Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Just One Book

A while back, Carol over at Tribal Church tagged me for a particularly cruel meme, at least if you are a biblioholic as I am. Here is the idea:

Books are scarce in the world. They are illegal in some provinces. They are not easily replaced if not impossible to replace if lost in many
if not most circumstances. If you can replace a book or buy one it is usually through the black market at astronomical costs that you cannot afford. Yet you have been able to maintain one of the best collections in the world. If your entire library was about to burn up (think of the firefighters in Fahrenheit 451 invading your home) and you could only have one* book to take with you other than the Bible, what would that be and why?

Simple Rules: Answer the question. Offer one quote that resonates with you. Tag five people whose response is of genuine interest to you and inform him or her that they have been tagged. Cheers!

*And it cannot be an entire series of something, that’s cheating.

Okay, here is why this is difficult: I collect books. And I mean "collect" in many senses of the word. While I was gone at the confirmation retreat last weekend, my husband starting counting. When I came home, there were little sticky notes on all the bookshelves: 125 books, 87 books, 143 books. Thank you very much, dear. (He collects books, too.) I have fiction, theology, history, biography, memoirs, poetry, children's books, pop up books. I could be the old woman in Fahrenheit 451, who was willing to be burned up with her books.

Among all of my books, I have a few old, somewhat collectable books. I have a book called From Snow to Snow, by Robert Frost. It's a slim volume, with one poem for every month of the year. The Road Not Taken is the poem for October, and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening is December.

I also have a copy of A Christmas Carol, illustrated by Arthur Rackham (without dust jacket). It would be a hard choice, but between these two I would pick the Arthur Rackham. I can memorize some of the poems I love, and much as I love literature, I can still pick it up from the library. But if I could only keep my Bible and one book, I'd like the illustrated edition of Dicken's A Christmas Carol on my shelf.

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!"

But, are you sure I can't take a hymnal/worship book along with me, too? No? Oh, well.....

Here are five people I believe would give intriguing answers to this question:
Lindy at Two Fruits in the Sukka, Jan at Yearning for God, Mike at The Mercy Blog, Ruth at Ruth's Visions and Revisions, and RevDrKate at Prairie Light.

And of course, anyone else who would like to play. But I found it extremely hard, and a little sad. I mean, what am I going to do with my Mary Oliver poetry books? My little children's prayer books? All of my dog books? (sigh)


Jan said...

Oh, my, Diane, this IS a cruel meme!! I'll ponder it as I go to bed and see what arises in the morning. What book, what book, what book????

Lindy said...

This IS hard. I am going to have to devote some real thought to this one.

I am looking forward to seeing what the others say. You've picked some interesting ones. RevDrKate has a dog, you know.

Carol Howard Merritt said...

Thanks for playing... and sorry for the cruelty.

But what a great illustration! They all sound like wonderful books.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Diane, my answer is up. It's probably not as unique as you'd hoped, . . . but it's me. :-)

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

BTW, I posted before I'd had my coffee, so the brain wasn't fully engaged. I meant to tell you that I love your choice. I'm a huge Christmas Carol fan. I like Frost too. You set yourself a touch decision!

concretegodmother said...

this meme is diabolical! i'm going to have to think about this one. i don't know what i'd do w/o my mary oliver, either!

thanks for the comment on my pics.

RevDrKate said...

Oh, Diane, yes, my thought was exactly as Jan said, "cruel, cruel meme!" I shall have to think long and hard on this one as I have already tasted the bitterness of parting with books only to regret it later. I can't even pick one book to TALK about in a Friday Five question, never mind this....oh well, I shall ponder and share when the time is right!

MikeF said...

Just like everyone else said, Diane, this is HARD. Reminds me of the old BBC Radio Desert Island Discs, where you had to choose one book "apart from the Bible and Shakespeare" to take with you to your imaginary solitude.

I keep trying in odd moments to come up with the right book. Arrgh!

Still, I think I've finally cracked it. Answer here.