No smilies, no avatars, no flashing gifs. Just discuss the issues of the day, from last night's telly via football to science or philosophy.
Started by brooklyn on Sep 21, 2021 7:42:14 PM
What books do you save from your burning house?

poster Lagopus, on another thread:

<<When my house burns down, as well as rescuing my saxophone and a guitar or two I'll save ....>>

I thought was a great theme for a thread. the rest of you will prove me right or wrong.

brooklyn - 21 Sep 2021 19:45:11 (#1 of 59)

based (I admit) on decades old memories, but books I want very much to read again:

O'Neill's two volumes of Greek plays


The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

redginger - 21 Sep 2021 19:52:09 (#2 of 59)

The Source... James Michenor

Hawaii...James Michenor.

Rebecca...Daphne Du Maurier

Battlefield Earth.. L Ron Hubbard.

TenGorillas - 21 Sep 2021 20:03:55 (#3 of 59)

My collection of late 18th c Sterneana, some of which is only known from a handful of copies.

Arjuna - 21 Sep 2021 20:07:03 (#4 of 59)

I am running out of my burning house as quick as I can without any books

dreams99 - 21 Sep 2021 20:10:10 (#5 of 59)

None. They're just books. I can buy them again.

brooklyn - 21 Sep 2021 20:10:41 (#6 of 59)

you guys just aren't into the spirit of this thread.

and hard-cover books can be expensive -- which might matter if your house just burned down.

tasselhoff - 21 Sep 2021 20:14:16 (#7 of 59)

What they said. Sod the books.

InternationalVicar - 21 Sep 2021 20:28:52 (#8 of 59)

How I found Stanley in Central Africa (£)

British Roll of Honour 1914 (privately funded photographic obituaries of the very posh people's children - gone for ever). Bound in purple velvet, white and gilt. The war had barely started...

Trance Formations, Bandler & Grinder (1st. Ed.)

The Theory of Relativity (first English edition), with pencil annotations by my dad.

AdonisBlue - 21 Sep 2021 21:34:36 (#9 of 59)

Most books are easily replaced so I'd have to go for the irreplaceable.

The Great Book of Hashish: Volume 1. Laurence Cherniak. Because of the lovely note to me from the author inside.

Redmire Pool. Clifford and Arbery. Too expensive to replace.

My childhood stamp collection. Because even at fifty I still think one of the penny reds will make me a millionaire If I could just be arsed having them valued.

HouseOfLametta - 21 Sep 2021 21:49:00 (#10 of 59)

Putting Out Fires

By I P Freeley

Post deleted by user
Garden - 21 Sep 2021 20:57:31 (#12 of 59)

My photo albums and MrG's stamp collection, which is probably worth more than the house.

Geribaldi - 21 Sep 2021 22:00:51 (#13 of 59)

red ginger - "The Source... James Michenor

Hawaii...James Michenor."

Good, but I think Centennial was his best.

Avonlea - 21 Sep 2021 23:18:18 (#14 of 59)

Perhaps only a picture book that my son’s godmother drew and had bound for his first birthday. Everything else is replaceable.

Tomnoddy - 21 Sep 2021 23:29:27 (#15 of 59)

None seems about right. My books have sentimental value, but I'm not risking my life for them.

My photo albums, though, some of them are really important. Only some, though.

widenation - 22 Sep 2021 00:58:25 (#16 of 59)

Freak Bros comics.

Antimatter - 22 Sep 2021 02:05:07 (#17 of 59)

If my house caught fire, the first thing to save would be the cat, followed by MrA. If time allowed after that, there are three pictures I am very fond of. Books do not come into the equation at all, MrA may return for some of his comics.

widenation - 22 Sep 2021 02:11:19 (#18 of 59)

In truth - f**k the books/comics. I'd grab my external HD, my Les Paul, my banjo, my Simmons xylophone and my WW2 searchlight mirror. May involve two trips I guess.

Antimatter - 22 Sep 2021 03:00:57 (#19 of 59)

Ooh yes, the banjo, and the Gibson.

Post by deleted user
wickeltisch - 22 Sep 2021 06:59:05 (#21 of 59)

Poor James Michener did not leave much of an impression on some readers, at least not so much that they remember his name correctly.

And I would rather save hard discs with documents on them. Books can be bought again, as said upthread.

Shadrack22 - 22 Sep 2021 08:02:15 (#22 of 59)

Childhood books (sentimental value):

The Playhour Annual 1970

The Roads to Dreamland

The BlackBerry Farm books.

Shadrack22 - 22 Sep 2021 08:03:03 (#23 of 59)

British Roll of Honour 1914 (privately funded photographic obituaries of the very posh people's children - gone for ever). Bound in purple velvet, white and gilt. The war had barely started...

