject of infinite allusions throughout history and literature
Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essays and Lectures
These writings helped to shape American thought—how a person becomes a fulfilled private individual and public citizen
Thomas Merton's Thoughts in Solitude
A pocket collection of beautifully written short meditations on life, faith, nature, and isolation.
Flannery O'Connor's The Complete Stories
For my money O’Connor wears the crown of short story queen. Tales of broken, hardworking people and the redemption they seek and sometimes find.
The Bhagavad Gita
An epic poem that begins on a battlefield and quickly delves into the crux of humanity: honor, family, war, love, dignity, and duty
Eduardo Galeano's Walking Words
A collection of brief short stories that weave creation myths with modern tragedy and humans’ interconnectivity with it all
Roy Bedichek's Adventures with a Texas Naturalist
A reflection on historical and natural Texas written after a sabbatical in the Hill Country. Written in the 1940s, Bedichek advocates for folks to connect with nature and preserve it.
What are your deserted island books?