If I were on a deserted tropical island, the five top books I would want to take along with me are the Federalist Papers, The Republic, The Trial, Remembrance of Times Past, and the Bible. This might seem like a heavy dose but I would need books that kept me busy, that made me think, and ponder, and feel and I think these five top books would do it. I like mystery novels and trash as much as the next guy but they wouldn’t keep me occupied the way my top ten books would.
THE TOP FIVE BOOKS: THE REPUBLIC BY PLATO
It is said that all philosophy is but a footnote to Plato and this book can keep one thinking for a lifetime. It is concerned with making the perfect state and with the nature of reality. It is written as a series of conversations and isn’t that hard to read but it does pose some hard questions.
THE TOP FIVE BOOKS: THE FEDERALIST PAPERS
This is a book of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. It is an explanation of the constitution by some of its founders.
You might think it would be a dull read, but for anyone interested in politics, it is quite fascinating. The writing is not high faluting but down to earth and very readable.
THE TOP FIVE BOOKS: THE TRIAL BY FRANZ KAFKA
An ordinary guy is suddenly arrested and he doesn’t know why or what he is charged with, when he will go to trial or anything else. If you want to know why some things are called Kafkaesque, this book will show you why. You never do learn why the character K is arrested but this book keeps teasing at you as you try to figure out what it all means.
THE TOP FIVE BOOKS: REMEBRANCE OF THINGS PAST BY MARCEL PROUST
People say that once you read this book your life will be changed. Other people say, yeah, the book is so long that you will be much older by the time you finish it. I must admit that I have not read the whole book and that it is not an easy read. For one thing, it has sentences that run on for pages and pages.
For another, not much happens. But this books would last a lifetime and the writing is beautiful and observations of human beings keen and profound.
THE TOP FIVE BOOKS: THE BIBLE
If I could only take one book, this would be the one. Everyone should have some acquaintance even if they are not religious because it is part of our cultural heritage and because it is beautiful, profound, and has some darn good stories. I must admit that I am partial to the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) because it has lots more stories and passages and books of stunning beauty. The Psalms alone are masterpieces of poetry and the story of the Exodus has to be one of the world’s great stories.
Well, there you have my top five books. Try them; you might like them.