Steve Kohn's Deserted Island Books




my Deserted Island Books

Minor Classics

Kohn's Corner

my Amazon reviews, mostly about books, movies and music



We've read so many wonderful books. How to choose only ten?

A few of the books on my list were read decades ago. Just a youngster, what did I know about good writing or the world?

Most of the books on the list were read in the past twenty years. In 2009-2010, a 14-month job in Afghanistan gave me time to pick up over 50 books scattered at communal bookshelves, and finish 45. Most were good, a few were unforgettable, a few were dreck.

It's good to finally be at an age when I can say that. "Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, The Shipping News is a celebration of Annie Proulx's genius for storytelling and her vigorous contribution to the art of the novel."

No, it's not. It's pretentious crap. That's something I couldn't have said as a young college student but, four more decades behind me, have no trouble saying now.

I've always loved to read. It started, I think, as a child at the breakfast table reading the backs of cereal boxes. Living in a small town in the 1950s, I could walk alone to the library, even as a child of five, and bring home as many books as I could carry.

Over the years, the books grew smaller in size, with fewer colors and more words. I went from Dr Seuss to The Hardy Boys to science fiction to everything I could get my hands on. Especially if it had words like breast or nipple or naked. Ah, weren't those innocent days wonderful. I almost pity teenage boys today, with the internet making access to sex easy and leaving nothing to the imagination.

All my life I've preferred eating alone because it lets me read at the same time. How could human dinner companions be as interesting as the brilliant or funny authors at my table?

I don't understand those who choose not to read. It's as if they're living in a cleaning closet at the Smithsonian and thinking they've seen the entire museum.

Obviously, my list of favorite books is neither comprehensive nor complete. I'm sure I'm forgetting many books I've read that are better than those on my list.

Praising these books, especially those the public never found worthy, I'm hoping you might try them and also find the magic in them I did.

My Deserted Island Books list is here or at the link at left.