Desert Island Books: Joanne Harris

One of my perennial comfort reads. After all these years in print, still as surprisingly witty and fresh as a Noel Coward musical.


A vibrant and wonderful short story collection from one of the 20th century’s great masters of the art. Bradbury’s prose is magical; evocative, crisp and filled with unabashed joie-de-vivre.
The bleakest of Westerns, written in the darkest, most thundering Biblical prose. I love it.

Joanne Harris Desert Island Books

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

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Myths of the Norsemen by H.A. Guerber

And, as a quote on one of her books once said: ‘If Joanne Harris didn’t exist, someone would have to invent her’ – and I couldn’t agree more!

Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake

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Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Dense, ominous, strange and compelling, Peake’s masterwork defies categorization, and continues to offer new insights and perspectives at every re-reading.

R is for Rocket by Ray Bradbury

Articles, history and perfume reviews ranging from the elegiac to the hilariously scathing. Bitchier than Joan Collins; cleverer than Stephen Fry.

Joanne Harris has long been a favourite writer of mine. One of the only authors whose books I often reread, her Chocolat books are all flawless tales of hedonism, whimsy, and, of course, chocolate; and I’ve read and adored every single one of her books, from the gothic Sleep Pale Sister to the magical realism of Blackberry Wine. Joanne Harris’s novels are evocative, atmospheric and oh-so-beautifully written and it is thus that with great honour I welcome her to my Desert Island Books series. From the much-loved classic that Joanne was drawn to thanks to her obsession with monsters as a teenage girl, to the non-fiction book that she recommends to everyone, read on to find out which eight books Joanne Harris would take with her to the sandy shores of a desert island.

The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Joanne Harris Desert Island Books

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

Out of print even when I first read it, this was one of the great influences of my childhood. A compendium of Scandinavian and Icelandic myths, from which arose my lifelong fascination for old Norse mythology, language, and culture.

Perfumes, the Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez

One of the great passions of my adolescence, by the author that ruined Dickens for me forever; a massive, breathtaking novel, thrilling but literary, perfectly poised between epic and melodrama. Joanne Harris Desert Island Books
The book
that taught me that language, correctly used, can evoke any sensation, create any emotion. Perfect voodoo on the page.