Sounds interesting.

angelico - 22 Sep 2021 08:20:20 (#24 of 59)

My Collings 001 and my gorgeous Eastman archtop, the maple and bog oak cooking knife set my son made (careful - they start to cut an inch away from the blade), and then some books.

Not based on value, but on sentiment and the memories they evoke. And since those are the only actual books I now have, apart from technical/professional ones, that means them all, blast it.

I treasure a signed copy of Thief of Time and remember my son at about eight talking to Pratchett about orang utans at the signing.

Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, which provided some quiet comfort during a difficult time.

Two volume edition of the compact OED, the pages stuffed with kids' drawings, lists, menus and other memorabilia; the inside cover of vol 2 with a signed bet that I could still beat my eldest son at squash when I was 50 and he 25, stakes £100, bet made when he was 11 (I lost and paid up, God, nearly 20 years ago).

Book of poems a friend wrote for our marriage, the only copy.

An old Gavin Lyall hardback that Angelica sought out for me one Christmas.

Couple of prize books from junior school, and Chemistry Magic from the same era.

As many Elmore Leonard 1st editions I can throw into the sack, and a well-thumbed copy of Maharishi's translation and commentary on the Gita.

I have a wonderful, huge, full colour hardback set in two volumes of all Gary Larson's cartoons, ditto a 3-vol Calvin and Hobbs, both presents from my children that I'd miss badly, but they weight a ton so I'll need help.

My own and my son's PhD theses, the former pure, concentrated memory, the latter a real work of science.

The four or five childhood books that Angelica treasures and I stagger out hoping that smoke inhalation hasn't finished me off.

Catspyjamas17 - 22 Sep 2021 08:25:22 (#25 of 59)

The ones which have sentimental value are the childhood picture books in boxes in the loft. I'd probably not be going into the loft if there was a fire.

CloakAndDagger - 22 Sep 2021 08:44:56 (#26 of 59)

“Escaping Burning Houses : A Guide”

dreams99 - 22 Sep 2021 08:58:45 (#27 of 59)

Would be a bit redundant by then.

toffle - 22 Sep 2021 10:28:01 (#28 of 59)

My most favouritest books are ‚Äč(mostly) readily replaceable.

I do have various obscure Science Fiction/Fantasy books that were hard to find and are unlikely to be reprinted often (if ever), so obtaining replacement copies of these might be unduly pricey.

Also, various old travel books etc, where modern reprints would lack much of the charm of the original.

The only things that combine sentimental value, rarity/unlikeliness-to-be-reprinted-much, and (moderate) financial value are my hardback collections of stories from Battle Picture Weekly - four volumes of Johnny Red , Major Eazy/Major Eazy vs Rat Pack, plus a couple of others. I think I could easily rescue those, though I would expect people to look at me funny when I did.

Geribaldi - 22 Sep 2021 15:36:56 (#29 of 59)

wickeltish - "Poor James Michener did not leave much of an impression on some readers, at least not so much that they remember his name correctly."

True, but for the most part, he was a brilliant writer (although he had a few clunkers). For the most part, he led a brilliant life. It's worth mentioning that he grew up an orphan who never knew his parents and grew up in complete poverty.

Although "Tales of the South Pacific" was his big break and he won the Pulitzer (I never cared for the book), he later said the real stories about his adventures in the South Pacific could not be printed in the 1940s, and some of those stories as he related them decades later were far more interesting (and scandalous).

Geribaldi - 22 Sep 2021 20:19:59 (#30 of 59)

But I agree with other posters, if my house was burning down, books would be the last thing on my mind.

Lagopus - 22 Sep 2021 20:26:54 (#31 of 59)

There's an edition of Wind in the Willows I'd be sorry to lose.

dreams99 - 22 Sep 2021 20:29:21 (#32 of 59)

Still not read it. I was bought a copy for xmas when I was 6. Seemed a bit silly to me at the time, and since.

AdonisBlue - 22 Sep 2021 20:29:56 (#33 of 59)

I think you have to play the game of the thread. In reality any books would be way down my list of what to save.

I forgot my PhD thesis, but I'd let it burn, it's shit and I've never opened it since finishing the corrections.

Garden - 22 Sep 2021 19:45:02 (#34 of 59)

I have an ancient copy of Les Miserables that is very fragile. If I had time, I'd grab that.

I thought about my dissertation (and master's thesis), but heck, let 'em burn. They're part of a past that's so distant it's lost in the fog of time.

brooklyn - 22 Sep 2021 21:55:15 (#35 of 59)

<<I think you have to play the game of the thread.>>

thank you! my small effort was to get people to say which books they own they would most miss....

though of course people are free to say, as I will, that I'd grab my wife and run for the hills.

or down the stairs, actually.

Tomnoddy - 23 Sep 2021 08:34:20 (#36 of 59)

I'd forgotten my PhD thesis. It should have been burnt years ago. I'm certainly not wasting any time over it - I'm at one with AdonisBlue there.

bossab2 - 23 Sep 2021 10:20:31 (#37 of 59)

I'm still fond of my Dissertation as basically I discovered something new.

