Sunday, May 21, 2006

What Would You Save?

Found this interesting exercise on "A Work in Progress" and Janelle's "Eclectic Closet" and decided I just had to give it a try. Your task is to find "The Ten Books One Would Save in a Fire" (If One Could Only Save Ten)

Ofcourse, as Janelle correctly points out, this raises the question, do you pick out 10 books based on their value and how difficult they might be to replace, or do you pick ten of the ones you love?

I decided to go with the ones I love because, apart from my great-grandmother's book 'The Island Story' which she won as a prize when she was in school some 80 years ago, I don't really have any valuable books.

So here's my list of The Ten Books One Would Save in a Fire (If One Could Only Save Ten)- based on books I love:

1. "Of Human Bondage" by Somerset Maugham

2. "What the Body Remembers" by Shawna Singh Baldwin

3. "Natural History of the Senses" by Diane Ackerman

4. "Enrique's Journey" by Sonia Nazario

5. "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini

6. " A Fine Balance" by Rohinton Mistry

7. "The Good Earth" Pearl S. Buck

8. "Madame Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert

9. "A Fortune-Teller Told Me" by Tiziano Terzani

10. "The Essential Rumi" Coleman Barks.

I have to say the list surprised me a little. Knowing my penchant for South-Asian literature I expected to see a lot more of those and maybe some more recent books, but to my delight, more than half are books that I read more than a decade ago.

So, C'mon, tell us which books you would save!


Susan in Italy said...

Oh! "A Fine Balance" is such a gem! Great list.

Unknown said...

Hmm, I don't know which ones I would save for sure, but I think I would grab mostly school books, just because they are the most valuable to me. Not that they are worth a lot of money, but I have notes in everyone of them.

I have wanted to read "The Kite Runner" for some time now and I think you have finally convinced me.

Anonymous said...

1- "Love in the Time of Cholera"
2-"A Prayer For Owen Meanny
3-"The Blue Bedspread"
4-"The Maharanis"
5-"Savage Beauty"
6-"Two Lives"
7-"A Suitable Boy"
9"The Lord of the Rings"
10-"Rembrandt's Whore"

I could add so many more but how could I carry them all? God, they are all a part of me, in my blood.
You now what I mean Lotus.
I wish I had Blog. I have so much more to say.

Bhaswati said...

That's a great list, Lotus! I will do this exercise on my blog. I think I see at least two books in your list that may show up in mine as well :)

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Susan!

I'm waiting to get my hands on the audio book for "A Fine Balance", it is superbly done!

Hi, Angela!

I think I can safely say you will ENJOY "The Kiterunner" for I haven't met anyone that hasn't.

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Melanie (Beloved49)

I love your list. You know what? I haven't read "Lord of the Rings" yet, but I will get to it some day. Please do set up a blog for yourself for I'd love to visit and read your posts.

Hi, Bhaswati!

Thanks for playing. I will visit your blog soon - I can't wait to find out what your 10 most-loved books are!

Suzan Abrams, email: said...

Lotus, I've always been interested in Baldwin but haven't been able to find her book anywhere in this part of the world or London. I first read about her in Sawnet. How did you observe her writing to be? cheers

Suzan Abrams, email: said...

Hi Lotus, I can't seem to access my
Yahoo mailbox from this morning. Could you please send your mail on to my other email add which is:
Thanks. I sent you a letter this morning. Hope you got it safely.

Lotus Reads said...

Suse, I love Baldwin's writing! She writes with a lot of depth and emotion. If I find a soft cover copy of 'What the Body Remembers', may I send it to you?

jean said...

I just went through my bookshelves the other day to find books to give away. I don't have a lot of books because the humidity and limited living space in Japan makes keeping books a luxury you give up. Anyway, interesting to read your list as A Fine Balance is one I refuse to part with and The Natural History of the Senses is one that I wanted to chuck as I hadn't been able to get into it but reading my friend's inscription made me feel I should give it another try (which you certainly seem to echo). I just read The Kite Runner a few days ago; couldn't put it down and read it all in one go -- wonderful book!

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Jean and welcome!

I have all of Diane Ackerman's books, but "The Natural History of the Senses" is my favorite - I like to think of her as the science poet. She's brilliant! When you do get around to reading TNHOTS, you must tell me what you thought.

Do you have a couple of favorite books by Japanese writers? I would love a suggestion or two. Thanks!

Lotus Reads said...

Hello, dongurigal and a warm welcome to you, too!

I've been enjoying your blog so much!

You're the second person to mention Barbara Kingsolver's book of essays to me today, so I guess I really need to look at it. I'm equally amazed that you've read "A Fortune Teller Told Me" :) I believe I bought it in Singapore over 15 years ago!

Suzan Abrams, email: said...

Yes, that would be great but not to worry. I'll try to look it up once more in London when I'm back.
Thanks for the thought. love

Janelle Martin said...

So glad you decided to do this! It's interesting how our lists surprise us. Mine certainly did for me.

I'm going to have to add a few of your titles and Beloved's to my wish list! Thanks....

David D Jerald said...

Hey Girl!
I don't know about them other books but I would be running out the door clutching the Essential Rumi to my chest! Thank you for introducing me to him.


Lotus Reads said...

Janelle, thank you for turning me on to this exercise -it's been so much fun!

DJ - you're welcome! I LOVE Rumi. His poetry and quotes are like balm for the soul.

Yianna said...

I loved Enrique's Journey! I read it when it came out in the LA Times!

Here's my list (not in order and pained by cutting of other beloved books, soon to be burned in imaginary fire)
1. A River Runs Through It by Norman MacLean
2. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
3. Report to Greco by Nikos Kazantzakis
4. Little Infamies by Panos Karnezis
5. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
6. Shadow of the Sun by Ryzsard Kapuscinski
7. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
8. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
9. The Gangster We Are All Looking For by le thi diem thuy
10. Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Joanna!

I'm so pleased to meet someone who has read "Enrique's Journey". I have to say the book really opened my eyes to the hardships people suffer in the poorer countries of South America and why immigration to the US is such a big draw that millions will lose their lives in their quest to get there.

I absolutely LOVE your list! There are few on there I have heard of but haven't read, but I am even more interested in the ones I haven't heard of: "Report to Greco" by Nikos Kazantzakis and "Little Infamies" by Panos Karnezis. I am going to have to check them out.

ebbye said...

You have the most incredible blog!
Only 10 to save? I'd be too busy trying to hold my cat! :)
I would HAVE to take The Alchemist, The Diving-Bell and The Butterfly, Before I say Goodbye, