Ed. Note: This is the 8th in our series of books we’d take with us on a deserted island if we could only pick ten. Today’s list comes from Liz Tousey, a librarian and Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive.


The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

Becoming a Shakespeare scholar was one of my secret imaginary dream careers in undergrad- along with professional musician, radio DJ, and librarian.  I’m so lucky to have one!

An Evening of Long Goodbyes by Paul Murray

Hilarious and farcical narration and plot, with soulful and poignant monologues…Catnip for people who enjoy good character progression.

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut has an amazing way of holding up something that we think is ever so normal, and pointing out to us that it’s actually quite bizarre.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Every time I finish one, I take a deep breath and think to myself, “Wow her books are good.”  (Behind the Scenes at the Museum was my close second, in case you needed to know.)

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

Bawdy, hilarious, piercing, and one of the best coming-of-age novels I’ve ever read. I secretly want every young woman to read this, but especially those with an inner (or outer) rocker girl.  Great for the gents as well.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

If you don’t love this book within the first two pages, put it down and we shall never speak of it again. You might open it for the promise of sex and revolution, but you’ll stay for the philosophy.

Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas

Acknowledging that most romance novels follow a fairly predictable story arc, the thing that separates Thomas from other writers of her ilk is that up until the end of the book, you find yourself thinking, “Things don’t always work out the way we want.  Maybe this time they won’t end up together… Maybe this time she’ll break our hearts.”

Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint

I first read this collection of short stories in high school, and (20ish years later) recently listened to the audiobook.  Like Diagon Alley or the Shire, this book (and the others in the same universe) makes you long to visit De Lint’s fictional city of Newford.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

This book is clearly for book nerds by a book nerd.  It’s very funny and very quotable. There might be a good reason as to why it seems to appear on every library’s Staff Favorites curated list that I’ve seen.

The Condensed Oxford English Dictionary

Having previously worked in higher ed for 10 years, I LOVE LOVE LOVED having the OED online at my fingertips, and teaching students about all of its fantastic awesomeness. It’s so easy to fall into an etymology hole for an hour or two at a time.

Liz Tousey is a librarian and a Collection Development Analyst with OverDrive