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Mary Balogh asks–what authors are your desert island must-haves?

Mary Balogh recently asked a question of her readers which turned out to be far more difficult to answer than she anticipated: if you had to be stranded on a desert island for a week, which 5 books would you choose?

A few weeks ago I asked on my Facebook page which five books (no more than that!) readers would choose to take with them if they were to be stranded for a year on a luxurious but bookless (and internet-less!) desert island. A number of people made a valiant attempt. A few even got the number down to five. Many people tried to cheat, either by taking whole series with them to count as one book or else by planning sneaky book swaps with other strandees. Many complained that I had set an impossible task. And I must admit, when I tried to do it myself, I had a hard time of it. And so I relented . . .

I asked the question again. What if you were able to take the complete works of five different authors? BUT—you have to do the hauling of all those trunks of books. No brawny porters on this island! The choice would have to be made wisely, wouldn’t it? No matter how attached you might be to GONE WITH THE WIND, for example, the choice of Margaret Mitchell might be a poor one since it was the only book she ever wrote. If, on the other hand, you chose Nora Roberts and Louis L’Amour, you could well need an extra year on that island, especially if you remembered that Nora writes the R. D. Robb books as well. Or . . . I have almost 100 books in print (hint!).

Readers did better at this, though I still had the grumblers and cheaters to contend with. Avid readers are up to all sorts of tricks when someone is threatening to limit their access to books. And that seems to apply particularly to readers of romance!

I did the exercise myself. It was not easy. Including one author sometimes meant omitting another. And just when I thought I had my five, I would remember someone else who was an absolute must. I aimed for variety and something to suit all moods. I also aimed for prolific authors. These are my choices: AGATHA CHRISTIE for her beautifully written period pieces and mysteries that still hold up to scrutiny; MICHAEL CONNELLY because I love his Harry Bosch and am growing fond of his Mickey Haller too; P. G. WODEHOUSE for his brilliant use of the English language, his priceless creations, Berty Wooster and Jeeves, and his laugh-aloud humor; GEORGETTE HEYER for the sheer romance of her stories and the rich Regency or Georgian ambiance she could create so seemingly without effort; and SUSAN ELIZABETH PHILLIPS for the contemporary romance and the wit and all those hunky, sporty heroes.

Right—your turn. Which five authors would you choose, and–if you are willing to share—why those five?

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