Tagyourit - 23 Sep 2021 10:23:50 (#38 of 59)

While books can be replaced I'd rescue my signed books (Pratchett, Banks, Moorecock, Moore/Gibson).

I'd be more concerned about the artwork tbh.

InternationalVicar - 23 Sep 2021 10:28:50 (#39 of 59)

I discovered something new.

That you'd rather have a job?

bossab2 - 23 Sep 2021 10:43:37 (#40 of 59)


Something I turned into a job.

tasselhoff - 23 Sep 2021 11:02:40 (#41 of 59)

Probably just the signed picture of Art Garfunkel.

mingmong - 23 Sep 2021 11:04:26 (#42 of 59)

Nothing. Let it all burn.

ishyomah - 26 Sep 2021 19:09:22 (#43 of 59)

I have just hired a van and rescued my books, ok, library, from my burned down marriage. Along with a load of other stuff I left behind when I quit, ok, fled; but, mainly, the books. Three generations of book buyers/collectors in my family.

I think the prize is the 1st Ed. Child's Garden of Verses, followed by an early, 2-volume edition Paradise Lost.

Tomorrow I drive the final leg of a 1600-mile round trip to the south of France (overnighting at Reims). I'm very tired but so pleased to be able to do this after all the travel restrictions over the past 14 months.

Also liberated some bookcases!

toffle - 26 Sep 2021 18:15:06 (#44 of 59)

I suspect the bookcases will not be free for long...

ishyomah - 26 Sep 2021 19:16:19 (#45 of 59)

Hoh, no!

I'm so looking forward to this weekend!

InternationalVicar - 26 Sep 2021 19:47:21 (#46 of 59)

The question begged here is what is the best way to unload a mixed collection of books. Value not that much, but the more there are, the bigger the need to sell them properly.

arbitrary - 26 Sep 2021 19:50:54 (#47 of 59)

Frank Key's 'Sidney the Bat is awarded the Order of Lenin'

InternationalVicar - 26 Sep 2021 19:58:34 (#48 of 59)

Unbalanced apostrophes


tasselhoff - 26 Sep 2021 20:00:32 (#49 of 59)

They're balanced, but it makes little sense as is.

InternationalVicar - 26 Sep 2021 20:01:25 (#50 of 59)

Also reveals clandestine editing ability.

Antimatter - 26 Sep 2021 21:18:05 (#51 of 59)

#46 I tried selling off a load on Amazon, which on the face of it is easy enough to do but it is a fiddlearse process sorting out the packing, shipping, tracking etc so probably really only worth doing if it is a book of value. I shifted a few at the local flea market but I get really pissed off with people haggling. These days I mostly unload them onto mini libraries, of which here are quite a few locally, and the second hand book shop in town will take the remainder on and whilst they would give me money for them, I get them to credit friend T's account (she is 12).

InternationalVicar - 26 Sep 2021 21:42:54 (#52 of 59)

Interesting. I'm minded to punt the whole lot to a dealer for, like, whatever.

ishyomah - 26 Sep 2021 22:15:04 (#53 of 59)

Last time I did that about 3 boxes of hardbacks go enough for a dinner for 2

InternationalVicar - 26 Sep 2021 22:17:47 (#54 of 59)

That's about right.

brooklyn - 26 Sep 2021 23:17:25 (#55 of 59)

at dinner last night by brother told me of his visit to a used book store with an art store owner who is an expert about fine art books. the guy bought a book for $2 which he told my brother was worth over a thousand.

happily for me, I won't be trying to sell anything worth much.

Garden - 26 Sep 2021 22:22:16 (#56 of 59)

I have a copy of The Little Prince my mother gave me when I was a sophomore in high school.

I'd try and find that one to take with me.

the guy bought a book for $2 which he told my brother was worth over a thousand.

They have to monitor the volunteers who sort books at the state library's annual book sale here (it's a huge event, that's where you take your boxes of books) in case there are any rare book experts. When they identify rare books, they put them on auction.

ReverendBlueJeans - 29 Oct 2021 08:05:29 (#57 of 59)


First edition Child's Garden of Verses ?

hires Ocean's Eleven style International gang of robbers to locate, case and enter Ishy's premises, and to remove said RLS treasure. Leaving a reasonable payment in its place. I'm not a barbarian.

ishyomah - 29 Oct 2021 08:37:59 (#58 of 59)

From my cold dead hands, RBJ

redginger - 05 Nov 2021 21:36:20 (#59 of 59)

J.B. Priestley. The Good Companions.

The Works of Rudyard Kipling.

And if I have time, Kane and Abel, Jeffrey Archer.

Waits for the roof to fall in!!

Check Subscriptions
Home » Books