Wall Scrawl: Which Book Would You Rescue?


Alison Morris - October 16, 2008

Oh, no! Your house is suddenly going up in flames! You have time to save all your animate loved ones (children, pets, housemates, etc.) a handful of vital possessions, and ONE BOOK from your beloved collection. (Just one!) Which book will you choose? (Decide quickly!)

(Thanks to all of you who gave such great responses to my last graffiti stall post, in which I asked what fictional family you’d like to have adopt you. Keep those suggestions coming!)

53 thoughts on “Wall Scrawl: Which Book Would You Rescue?

  1. Kat Brokaw

    This will not surprise those who know me. I would grab my leather-bound collection of Hitchhiker’s Guide. If my house is burning down, I will need to retain as much humor as possible.

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  2. Julianne Daggett

    Actually, if I could have done the whole Katrina evacuation again I would have saved my “Dealing With Dragons” book that I had since middle school. Unfortunately, no one believed that New Orleans would actually flood, so all my books got destroyed. But if I could have a time machine I would go back and save that book, it was what made me a voracious reader.

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  3. Virginia

    I have a battered first edition of William Faulkner’s “The Reivers.” It’s formerly of a library and worth nothing, but it’s a true first edition and it means a lot to me. Faulkner is my favorite author and my seminar class on his writing was my favorite college course.

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  4. Cassie

    My 1970s library editions of Dune: Messiah and Children of Dune. (I can take two, can’t I? They’re right next to each other on my shelf…)

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  5. Carol Chittenden

    Yikes, I’d probably die, or at least scorch, deciding between the Phantom Tollbooth signed by Norton Juster AND Jules Feiffer, and the Golden Compass signed by both Philip Pullman AND Eric Rohmann. But there are others, so many, many others… I’m going home to check the smoke alarms.

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  6. NIKKI NAVTA

    To keep my mind occupied and able to see the positive in light of the trauma of losing the rest of my books, I’d choose Murakami’s Wind Up Bird Chronicles. Every time I read it, my mind gets opened up to new possibilities.

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  7. Kat B

    Julianne–The Science Fiction Book Club has a great hard cover with all of Wrede’s Enchanted Forest stories. I am so sorry for your book loss. Those are truly excellent stories.

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  8. Stacey

    While I’d admit to agonizing over the loss of so many other beloved books I would have to grab the battered and well-loved copy of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle that belonged to my mom when she was young. I have many great memories of my mom, sister and I sitting on the couch together reading a story from that book.

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  9. Andrew

    My three volume set of the annotated Sherlock Holmes comes in a box, which would be useful following a fire. Who am I kidding; I’d save my Webster’s Third.

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  10. Susan V

    My copy of the “Woven on the Wind” anthology that was signed by many of the writers in it when I was at a Wyoming Writers conference just after it was released.

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  11. Elizabeth Dingmann

    I’d grab my copy of Narcissus & Goldmund by Hermann Hesse. Whenever I read that book, I come away with a fantastic sense of renewed purpose. Plus, I brought it with me on a backpacking trip in Italy while I was in college, and it bears the water damage scars from the day I read it on the rocky beaches of Cinque Terre.

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  12. Lauri

    Just one? What a terrible decision to make! Since most of my books are still in print, or at least replacable, I’d have to save Collected Poems, Dame Edith Sitwelll. Couldn’t live without the works from Facade! Lauri

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  13. Gillandred

    I have so many wonderful signed books… but I’d have to choose Shakespeare Alive! by Joseph Papp and Elizabeth Kirkland, only because it’s heavily annotated with notes from my father.

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  14. Natalie

    Definitely my copy of ‘The Silver Metal Lover’ by Tanith Lee which is much battered and loved AND ‘Fire and Hemlock’ by Diana Wynne Jones because it still boggles my mind.

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  15. Ami Hassler

    My ARCs of HP2 & 3 are in one large ziploc bag so I think they count as one. I could use the money I’d get from selling them on e-bay to replace about 25% of my collection.

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  16. hope

    Either The Eagle of the Ninth by Sutcliff or Not What You Expected by Joan Aiken. They are both on the shelf near the front door and I think it would be chance which one my hand landed on first. Honestly, though, they could all burn. One thing I love about books is their immortality. You can burn a thousand copies of The Golden Compass and it still lives on somewhere on a shelf. I may be the only person who feels this way, or there wouldn’t be people paying the big bucks for First Editions. Julienne, I don’t mean to belittle your loss, which has to be wrenching. I only hope you get your books back. I hope someday you can hold the Pat Wrede book in your hands and read it again and say, this is what was lost and it is found again.

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  17. Libraryguy

    The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander, because it would give me the courage, strength and needed attitude to keep going while I rebuilt my collection.

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  18. Clara

    My copy of The Crystal Child by Barbara Wersba that my mother bought me in college. It was my favorite book as a kid and it took her a long time to find this copy (of course, now there are various used copies available on Amazon, but this one represents the time it took for her to find it).

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  19. Erin Black

    I think I’d go for my Complete Letters of Emily Dickinson, and would also grab her complete poems – it’s 6 volumes but in 2 boxed sets right next to each other, and they took me forever to find. Most of the rest of my books I’d be able to find in print (I hope!), though I’d be really sorry to lose some very old editions of Beatrix Potter and Elizabeth Gaskell.

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  20. Doug

    There’s a baseball adage, “Tell me your favorite team and I’ll show you fifth grade”. Tell me your favorite book and I’ll show you grades 10 – 13. And, without doubt, you haven’t read it lately.

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  21. Lisa

    Only one?! Well then, I’d take the 50th edition of The Lord of the Rings. It’s a single volume so that counts! Then, since they’re sitting next to each other on the shelf, I’ll grab my boxed copy of The Hobbit. Yep, I’m a geek.

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  22. Anne DeCourcey

    The book that I’ve carried with me through many decades of moves and that would be rescued in a fire is the hardcover (no idea what edition) of Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Maybe it’s time to re-read it so I remember why I’ve kept it!

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  23. John

    My ratty old paperback copy of “A Separate Peace.” I got a hardcover as a gift from a sales representative a million years ago, but my grummy mass market has all the notes I scribbled in the margins from senior thesis time in college. I’ve read that particular copy at least 30 times over the years. What Barack Obama is to politics and coffee is to beverages for me, so is “ASP” to books.

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  24. Katie

    I’d probably end up burnt to a crisp as I dithered, but in the 1-2-3-go! spirit of the question, I’ll say my literally loved to pieces copy of Die Unendliche Geschichte (The Neverending Story). I would be heartbroken to lose all of my books, but none of them are truly irreplaceable. I did change my mind at least three times in the course of writing this response, so I can’t promise to stick by that answer though.

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  25. Moniker

    Cryptonomicon by Neil Stephenson. Even though it could be easily replaced, I’d flip it open to the chapter entitled Crunch and read aloud by the merrily dancing light of the fire.

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  26. Ryan

    That’s easy. Not including my scriptures, I would save my beloved signed copy of The Lighting Thief. BEST BOOK EVER!!!

    Reply

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