Desert Island books

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, April 4, 2016
Friends often ask me about the books I enjoy, and I recommend Hookline titles, of course - something for everyone right there.
However, when I really think about my favourite books, the ones I would take to a desert island, non-fiction titles come up on top. I'm not sure why, maybe my journalist heart still beats, the thrill of the true life story. And my favourite book is Wayward Women; A Guide to Women Travellers, edited by Jane Robinson. It includes brief biographies of women in history who've ever set out for foreign lands without a man to protect them. Ida Pfeiffer was a devoted daughter, wife and mother until she reached the age of 45 and decided to explore life outside her native Germany. She chose the Holy Land and was cheated and swindled on the whole overland journey. Rather than turn her off travel, she returned broke but exhilarated and set off again - and again - for differing shores. I've sought out her original travel logs and her time in a Madagascan prison is stark but hilarious. There is also Helen Caddick, a single woman of means who set off across southern Africa with 25 bearers, who took turns to carry her on a hammock, and a young translator who spoke only biblical English and would greet her summons with the words, "Behold, I am come!" 
When life seems a little dull, I pull out Wayward Women - these are truly inspirational women and reading their adventures always makes me smile (wistfully).
When it comes to fiction, probably my favourite novel is The Country Girls by Edna O'Brien. Everything about it, from the writing to the characters of Kate and Baba breaking free from their traditional Irish families, thrills me.
Desert Island books - my first two!
What are yours?


Tags: "desert island books" "wayward women" "country girls" "helen caddick" "ida pfeiffer" 
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Yvonne Barlow Editor at Hookline Books - where book clubs and readers choose the novels that go to print.

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