desert-island books

If I could only have one book on a desert island, I’d have a hard time choosing between Stanley Lombardo’s translation of the Iliad and my leather-bound Iliad & Odyssey, translated by Samuel Butler.

If I could take a second book, I’d probably want a heavily annotated and cross-referenced edition of the King James, but I haven’t found such a thing in print. Does anyone have anything to recommend? It’s hard to imagine how people studied the Bible before there were so many great online tools. I really like this cross-referenced Bible:

If I could take three books, I’d take the scholar’s edition of Human Action. (You might think Rothbard, but Mises is the source.) Of course, I’ve only read the first half of it; maybe it gets awful in the second half. I hope I don’t get shipwrecked before I finish the book and can know for sure.


One Response to desert-island books

  1. Carolyn says:

    This desert island scenario has always stumped me. I am torn between choosing 3 titles I know and love and 3 titles I don’t know at all, whose novelty would occupy me for the term of my isolation. I’ve come to think of the latter path as the “Umberto Eco Anti-Library” choice. AC (via Nicolas Nassim Taleb — see has planted the notion in my head that it is better for one’s library to contain more unread books than read books. An annotated and cross-referenced Bible sounds to me like a good combination of the two paths– something you’re familiar with but that still contains plenty of stories and ideas to discover.

    But no, this doesn’t mean that the Bible has made it onto my desert island list. Not yet. As much as I love to read, I suspect that I might just might have to side with Dwight K. Schrute on this one.

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