A Dialogue on Movies, Books and More

Justin: Hey Zoe, how was your weekend?

Zoe: Not bad, my husband Matt and I got a good portion of writing done.

Justin: That’s awesome, what were you two working on?

Zoe: Well, I was working on my epic fantasy story and Matt was working on his fantasy western.

Justin: Both of which sound like they will be great reads once they are finished. Other than writing this weekend, did you reading any good books?

Zoe: I just finished up The Hunger Games, a Young Adult fiction book set in a distopian near-future where every year two representatives aged 12 to 18 from each district go to the capital and fight each other TO THE DEATH.  Lots of implications about governments ruling absolutely by fear, but it’s the first in a trilogy so we’ll see what else it’s about, right?  (Plus they just cast young lovely Jennifer Lawrence as the lead in the upcoming movie version.)  Are you reading anything interesting?

Justin: Well, I am currently reading several books on the art of writing. Trying to get a short story off the ground, so just reading what other authors have written about on the subject of writing. Got some great suggestions from your husband the other week as well, however, it was a busy weekend so I haven’t had a chance to work on it at all. Also, one of the books I am reading is by the founder of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which sounds like a fascinating endeavor. I know your husband did it last year. I think I may try to do it this year depending on where I am.

Zoe: Well, you have until November to read all you can to be prepared to try that madness.  It seemed to work very well for him, give him some structure or whatever, but I’m not sure I’d ever last if I tried.  Somehow I don’t think my school-years plan of waiting till the night before to write a paper will work in that sort of situation…

Justin: You’d be surprised apparently there have been several people who wait until the very last couple of days to write it all. You could do it, but probably not the best plan. Anyway, with all of this talk on books and writing, I thought that today’s topic could be an answer to a simple scenario.

Zoe: Okay, I’m intrigued, what kind of scenario?

Justin: The world has been thrown into chaos and you must leave your home taking barely anything with you. You are allowed to take one suitcase with clothing, a few family photos and three books. What three books do you take? Also, for anyone out there who is thinking, “Well I would just grab my Kindle or another e-reader,” sorry to say but all of the world’s electronics have been wiped out. Don’t ask me how they got knocked out, they just did. Deal with it. So, what three books would you take?

Zoe: Sounds like an interesting proposition. This will also give our readers some books to check out if they haven’t read or heard of them. Why don’t you start us off with your first book?

Justin: Well my first book would have to be Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. It is one of those books that I’ve read several times. My father was the one who actually introduced me to the book and it is his copy from college that I have sitting on my bookshelf. Siddhartha is a take on the story of the Buddha. It talks about his life and his journey to becoming the Buddha. To me though, it talks about a simpler way of life and a more peaceful environment. I think that if the world was in chaos, this would comfort me. It is a great book and a wonderful story to read.

Zoe: Okay, my first isn’t nearly as classy as yours: Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey.  This is the first in a string of books connected to each other (three consecutive trilogies) and in many ways the strongest because it utterly establishes  this fantastic, alternate history / religion / culture… a wicked beast of a premise.  It’s not for the faint of heart; the main character is a god’s chosen and experiences all pain as pleasure.. in addition to feeling pleasureful things as pleasure of course.  It’s a wonderful political thriller, a coming-of-age story, a sweeping adventure and romance, as well as a very interesting look at desire.  And very importantly, it has a fiercely unique and complicated lead female….  I’m stopping myself there, before I just go on and on: What’s your second pick?

Justin: Screw my second pick, I want to read and take that one.

Zoe: Well you can’t, it is my choice.

Justin: Sigh, fine. So, my second choice isn’t as cool as Zoe’s first choice and I am sure it won’t be as cool as her second choice, but here it goes anyway. For my second choice I would bring along a book of Edgar Allan Poe’s works including his poems and short stories. If you’ve read my other blog, you know that I am a poetry fan as well as a fan of Poe. He is one of my favorite poets and his horror stories take you back to a day when it didn’t have to be all blood and guts. His writing would also remind me a lot of Hitchcock and if there were no more electronics, it would be a happy reminder of the things that I loved. I don’t think he is given as much credit at times as other great poets, but he was unique and is worth checking out if all you’ve ever read is “The Raven” for school. Okay, so since I am pretty sure your next book will be as kick-ass as your first, lets have it.

