This week on Barren Island Books, something a little different.
We've been exiling our guests to remote islands, armed only with their five chosen books and a few extra essentials, for six months now – and so we thought it was a good time to take stock. Thus far we've interviewed 28 amazing authors, who between them selected 132 books … or omnibuses … or entire series (because it's amazing what people will try and get away with when they think they're going to be deprived of their favourite reading matter). So which are the top picks? Which books and authors stand out as being preferred companions-in-exile? And which of our guests wins the prize for smuggling the greatest number of extra books onto their barren island? All will be revealed below.
As you might expect from a group of interviewees who mainly write fantasy themselves, the most frequently chosen authors were J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett, J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis. Which proves that the classics never die, and also that having initials instead of a first name is a good step for a fantasy author.*
The Lord of the Rings was the only book that was chosen several times. Books that featured twice included the Brothers Grimm's Collection of Fairy Tales, Frank Herbert's Dune, Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind and Ian Banks's The Crow Road. Our guests are nothing if not eclectic.
Goblet of Fire was the preferred Harry Potter book. It's not the longest, or (in my opinion) the best plotted. On the other hand, it does contain dragons. Perhaps that's what swayed the interviewees.
Terry Pratchett was chosen six times, but it was a different book each time. Whatever you think of Sir Terry, he's certainly not a one-hit wonder.
The most popular recent author was Joe Abercrombie. It seems that as well as dragons, our guests enjoy a little bit of bloody violence.
Two of our interviewees also had their books chosen by other interviewees. Stand up, Sophie E. Tallis and M.T. McGuire! (See, I told you about the initials.)
The Best Cheat Award has to go to Lindsey J. Parsons, who managed to sneak 26 books past us in the early days of the show (before we got wise to our guests' determination to hold on to their favourite reading material by any means possible). Well done, Lindsey. We'll be sending the sharks your way soon …
So there you have it. We've got more interesting, entertaining and completely bonkers Barren Islanders coming your way in the months ahead, but in the meantime, we at BIB would like to thank everyone who's participated in the show so far. It's been a pleasure exiling you all :-)
* She says smugly.