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:

If you were trapped on a literary desert island, what books would you want on your Kindle?


  1. The Rosary, by Florence Barclay
    The title sounds Catholic but it’s actually after a popular song of the time period. The Rosary is a unique British love story with a Christian perspective and emphasis on the sacredness of marriage and the family. It was a best seller in Great Britain in 1910. I have reread it multiple times and own two copies, one for lending! It is unusual because the heroine is a very different character–she is almost thirty years old and plain, but she still has a lovely romance…such a good book! I recommend it to my friends and all of them so far have been hooked.

  2. The most important book I would want with me, besides the Bible, is a hymnal! I couldn’t live without one for too long, and it doesn’t grow old or ever get “finished”.

    Several people have mentioned C. S. Lewis, and I’d love to have everything he wrote, but the most important ones would definitely be
    Till We Have Faces – very deep and challenging on many levels, and a good contender for my favorite book if I had to have one; and
    Space Trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength)

    Anne Shirley is a bosom friend I have to visit every now and then.
    The Story Girl and its sequel The Golden Road, also by L. M. Montgomery, are favorites too.
    The Winnie the Pooh books by A. A. Milne are great too – they’re not silly or shallow like they sound!

    Christian non-fiction I’ve found very encouraging:
    The Godly Man’s Picture (Thomas Watson),
    Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices (Thomas Brooks),
    Desiring God (John Piper).

  3. One I haven’t seen mentioned that is my particular favorite:
    My Desire, by Susan Warner
    and another:
    Olive Roscoe, E. Everett Green
    They’re both fiction since people have already listed my non-fiction favorites.

  4. A very big “thank you, ladies!” from that literary desert island in Africa.

    I have just spent the last hour browsing through the books that have been suggested. It feels like Christmas! Though I’m afraid I may fill my Kindle with more books than I can read in the remaining 16 months I have here in Africa…but the books will keep for the future if I do have too many! Besides, one can never really have too many books. Keep the suggestions coming, I’m still open to more ideas!

    1. I was just going to email you to make sure you’d seen all the suggestions, cuz. So glad they were helpful. Miss you!

  5. The Bible (and a good concordance/studies to go along with it)
    Streams in the Desert
    My Utmost for His Highest
    Entire collection of Elisabeth Elliot
    Health/Herb/Medical books (It would be hard to choose just 2 or 3!)
    George MacDonald collection
    Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose
    Holiness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
    In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon
    The Blessing by Gary Smalley & John Trent

    Perhaps a few select books by Michael Phillips
    And a few select books by Harold Bell Wright.

    Some sort of Photography book: I have several in mind. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. One of my favorite authors is Francine Rivers. I love Redeeming Love and her Mark of the Lion Trilogy. Christy by Catherine Marshall. I also love Meeting God at Every Turn by Catherine Marshall. The Count of Monte Christo. Eve’s Daughters and The Hiding Place by Lynn Austin. Compelled by Love by Heidi Baker.

    There’s too many good books out there. I think all the rest of my favorites were already listed.

  7. Some of my favorites that I didn’t notice mentioned above:
    Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose
    The Chronicles of the Kings series by Lynn Austin (5 book series)
    The Acadian Series by Janette Oke & T. Davis Bunn (5 books)

  8. Apart from the Bible …

    Authentic Beauty (Leslie Ludy)
    Set-Apart Femininity (”)

    Morning and Evening (C.H. Spurgeon)
    Practising the Presence of God (Brother Lawrence)

    Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
    Anne of Avonlea (”)
    Anne of the Island (”)
    Anne’s House of Dreams (”)
    Anne of Ingleside (”)
    Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
    Emma (”)
    Persuasion (”)
    A Damsel in Distress (P.G. Woodhouse)

  9. Everyone already mentioned some great books and I will probably be seconding a lot of them but here is my list (trying to keep it short!) and in no particular order, excluding the Bible.

    Stepping Heavenward
    Books by George MacDonald
    Books by Elisabeth Elliot
    Wives and Daughters
    Little House Book series
    Anne of Green Gables Book series
    All Together in One Place and sequels by Jane Kirkpatrick
    Selections from C.S. Lewis (or his best of book)
    A few good health related books (everyone seems to have their favorite resource).

