Bookseller One Grand Books has asked literary celebrities to name the ten titles they’d take to a desert island, and they’ve shared the results with Vulture. Below is comedian, television host, and author Chelsea Handler’s list.
Barrel Fever, by David Sedaris
David Sedaris is fucking hilarious and there’s nothing I prefer to do more than laugh. If this book doesn’t make you laugh, I’ll refund you the money.
Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl
This book is one of those beautiful accounts of a terrible time in our history. His calm and sagaciousness, while witnessing one horror after another played out during his time in three separate concentration camps, is awe-inspiring. He speaks to the strength of the human spirit and there is a sentence in the book that made me put it down and think — “I stopped asking myself what I expected out of life, and asked myself what life expected out of me.”
A Short History of Slavery, by James Walvin
This is a great, comprehensive introduction for the many people who don’t know the history of the Atlantic Slave Trade or the history of slavery. It walks you through who the architects of slavery were, and more important, who the architects of the abolitionist movement were. It’s an integral part of our history that feels too ignored. It is painful, horrifying, but illustrative of the evil and the goodness that can live side by side.
Mawson’s Will, by Lennard Bickel
I love stories of survival and I love strong men. This is one man’s story of surviving in Antarctica when he lost everyone and everything and still managed to make it back to his ship under the worst possible conditions and elements. What he survived, what he endured, and his will to live are themes I’ll never get tired of learning about. We have always lived among great people, but it’s an essential reminder that there are superior beings.
Moonwalking With Einstein, by Joshua Foer
I didn’t love reading this book, but I loved what I learned from it — tons of different tools to memorize people’s names, to memorize numbers that are important, along with different ways to categorize things I need to remember to do. It has changed my life and made me embarrass myself much less when meeting someone twice.
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
I don’t know if I have to expound on why I love this book, but everyone should read Tolstoy, and this was the first one of his works I read. So, it’s like a first boyfriend. Or my first Cabbage Patch Kid.
House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton’s use of language alone isn’t easily paralleled. She takes you into this woman’s life and makes you feel for her while showcasing her shallowness, materialism, and lack of honor. It is a timeless story we have seen play out for hundreds of years — yet, it feels like it would apply to modern-day society in the form of a Kardashian. Her turn of phrase and sentence structure are beautiful.
Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit
Rebecca Solnit goes deep with statistics, personal stories, and other accounts of how brutal this world can be for women, the history of how we’ve been treated, and what it will take to change the conversation: MEN. We need them to be as outraged as we are and join our fight.
The Essential Enneagram, by David Daniels, M.D.
This book is great if you’re in love with yourself and can’t wait to find out more. It’s a personality evaluation with a list of numbers from one through nine and can keep you and your friends busy for hours! My psychiatrist introduced me to it and it has been endorsed by a large swath of the psychiatric community. It is not astrology.
On Booze, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Just because …