Zoe: My second choice…  Wow, this is really hard.  You know, I avoid lists like this; they make me want to justify things.  But okay, my second would be A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.  The title sounds pretentious, but the book really is both heartbreaking and hilarious.  Everything, from the literal front cover to the literal back cover, is a part of the story; the author’s biography and the author’s picture contradict each other–there is a list of metaphors at the beginning that he actually uses that way during the story.  Man, I can’t even tell you how crazy and hard (crazyhard!) that is!  But now, it comes down to it.  What is your last choice?

Justin: This one was actually really hard to decide upon, because as you’ve mentioned, there are a ton of great books out there. Your last choice made me think of a book by Chuck Klosterman called Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs that is an excellent and hilarious read. However, since my last two choices were kind of serious, I think for my final book I would go with Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It is an excellent piece of science fiction that can really make you think. Some of the ethical questions that arise during the reading of this book are great conversation starters. Also the character of Ender in my opinion is just down right brilliant. It can also take you to a place where you can forget about your problems for awhile and focus on a whole other world. Wow that was a hard choice.

Zoe: I am conflicted here.  I have a tiny list of four books and I’m sure I’m forgetting about a million books that I love to reread, that I’d want to carry with me…  So.  I’m going to go with Bulfinch’s Mythology.  Take that, only-three-books rule!  If you get a Poe collection, I get an anthology.  If you’ve never so much as heard of it, I highly recommend paging through it, if not reading it cover to cover.  It’s a collection of all the most basic Greco-Roman myths, the story itself but also long quotes from source material and the oldest written versions of the story that there are.  I love mythology so much, the components and qualities of human nature that drive it, and the crazy stories.  Sigh…  Now can we talk about the books that almost made the top three?

Justin: Hahaha, I knew the only three rule was killing you. I was actually going to suggest that you list a few more of your favorites after we were done here. But I have to say, I think even with only being able to name three books we came up with a great list of literature. However, I know it is nagging at you so let’s have the ones that almost made the list.

Zoe: In no particular order: Enchantment by Orson Scott Card, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore, The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce, Born in Ice by Nora Roberts, Faking It by Jennifer Crusie, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, Tommy’s Tale by Alan Cumming, Obsidian Butterfly by Laurel K. Hamilton, Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay, Someplace to Be Flying by Charles de Lint, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough, Tomcat in Love by Tim O’Brien, His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman, The Villa by Nora Roberts, Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts, Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger, Pablo Neruda’s collected poems–

Justin: Wow, awesome, now that you have completed the “War and Peace” of lists, I will try to keep mine short. And I am not sure that list can count as ones that almost made it. That is basically saying the library or a Barns and Nobles almost made it. Anyway, like Zoe and in no particular order (I’ll keep it short): Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer, Travels by Michael Crichton, AWOL On The Appalachian Trail by David Miller, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Riverworld Series by Philip Jose Farmer, The Dresden Series by Jim Butcher and finally The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I’d ask if there was any you forgot but I am pretty sure we would be here all night.

Zoe: Yeah, that is probably true. It is better if we stop now before I can think of more…

Justin: Sounds like a plan. Also, we would like to hear from you guys as well. What are your three books that you would take? Just leave us a comment below.

Zoe: It doesn’t have to be a long one. A simple three-book list is fine.

Justin: Exactly and hopefully the weather is getting warmer somewhere so grab a book and sit outside. Although in Ohio at the moment it is still freezing. One day it will be warm… One day.

Zoe: It was actually a bit nice when I got home today; I walked to pick up some food while on the phone with my mom and only had on a tee and a hoodie.

Justin: Lucky. Well, until next time. Night Everyone!

Zoe: Night!


Comments on: "Justin and Zoe Tackle the Desert Island Question" (1)

  1. Huh. Fun question.

    US Army First Aid Manual – perhaps not entirely in the spirit of this challenge, but it’s the first thing that sprang to mind.

    Good Omens – It’s the end of the world, may as well have a good story to go along with it. Besides, it’s written by Pratchett and Gaiman – how can you go wrong?

    Lord of the Rings Trilogy – Door stopper? Check. Re-readable? Check. Fulfills my inner fantasy nerd? Check. I’m sure it’s sold SOMEWHERE as a single volume. Besides, you lot started the whole anthology/collection thing.

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