Phil Rosen Desert Island Books

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When I was a sucker for a travelogue, when the travel writer and blogger Phil Rosen contacted me to ask if I would be interested in reading his memoirs somewhere other than my home, I quickly ordered a copy and started following his adventures on Instagram shortly after. An avid reader like me, Phil grew up in California and now lives in New York, where he works as a journalist and writer. I loved reading about the two years he spent in Hong Kong and I was delighted when he agreed to participate in my desert islands book series. especially since I discovered how similar our literary tastes are.

With one of the great Americans, one of the best thrillers of recent years and a memoir at the dawn of a coming-of-age story, here are the eight books that Phil would take with him on the sandy beaches of a desert island…

Beyond Eden by John Steinbeck

This is simply one of my favorite novels. Steinbeck rightfully appears on the List of favorite authors of many people, but the crowd is right in this matter. The book is a roller coaster ride of humanity – tragedies color the story, but small inspiring victories help keep the characters afloat and balance the stakes.

When I first read this a few years ago, I liked it so much that I restarted it immediately when I finished it. This book makes so much sense, so subtle in its ideas that I could read it over and over again and never get to the bottom of it — a perfect choice for a desert

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I could read anything by Gillian Flynn over and over again, especially this one. Not that Gone Girl is a desert island-specific story, but it’s so exciting, fast-paced, and scary that it’s a must-read for enjoyment purposes alone. A guilty pleasure to read from me.

The disadvantage of Bringing Gone Girl is that it is so unpronounceable that I would read it too quickly and reread it if I had nothing else to do. It’s really so good of a Novel.

Tuesday with Mitch Albom’s Morrie

One of my favorite books because I learned so much from it. This is the story of a dying professor and his former student (The author) and the relationship they establish at the end of the professor’s life. Every time I revisit, I am overwhelmed by the wisdom that Albom transmits through his writing.

His ideas about relationships, romantic and different, are simple but timeless. This book made me cry more than once. On a desert island, a certain emotional depth can be comforting and rewarding. Plus, it’s a quick read – maybe a lazy afternoon or two. Morrie is an easy choice for me.

Wild misplaced by Cheryl

I’ve read books that I liked better, but Wild is too well suited to a desert island not to be included here. Cheryl Strayed is a master at articulating the feeling of solo travel and adventure, so she would be an extremely rewarding companion for a blocked reader.

The book is, at its core, a coming-of-age story, although Strayed (the main character) was not a child when she wrote it. She grows as a person, becomes stronger and more thoughtful by overcoming a body challenge. This is the kind of book that would inspire me to keep going if I was traveling alone.

Aldous Huxley Island

Huxley is best known for Brave New World, which I also liked, but this book seems to be much more suited to the topic here. In addition, I think it is a more difficult and complex book to understand. This is a fictional and utopian island. Huxley’s best attempt to create a perfect company (and he did a hell of a job in creating it).

The story follows the discovery and subsequent disappearance of Utopia. The characters change as well and as beautifully as they navigate the perfect island and unintentionally damage it. Huxley balances politics, Religion, spirituality, economics and other social elements in the noblest attempt At Utopia that I have experienceed in fiction.

All the light we can’t see by Anthony Doerr

I am a sucker for historical fiction, and I am twice as much for everything related to Paris. Add a World War II setting and it will be a no-brainer for me. Dörr’s book is written so consciously and with such subtlety. It took me several readings to fully grasp all the thematic elements and the reminders between the beginning and the end of the book.

The main character Marie-Laure is so adorable and inspiring. And again, resort to practicality here — on a desert island, a story like this is necessary to remind you of human love, hope and triumph in the face of apparent despair. One of my absolute favorites and a more appropriate one for lonely moments.

The Plague Of Albert Camus

I read this at the beginning of the recent times. Even though Camus published this in 1947, it reads as if it was written for readers in 2021. The description of quarantines, an health-issue that killed people at such a speed that an entire city had to be closed, The isolation of the characters.

Everything seemed so close to home and too believable — but that’s what makes it so good. It is a work of genius with philosophical and existential themes that run through the book and characters with whom I sympathized so much that I sometimes felt like I was reading a book about myself.

I would choose this because it really articulates what it means to be human and how isolation and insecurity can change people for the better or for the worse.

The Edge of the Knife by W. Somerset Maugham

Perhaps my favorite book of all time by one of my favorite authors of the twentieth century. This is not a completely happy story, but an open and naked one; it tells about life as a simple reality, without the usual fluff and romance of fiction. This is the story of a man who enters into purity with himself, aspires to wisdom and watches others finally fail in his life.

But the writing is beautiful and the story makes you think as if the author is accusing the reader of an endless series of “what if”. This book is readable for me to the nth degree. Similar to others I mentioned, this is a book that I could read countless times and that would never grasp the full meaning of the words or absorb the weight of its gravity. This is a book that I recommend the most of all the books on this List, and of course, it is the one that I would protect the most if I were banned in my own corner of the world.

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