«Quando certa vez perguntaram a Chesterton “que livro gostaria de ter consigo se fosse um náufrago numa ilha deserta”, respondeu com “um manual de construção de barcos”.»
Mas também terá dito: “Isso depende das circunstâncias. Se eu fosse um político que quisesse impressionar os eleitores, escolheria Platão ou Aristóteles. Mas o verdadeiro teste seria com pessoas com quem não tivéssemos de nos exibir, amigos ou constituintes. Nesse caso, estou certo de que toda a gente levaria o ‘Guia Prático de construção de barcos‘ de Thomas para que pudessem fugir da ilha o mais rápidamente possível. E se fossemos autorizados a ter um segundo livro seria a melhor história de detetives ao nosso alcance. Se só pudesse levar um livro para uma ilha deserta e não tivesse pressa em de lá sair, sem a menor hesitação eu colocaria o “Pickwick Papers ‘na minha mochila.“
G. K. Chesterton escolheu um manual prático para se evadir realmente da ilha deserta. Deixa à nossa imaginação um pensador acima do peso, de mangas arregaçadas, a construir o seu meio de fuga.
G.K. Chesterton and several other literary figures were once asked what book they would prefer to have with them if they were stranded on a desert island.
“The complete works of Shakespeare,” said one writer without hesitation.
“I choose the Bible,” said another.
“How about you?” they asked Chesterton.
“I would choose Thomas’ Guide to Practical Shipbuilding,” replied Chesterton.
Source- Joke Barn
Here, apparently, is the original source of the above anecdote. Cyril Clemens (a relation of Samuel Clemens, i.e., Mark Twain) wrote a book on Chesterton called Chesterton as Seen by His Contemporaries (1939), in the course of which he interviewed Chesterton himself as well (shortly before GKC’s death), in addition to his contemporaries. From that book (p. 131 in my edition):
I then asked the author what would be his choice if he had to go on a desert island and could take but one book along.
“It would depend upon the circumstances,” he replied. “If I were a politician who wanted to impress his constituents, I would take Plato or Aristotle. But the real test would be with people who had no chance to show off before their friends or their constituents. In that case I feel certain that everyone would take Thomas’ ‘Guide to Practical Shipbuilding’ so that they could get away from the island as quickly as possible. And then if they should be allowed to take a second book it would be the most exciting detective story within reach. But if I could take only one book to a desert isle and was not in a particular hurry to get off, I would without the slightest hesitation put ‘Pickwick Papers’ in my handbag.”