Desert Island Books: Robyn Donaldson

Love this post? Click here to subscribe.


So I have never got all the way through this book but I did a creative writing MA so you’re kind-of obliged to smirk over DFW with Very Cool Boys (or you were in the early 2000s) so this because I like him and it’s a very long book and there’s time. Failing that Moby Dick or Ulysses? Again, I am fully trying to cheat the system here.
This is the last book I read so very much in the front of my mind and is short but amazing. It speaks to my current home (South East London) but from a standpoint that’s core to this area, the experience of a young black person growing up in a place with profound and historic inequality. It’s a beautiful, stirring depiction of love, life and growing up straddling different worlds.

Buy The Old Man and the Sea from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.

The Odyssey by Homer

 I love all of Warsan’s work. It’s like this lyrical, raw, sensual, horrifying, grounding thing that makes you dig yourself while probably feeling a bit sickened by the privilege you grew up with.

Originally from Lancashire, London-based writer, blogger and newly-published author, Robyn Donaldson recently penned a book with her best friend Emma Hopkinson called It’s Your Loss. Born from the belief that there is no right or wrong way to navigate loss, and explore their natural inclination to either keep their feelings in (Emma) or let them all out (Robyn), the book fuses personal experience with expert commentary from a professional psychologist anchors their differing viewpoints in scientific fact.

This is terrible, isn’t it? Like choosing the Best of the Beatles. I just love her stories and I’m really focused on having enough reading material. I feel like that snarky, knowing metropolitan life is something I’d really miss on a desert island so Lorrie Moore could be my wry companion.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Robyn Donaldson

Buy The Odyssey from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire

Infinite Jest

Just romance again. And hope. And sadness. I love this book with my whole heart. I think the read-one-million-times-ability of it trumps the tininess. And it makes me want to write more and punctuate better.

I just find this book so funny. Even if it is Sarah Palin’s favourite I still maintain it’s a classic. I could read about Ignatius’s struggles with his mother/work/people/clothes/stomach over and over and still cry laughing every time.

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons  

Buy Infinite Jest from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.

The Collected Stories of Lorrie Moore by Lorrie Moore

Buy Cold Comfort Farm from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.

Buy Open Water from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

The Emily Wilson translation please as I did the Robert Fagles edition at school and uni. Oh, and can I have an ancient Greek dictionary so I can have a go myself? I love the Odyssey – I’m a proper nerd for Classics. 

I had to have this to remind me of my chaotic, funny, sometimes kind-of psychedelic family of farmers from Lancashire. And cos I’m a narcassist so I low-key see myself as the Flora of my family.

I was thrilled to host Robyn on my Desert Island Books series, and loved how varied her literary choices were. From the original Greek classic to the ultimate comfort read, here are the eight books she’s take with her to the sandy shores of a desert island.

Buy The Collected Stories of Lorrie Moore from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.

Buy Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Buy It’s Your Loss from Book Depository or Waterstones.

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Buy A Confederacy of Dunces from Bookshop.org, Book Depository or Waterstones. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.