In Case Of Emergency

Discussion Prompt Time!

Your house is on fire. Your books are burning, and once they’re gone, you can’t get them back. Which ones do you grab?

I’ve seen variations on this question before and have always felt a bit stumped. On the one hand, they’re my books. I love each of them. Read ones represent adventures and loved characters; unread ones represent anticipated fun. I have books that were given to me and therefore are tied to a specific person. I also have books that I bought and therefore represent a monetary investment. (Hi, my name is Shae, and I’m probably the cheapest person you’ve ever met.)

On the other hand, when you get right down to it, they’re just books. They’re not photographs or trophies or any other kind of memento that can’t be replaced. If they burn, you go out and buy another copy. Yeah, it will take a while, since you’ll have to spread the cost around, but still. They’re not one of a kind.

So, for me, I split the question two ways. First, I have the books that I would save in an honest-to-goodness fire (provided I could do so without dying.) I would save my copies of The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner and my bound collection of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, because I have too many memories tied up in their pages. I would also rescue my copies of Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers, Alienated by Melissa Landers, Babushka Baba Yaga by Patricia Polacco, and The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine, because they all have very nice inscriptions in them that I can’t replace.

If, however, the fire in question were some kind of magical erasing fire that would knock every book it touched out of existence (thereby making it truly irreplaceable), my list would change a bit. All the Turner, Tolkien, and Wein books stay on the list. No way I’m going through life without those. Dark Triumph stays on the list, but the rest of the series gets added as well. Babushka Baba Yaga gets saved (childhood fave), and I’d add Rae Carson’s and Leigh Bardugo’s books to the pile, along with Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak… and I’d probably still keep adding, but my arms are only so long and so strong. Thank goodness this question only pertains to books that I own.

And now I’m feeling a little panicky as I picture the rest of my books going up in flames, so let me pass the question back to you.

Which books would YOU save?

13 Responses to In Case Of Emergency

  1. mara July 16, 2014 at 6:38 am #

    I don’t actually own a lot of books, because I get them all from the library. Pretending for a moment that I owned them all, I’d save The Bitter Kingdom, Mortal Heart (because in this fantasy, it’s already out), Lord of the Rings, and Mockingjay. Basically the last book in my favorite series.

    • Shae July 16, 2014 at 9:07 am #

      All the tied up threads and happy endings, eh? (Well, except for Mockingjay.)

      • mara July 17, 2014 at 6:14 am #

        Yeah…I actually love the ending of Mockingjay for its realism. It’s a bittersweet ending, but it’s still somewhat sweet.

  2. Andrea @ Bookish July 16, 2014 at 7:32 am #

    I’ll fight you on being the cheapest person!

    Anyway, this question is so stupid. I hate it and I refuse to play it. Well, I’ll play, but I’m not answering the one about the magical fire. That hurts too much just to think about it.

    I don’t know all I would grab, but the first book I would for sure grab is The Princess and the Lord of the Night by Emma Bull. This book was given to my by my grandmother many many years ago. I don’t know where we were, but we were at an outdoor mall and she’d bought it for me at this bookstore, wrote a note on the inside cover to me, and we read it on a bench outside. It’s one of the things I cherish most as she died of cancer when I was little and part of me is convinced I love books so much because of her.
    Andrea @ Bookish recently posted…The Wizard’s Promise by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Review)My Profile

    • Shae July 16, 2014 at 9:07 am #

      Haha! If I have to ask the question of someone else, I usually change it to “You’re being kidnapped by aliens and never returning to Earth. NOW what do you take with you?” but had to run with fire on this one, since it’s the classic query.

      Oh, that’s lovely. That book will end up being an heirloom.

  3. Destiny Skye July 16, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    Fortunately, I read more books than I own. So right now I have more library books. If I had to choose from ones I own, it would probably be:
    Jane Eyre
    Les Miserables
    Pride and Prejudice
    All the books I own by Heather Vogel Frederick, Wendy Mass and Shannon Hale.


    ~D. Skye <3

    • Shae July 17, 2014 at 6:08 am #

      Ooh, long arms. 😉

      • Destiny Skye July 17, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

        It’s a nice trait in my family. I’d probably balance a couple on my head too. 🙂

  4. Kay @ It's a Book Life July 16, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    Why would you even suggest they could be erased from existence?!? *hyperventilates*

    Okay, actually that makes this question way harder and more interesting to answer (not that it wasn’t’ before) Great discussion post. For the question I would have to save HP first and foremost. After that I’m just not sure. The Percy Jackson books, and the A Discovery of Witches trilogy.

    Oh and don’t worry, I’m super cheap too. I barely even buy books, I pretty much get them all from the library.
    Kay @ It’s a Book Life recently posted…TTT #23: My Top Ten Favorite TV ShowsMy Profile

    • Shae July 17, 2014 at 6:08 am #

      Why ask such a question? Because I like to cackle evilly, that’s why.

  5. Alexa S. July 16, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    Honestly, I wanted to refuse to answer this question because I would be torn apart with indecision. I’d try to save every single book that I keep on my favorites shelf, really (and that’s still a ton!). But if I were absolutely forced to only take what I could carry I’d have to bring the Harry Potter books with me because I love them so. (But I still refuse to think about losing all my books!)
    Alexa S. recently posted…Behind the Scenes – Dahlia Adler (Review)My Profile

    • Shae July 17, 2014 at 6:07 am #

      It’s a horrible thought, no?


  1. Weekly Recap| Jul 13-19, 2014 | Oh, the Books! - July 20, 2014

    […] Shae thinks about which books she would save in an emergency. […]

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