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!)
My old Norton Anthology from college. A little of everything, and well-footnoted… Paul Maurice Martin
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.
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.
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.
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…)
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.
My first edition copy of THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH!
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.
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.
Principles of Fire Prevention by David Diamantes
My son’s autographed HARRY POTTER.
My signed copy of The Outsiders, for sure, and if I had time, my childhood copy of Winnie the Pooh.
My first U.S. edition of THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL, along with the much-read, rubber-banded together version that I read to shreds in junior high.
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.
Definitely The Bible-I would need it in a catastrophe.
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.
Even though I know passages of it by heart, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.
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.
The Bat Poet (1964) by Randall Jarrell, illustrated by Maurice Sendak.
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.
“Firefighting for Dummies.”
my signed first edition of Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing!
My well-loved copy of Little House in the Big Woods.
Franny & Zooey, Salinger. No question.
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
luckily, since my books are altogether and the volumes quite slim, i would grab two-the alchemist by coehlo and the princess bride. hey, don’t judge (smile)??
So hard to choose, but I’d grad my first edition of I Capture the Castle.
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.
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.
I’d grab The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It’s probably the most influential book for the reason why I’m where I am today.
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.
The Stinky Cheese Man And Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka.
bulgakov’s master and margarita. the best book ever written.
Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Without question, I’d grab Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
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.
War and Peace. It’s about everything.
Mcgraw-Hill copy of “The Book of the Subgenius”.
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.
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).
I would save my first edition “Peter and Wendy” by JM Barry. No contest.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I would take my single volume Columbia Encyclopedia, read quickly the entry on “fire fighting,” and then maybe try to save my house.
Will is seem like I’m pandering if I say that, as the only potentially irreplaceable book I have, I’d save my copy of Beowulf, Book 1? 😉
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.
My beloved Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.
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.
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.
That’s easy. Not including my scriptures, I would save my beloved signed copy of The Lighting Thief. BEST BOOK EVER!!!