Wednesday 14 April 2010

Fire! Fire!

Gather round, children...

Today we tell a make-believe story about the person who collected books. She collected thousands and thousands and loved them all equally - or so she believed.

Then her worst nightmare struck! One day her house caught alight in a fiery blaze and she had to rescue her cats from the house so only had the room in her arms to take one book from the blaze. Just one. Which would it be?

Okay, I have actually brought myself out in a cold sweat at the idea of a fire burning my beloved collection of books!

I thought about this horrible, horrible situation just the other day and I wondered which of my books I would rescue above all others.

Here it is:

The silver stallion is the most special of all! A silver brumby is special, but he will be hunted by man and horse alike, and must be stronger than both. Thowra, the magnificent silver stallion, is king of the brumbies. But he must defend his herd from the mighty horse, The Brolga, in the most savage of struggles. That is not the only danger. Thowra needs all his speed and cunning to save his herd from capture by man. In a desperate chase through the mountains, it seems there is no longer anywhere for him to run to!

I am not embarrassed of my choice. I was given this book by my parents when I was seven years old and have read it pretty much every year since then. The cover is worn and the pages are yellowed and dog-eared. It is beloved and gives me nostalgia about the wonderful childhood I experienced. Pretty much all of my other books can be easily replaced with a stint online or a browse through my local bookstore - but that book is irreplaceable in my heart.

Please tell me yours! Children's books, favourite books, embarrassing books - which is the one book you'd save above all others?


  1. I don't know if could decide between Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay or The Scar by China Mieville, if we're talking personal worth here. In reality, I've a few books worth an absolute fortune, and practically speaking, I'd probably save them that I might sell them on... and rebuild my library!

  2. Bashful the Clumsy Bear by Pat Posner. I have other books that are better, or that I've worked really hard to find, or that I know are irreplacable. But this is the book I learnt to read from, and I could not lose it.

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  4. I have the 4 original Dark Knight comics signed by Frank Miller. I think eventually I'll Kindle or iPad most of my collection but I'll always hang on to the signed stuff.

    How do you sign an e-book anyway?

  5. Interesting question. I think my choice isn't actually fiction at all - it would be The Target Book, by David J. Howe, from Telos Publishing. It's a history of the Doctor Who Target novelisations, and I've got a limited leatherbound edition signed by a huge number of authors and artists. All of those who signed it were my absolute heroes as a child, as the Target books were the first proper books I read and they mean a great deal to me.

    Hmm. Boring answer? A lot of us have signed and/or dedicated books that we'd love to save, I'm sure. But maybe that's not what your question is about. I'm not sure I have a book that has such a sentimental connection as The Silver Brumby has for you. Any book can be replaced, even any signed book (if the signee is still alive - and even if they are deceased, what genuine connection is there between you and the book? Am I judging purely on monetary value or rarity?).

    Lemme think on this.

  6. Mine would have to be a book about jazz singers that I bought for my Dad for his birthday and that he was reading when he died. Still has the bookmark in the place he was up to. Sorry - bit of a sad response but was the first book that I thought of.

  7. Unashamedly (well perhaps I am a little embarrassed!) mine would be my signed Marco Pierre White cookery book, I love him!!

  8. Some of these books put forward are precisely what I had in mind when I phrased the question - such as the book you first learn to read from or the book a beloved parent was reading when they died. Perfect responses!

    Thanks to all for the comments so far - keep them coming! I am loving what is being submitted, would love to hear more.

  9. I think it would have to be my signed copy of Julian Cope's 'The Modern Antiquarian'. I'd probably grab the companion book 'Megalithic European' while I'm there as they are both beautiful slipcased hardback editions

  10. I remember The Silver Brumby! I LOVED that book. And my dad grew up in Mt Beauty which is smack in the middle of brumby country, and when we went to stay there we roamed all over the mountains and camped out- it was insanely AMAZING! We saw wild brumbies down by the damns, it all very man-from-snowy-river! Now I want to read Silver Brumby again...

  11. That's a really good question.

    After taking a long look at my bookshelf, I don't think I have any book that's really irreplaceable. So in the event of a fire I would probably just grab whatever book I'm reading at the moment.

  12. I'd take the book from my childhood as well. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. It's yellowed and dog-eared as well. And the pages are bubbled from the one time when I left it in my treehouse and it got rained on. I love that book.

  13. Eurgh just thinking about the possibility makes me shudder :(

    I might make a beeline for my signed copy of Neil Gaiman's Smoke & Mirrors, mainly because the day I got him to sign it was one of the best days ever and he was fantastic, plus those short stories are some of my favourites. That said my emotional response would probably be Jan Siegel's Prospero's Children. I still treasure it ten years on from when I bought it on a whim, bashed up as it is. It's not quite my equivalent of The Silver Brumby - my mum gave me Jenny Nimmo's Snow Spider Trilogy when I was ten and it's tea-stained and crumpled and bent out of shape, but I love it, so it's here. But it's worn down. Prospero's Children has the benefit of having a pretty cover and pretty writing, and I'm bloody shallow.

    So Prospero's Children it is.

  14. My mother inflicted my love for books from an early age, but she didn't give me one particular book, she gave me an entire library. Since then I am still building that library and therefore your post sends shivers down my spine. Or maybe I am just addicted to books. Anyway, since I don't have cats I could pick many books with my hands, but let's stick to one. I would certainly pick Carlos Ruiz Zafon's "The Shadow of the Wind", because it is an amazing book. It has everything, an imaginative writer, a lovely character, a delightful setting, a mystery and a love story. And it left me with so much regret that it has ended. I think that this is one excellent book to start re-building my library.
    (Please do not fuel me with nightmares again, Amanda ;)).

  15. Thanks so much for all your comments - some really lovely choices in there!

    @murf61 - Must admit, if it wasn't The Silver Brumby for me it would be the massive hardback encyclopedia I used to pore over as a child. Beautiful cover, pages, typeset.

    @Michelle - Wow! That's amazing - would love to see the actual locations from the books :-). You should totally read the book again!

    @Ole - ha, very practical! I don't know if it a good thing or a sad thing that all your books are replaceable.

    @Victoria - there is something special about a childhood book that looks so well-loved, isn't there?

    @kallichore - Hmm, Prospero's Children is one of those books that I wanted desperately to love but didn't. But another very personal choice!

    @Mihai - I will try not to come up with too many nightmarish situations such as this in the future! The Shadow of the Wind is a truly amazing book. Any library that ONLY had this book would be a good library :-)

  16. I have a special illustrated edition of The Whitewolf's Daughter signed by Michael Moorcock and all the artists that provided art for it. I'd save it because it is the thing that would cost me the most to replace! :D

  17. I'd go straight to my shelf downstairs, let the cats get their tales out the window, and hurl all the precious signed books out after them, i'd probably get a little toasty but I don't think I could pick one book.

  18. Interesting question. I really don't have that many books that are irreplaceable, though I would probably try to grab my copy of A Walk in The Woods, by Bill Bryson, because I read that book more frequently then any others in my collection.