Tim has pondered whether he might end up on a desert island, and has crafted this list of top ten albums, books and movies he would take with him — just in case.


London Calling, The Clash
Rock ‘n’ roll played the way it should be played

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco
The best album of the last twenty years

My Aim is True, Elvis Costello
Sometimes I think I would take Imperial Bedroom or Get Happy, but right now I’m picking his brilliant debut

Boys and Girls in America, The Hold Steady
The kindest thing I can say about Kerouac’s On the Road is that it inspired the title song to this great album

Transcendental Blues, Steve Earle
It’s tough to choose among Earle’s albums, but I’ll go with this one

The Convincer, Nick Lowe
I love the Abominable Showman and this is his masterpiece (though I also love At My Age and The Impossible Bird)

The Sunset Tree, The Mountain Goats
John Darnielle singing about his abusive stepfather turns out to be an astonishingly good listen

Lost in the Dream, The War on Drugs
Moody, brilliant indie rock

What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye
The highwater mark of an impressive career

Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, Lucinda Williams
I read about the making of this album and think all the prima donna antics were well worth it


The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The great American novel

The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway , by Ernest Hemingway
Papa at his best

Cathedral, by Raymond Carver
The best short story writer since Hemingway

The Collected Works of William Shakespeare , by William Shakespeare
King Lear, Twelfth Night and more

The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger
An obvious choice, perhaps, but a book still worth reading again and again

As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
“Sometimes after you read a paragraph by Faulkner,” a girlfriend once said, “you have to stop and catch your breath”

The Runaway, by Alice Munro
My favourite Munro collection, though of course they’re all good

The Romantic, by Barbara Gowdy
A truly lovely novel

The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
Astonishing collection of connected short stories about Vietnam

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, by Wayne Johnston
The real Joey Smallwood is a great enough character for any novel, but Johnston goes ahead and creates an even better one in Shelagh Fielding


Four decades later, this movie makes even more sense

Citizen Kane
Arguably the best film ever made

The Godfather Trilogy
Look, if I were really on a desert island, I’d probably even watch Part Three occasionally

Apocalypse Now Redux
Longer and better than the original

The Last Waltz
A young Scorcese directed this rockumentary of The Band’s great last show

The Harder They Come
… and what a wonderful soundtrack

His Girl Friday
A classic of its genre

You Can Count on Me
More proof that writing and acting are far more important than special effects

Leaving Las Vegas
Astonishing performances from Nicholas Cage and Elisabeth Shue. Too bad more people didn’t see it

The Lives of Others
The best movie of the last few years

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