  10. I would bring my favorites from Leslie Ludy: Authentic Beauty, Set-Apart Girl, and The Lost Art of True Beauty.

  11. Along with my Bible, I would want these books:
    one of Mrs. Cowman’s devotionals
    a good hymnal
    When God Writes Your Life Story or Set Apart Femininity
    Stepping Heavenward
    Garrett Sheldon’s What Would Jesus Do?
    No Graven Image
    Don’t Waste Your Life
    Do Hard Things
    The Prayer of Jabez
    What’s so Amazing About Grace?

    I would also want some fun books like these:
    Holy War
    Martin Chuzzlewit
    Wuthering Heights
    Pride and Prejudice or Emma
    Treasures of the Snow
    any of C. S. Lewis’s fiction
    something modern and intense like Frank Peretti’s books or The Veritas Conflict by Shaunti Feldhahn

  12. How much does a Kindle hold?
    The Bible
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    All of the awesome Jane Austen novels
    The Love Comes Softly series and Canadian West Series by Janette Oke
    All the Beverly Lewis, Beth Wiseman, Wanda Brunstetter, Kathleen Fuller, Amy Clipston books. many more. I love reading!

    1. I believe the Kindle can hold up to 1,500 books! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Melea Bulkley says:

    The Bible

    Jane Eyre (one of my favorite favorites)

    Not My Will by Francena Arnold

    The Long Way Home By Edith Snyder Pedersen

    Persuasion by Jane Austen

    Just to name a few ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Kirsten C. says:

    Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
    The A.D. Chronicles by Brock and Bodie Thoene (bring Bible stories to life in a wonderful way!)
    Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge
    Path of Loneliness by Elisabeth Elliot

    these are a few that I’d find a way to stash – though I’d have to choose a few favorites from the Chronicles as the whole series wouldn’t fit in a suitcase. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I’d bring my Bible and two favorite devotionals (My Utmost For His Highest and Valley of Vision). I’d also bring a couple books about surviving on an island.

    Otherwise, I’d bring those books I’ve been wanting to read and have never finished:

    The First Circle and The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    Lord of the Rings
    War and Peace
    The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

    Then for fun… all the Mitford books by Jan Karon and all my Elizabeth Goudge books

    I suppose the reason I’d end up on such an island is being shipwrecked from the load of too many books. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Haha, great idea to bring a book on survival on a desert island! Why didn’t I think of that?

  16. Some favorites I’d be choosing from:

    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis
    the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien
    Smith of Wooten Major and Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien
    The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
    the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
    The Heavenly Man (I’m not sure who the author is but it’s about Brother Yun)
    Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
    Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
    Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
    Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    The Lost Years of Merlin series by T.A. Barron

    I’m sure there are lot’s more! Books are amazing!

  17. Rebekah Dickinson says:

    Assuming the Kindle has many many gigabytes
    The Bible (good answer!)
    The Map of Love by Adhar Souief
    Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    The Far Pavillions and
    Shadow of the Moon by MM Kaye
    Helen Forrester books
    Some Chalet school books by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
    Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher
    Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
    Persuasian by Jane Austen
    Bleak House by Charles Dickens
    Knowing God by JI Packer
    The God I Love and also Joni by Joni Earackson….

    and a whole heap of tea bags and hopefully a means to obtain hot water and milk because books must be read with copious amount of tea.

  18. I think it’s a great idea for your cousin!

    Since we already know we’d have the Bible, I’ll shoot ahead and say without hesitation, Les Miserables, Ben Hur & Wives & Daughters, three old friends. I’d bring several books I haven’t read yet and would take a long time such as David McCullough’s John Adams. There would be a book or two of poems such as Robert Browning or T.S. Eliot. There would be my Greek New Testament if I didn’t already have it and my Greek textbook. There would be some P.G. Wodehouse. And I would include a whole series that I hadn’t read yet of something easier on the brain for the evenings I wanted to just relax, such as Brock & Bodie Thoene.

  19. I’d have to have the Confessions of Saint Augustine, his Homilies on 1 John, and my breviary.

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