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.