In the evening hours of the past few months I’ve been transported to a faraway island: my husband has been reading aloud Daniel DeFoe’s Robinson Crusoe. You’re probably familiar with the story: Crusoe is the lone survivor of a shipwreck. He manages to survive with the fruit of the island upon which he lands, and the items he collects from the wrecked ship. The subtitle, in fact, sums it all up (including demonstrating DeFoe’s hilarious long-winded writing style): “The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who Lived Eight and Twenty Years all Alone in an Uninhabited Island on the Coast of America, Near the Mouth of the Great River of Orinoco; Having Been Cast on Shore by Shipwreck, Wherein all the Men Perished but Himself. With an Account How He Was at Last as Strangely Delivered by Pirates.”
Robinson Crusoe gives new meaning to the many variations of the question as to what you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island. Thankfully for this fictional character, he finds a Bible on the ship, which not only provides him years of transformational reading but a new perspective on his lonely situation.
My cousin Jennifer is a missionary to Africa. She is not the lone occupant of the land, like Crusoe. Nor is she limited to the contents of a wrecked ship for her tools of survival. But Africa is practically a literary desert island for lover of literature like Jennifer. She has always been as avid a book collector as me, and an even more voracious reader. It was torture for her to decide which few books to stash in her suitcases. After all, she had to leave room for clothes and other supplies for her time as a school teacher to missionary kids!
But back to Crusoe for a moment. What if his shipwreck happened today, and what if he’d found a Kindle full of books on the ship? Obviously, the Bible is the most important Book, and if you could choose only one book, the Bible would be the Text with which one would want to spend years on a deserted island.
But to give a new spin on the old question, if you were trapped on a desert island, what books would you be glad you downloaded to your Kindle?
A Kindle, just in case you don’t know, is a wireless device onto which you can download hundreds of books for your reading pleasure. The idea behind the title is to “kindle” a love of reading in this techie generation.
My cousin Jennifer, like myself, is a lover of the old-fashioned. We know you can’t replace the feel of holding a book in your hand, the smell of the print, the sound of pages turning. But books quickly add to baggage weight. And there are only so many pounds one can carry on a trek into Africa. That’s where the slim, lightweight Kindle comes in.
Jennifer’s dad, my uncle Eric, was part of founding an organization called Mark Five, bringing computer technical support and assistance to missionaries. This year, his travels with Mark Five will include a visit to his daughter Jennifer. And he’s bringing this dear schoolteacher missionary cousin of mine a Kindle full of books.
But Jennifer is in Africa, remember—with an internet connection that’s limited, not to mention a laptop battery charged by the sun. She doesn’t exactly have the luxury of browsing all the aisles of Barnes and Noble to find exactly the titles she’d like to have on her Kindle.
So this year, for our March of Books, I thought it would be a fun to give Jennifer suggestions for her Kindle downloads.
So, dear fellow bibliophiles, please comment and tell us: