What Book Would You Take on an Island?

reading on this island

So, for some reason, I’ve been thinking about what book I would take to a desert island to keep me company. (There might not be much rationality in this post, but at least it’s random, and a refreshing break from biotech posts.)  Also, by one single book, I really mean one single object, so if it’s two, three, or four books bundled into one paperback, that still counts; or it could be a volleyball with a face on it.

So…which book would I take? Obviously, all non-fiction is automatically excluded. Who the hell cares about relativistic, non-simultaneous space-time, or that nothing is really something, or that there may be 11 dimensions, or that you’re an evolved ape when you’re stranded on, what is most likely, your tomb. As much as I love knowledge for the sake of knowledge; on an island, it would be quite futile. The book can only be fiction.

Up until recently, my favourite fiction book was Lord of the Rings, and that’s a good 1,200 or so pages. It’s a fantastic read and features an easy black and white divide between good and evil, so no need to do much thinking, but it might be tiring to reread time and time again. There is only so many times I can read an entire paragraph devoted to the intricate detail of the Witch King’s crown.

George Orwell’s 1984 is a magnificent read, but it is also a supremely depressing read, and since being on an island all alone would be depressing enough, 1984 would only make it worse. Sorry Orwell, 1984 is out.

Homer’s The Odyssey is a marvelous book full of trickery, deceit, gods, sex, and adventure. It twists, it turns, and comes back on itself in many delightful and fun ways. This book is definitely a top contender. The same can be said of the Iliad, and the Iliad has the benefit of not me not having finished it yet. (A friend gave me a copy of this many years ago, but I lost it, and every few months, I remember that tragic loss.) I can only imagine that both poems are combined somewhere in a single paperback, so these Greek adventures are front-runners.

George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire is, in my opinion, the best fiction I’ve ever read. Problem is, it’s five books long (over 4,000 pages) so it probably violates some single-book physics [ 😦 ]. Even then, taking one, whichever it maybe, would only leave you frustrated at the end, even if you could fit all 5 into a single paperback, you’re still missing books 6 and 7, which will be ready who knows when. (But then, you may just write books 6 and 7 of your own accord since you wouldn’t have anything better to do. So, can’t decide if this is a bad or good thing. Probably still bad.)

Then there are the classics I haven’t yet read: The Count of Monte Cristo; Ulysses; War and Peace; The Great Gatsby; Fahrenheit 451; Brave New World; Beowulf; and many a book I’m sure I’ve neglected to mention or forgot about. How to choose a book you haven’t read yet when there is no chance of recompense once stranded? Will I enjoy The Count of Monte Cristo with its swashbuckling adventure or the mythological Beowulf more? That’s a question I need answered before I choose. I’ve never been a very good chooser, but there is a solution, if you are willing to bend the rules just a wee bit.

The solution is simple: a Kindle sprayed with liquipel (water-proofing the Kindle completely if I have to swim to the island) inside a solar-powered case so I never run out of battery. (As long as they are fitted together before departure, they are all–technically–one holdable object.) This approach does have some problems. A Kindle won’t last forever, but it will last long enough. In 2009, I bought the 2nd Gen Kindle, and here in 2013, it having travelled through (and survived) Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Rome, and now find itself, still going strong, in New Delhi. That’s a pretty formidable 4 years and still it’s chugs along. The odds of me surviving 4 years on a desert island are slim-to-none, but, at least I’ll be happily entertained within the confines of my mental universe.

It seems that my problem solved. I’ll put all the books I want, and all those I may ever want, and even more that I’ve never heard of, and if I ever get rescued from that island, I just may become a literary reviewer.

But–because I’m sure a few people are disappointed–if I did really have to choose one singular book. I’d pick Homer’s poems: The Iliad and The Odyssey. Happy? Tell me yours, or would you cheat like me?

Random Rationality: Outline

Lately, as more and more people find out I’m writing a book, either by me shouting from the rooftops or those closest to me telling others, they have naturally asked me what it’s about, and that is not an easy question to answer succinctly because the book is about almost everything, so I have to blabber on for minutes, boring them in the process. So this post will try to remedy that in an easier fashion that I can verbalize when put on the spot.

The book covers 5 disciplines, with 4 sub-chapters each devoted to a specific topic within that discipline. At its most basic level, the book tries to conveniently, rationally, and simply explain each topic, and instigate deeper questions, and thoughts to the reader, hopefully providing a simple blueprint of the world to counter all the noise emanating from each and every direction in this day and age.

Here is the outline of the book. I would like to know what, if any first reactions anyone has by reading the below contents. Am I biting off more than I can chew? Please let me know in the comments. I would love to hear your opinions.

Random Rationality

Rational Explanations for the Busy Mind



Are We Special?
The Meaning of Life
The Simplest Explanation of God
Wouldn’t Heaven Be Boring?


The How of it All
Why We Need Space
An Atomic Dream
Is Free Will Free?


Are We Responsible?
Why is Politics’ Still Relevant?
How to Fix Politics
The Drug War is Inhumane


The Fantasy of Infinite Growth
Debt Crisis 101
Crony Capitalism
Europe’s Achilles Heel


Jobs of the Future
The Automobile and Plane
The Future of Food
Technological Goodness


Random Awesome Quotes

Random Fun Facts


Who Am I?


Random Rationality: The Book Trailer

Introducing the teaser trailer for Random Rationality: The Book. The book that will arrogantly explain God, the meaning of life, drugs, politics, the debt crisis, free will, and the future of work, food and energy among many other subjects.

It will be a short, concise, easy to read eBook due to be released June 30th on Amazon Kindle, iBook, and the Nook store. Mark your calendars!


So I’m Writing a Book

So, after 6 months of blogging, I’ve decided to write a book. That’s how important I think I am (<- sarcasm).

I'll be going the bloggers route, converting my blog posts into chapters, with significant modifications, and naming the book the same name as this blog.

I don't have many followers, but those I do seem to like what I write, obviously. So I was wondering if anyone would be interested in proof-reading my almost-finished book?

I would love honest feedback, fact correction and any missing angles that I may have, uh, missed.

I would also be open to having chapters added by any of my fellow bloggers.

Anybody open to changing the mindsets of readers?