Ed. Note: This is the 2nd in our series of books we’d take on a deserted island if we could only pick 10. Thanks again to Time Magazine for the idea!


The Likeness by Tana French

Tana French is one the best mystery/thriller writers that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. If I had to pick just one of her novels, it would be this. Murder, mystery, doppelgängers and the Irish countryside? Count me in.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Perhaps I’m just desperate to rekindle the way it felt to read J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books for the first time, but to me, the Cormoran Strike series is like Harry Potter for adults. A bit grim at times, this novel is well-written, gripping and makes you question how you didn’t identify the killer from the start.

Atonement by Ian McEwan

I’m a sucker for a tragic love story, especially one that contains some unexpected twists. The prose is beautifully done. I can’t say enough good things about this book, which might be why I wrote several papers on it during my undergraduate and graduate years.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

I’ve been reading Sarah Dessen since I was 13 and she’s one of the only authors I’ve stuck with even into adulthood. I am always excited for the release of her next book and her newest work, Saint Anything, doesn’t disappoint. This story of family and forgiveness and friendships might be my favorite one of Dessen’s yet.

London Walks by David Tucker

London is the best city in the world (in my opinion). Samuel Johnson once said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” This book holds a special place in my heart (the author, David Tucker, was my professor and tour guide when I studied abroad in London) for the way it describes the city in nice little vignettes. It is meant to be read in London itself and comes with suggestions of where each chapter should be enjoyed.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky

I picked up a copy of this book at Shakespeare and Co. in Paris and then read it on the 3-hour train ride back to Grenoble (where I was studying abroad at the time) so my memory of reading this book for the first time is quite charmed. Perks is relatable at any age and perfectly captures what it means to grow up and navigate all the messy parts of life.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

This classic resonated with me a lot when I first read it in high school. I admire Edna’s wish to do as she pleases, during a time when it was frowned upon if a woman was anything less than a great wife and mother.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

“Something wicked this way comes…” Who doesn’t love plotting, murder and great monologues in Scotland? As an English major and a literature student, I’ve read a good amount of Shakespeare, but none is as interesting to me as this one. Lady Macbeth is a villain I love to hate.

Monarchy by David Starkey

Concise, informative and dramatic, this history of the Monarchy in England is a page-turner. It covers the early aught of the monarchy all the way up to the Windsor family that we so knowingly love and adore today.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

This series doesn’t really need any explanation. It’s amazing. I grew up with these books. Prisoner of Azkaban is crucial because of the introduction of Sirius Black, and, for the first time, Harry sees firsthand that everyone deserves forgiveness, not matter how difficult it seems. Plus, I always wanted a time turner so I could be in two places at once!


Emma Kanagaki is a Librariand and a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive