Friday, 13 April 2012

"Which book would you take if

you could take just one book to a deserted island? Why? Find out what at least three more people would like to take and say why they would take those books.
The Whirlwind bounced in at lunchtime yesterday to ask about this. It is "holidays" this week and she has been working on various tasks given to her by her teachers. She left the English until last. English is her favourite subject "because I like to read".
She had spent the morning with a friend. The friend has the same work to do. "She just asked her Mum and her Dad and her brother." Right. I would expect that.
           "I asked my Dad and he said "How to live on a desert island" but there isn't a book called that but he said it would have to be a how to do it sort of book. He still could not do things."  No, her father is not very practical  but the book might be useful.
           "So, what would you take?" she asked my father.
           "A gardening book because I would need to be able to grow something to eat."
She agreed that this was a reasonable choice. It is the sort of thing my father would choose although I know he would prefer the complete works of one of his favourite authors.
What would I take? The complete Oxford English Dictionary.  We argued about this because it does not come in one volume. Even the shorter two volume version was something we argued about. Why did I want it? Because I could learn more words and more about words. Yes, she understood that but was still dubious about allowing me to take it. I told her that, if I could not have that, then I would have my Gaelic-English dictionary and I might learn some more. Yes, she thought, good idea - if not at all practical.
She did the rounds after that and asked our Chinese neighbours. The husband just shook his head. He is not a reader of books but maybe some sort of how to book? He is even less practical than the Whirlwind's father but he thought it might help him build a shelter. His wife, a former teacher of Chinese literature, opted for a classical Chinese text. The German woman across the road said she would take her Bible. The Italian girl next to her said "a book about how to draw things so I could do that and then I could bring the drawings back with me".
Eventually she wandered back into our house and I asked,
         "And what are you going to choose?"
She did not know. She prowled along our shelves, took some books off, opened them, shut them, put them back.
Finally, as I knew she would, she ended at the dictionaries. I have quite a number of dictionaries. I need them for my work. She is learning French and Latin at school and, informally, Italian from a friend's family. At last she took down a multi-language thematic dictionary that was given to me many years ago. It is a very large tome. It is illustrated.
         "I'll take this one and then I will be very well informed - at least about some things."
What would you take?

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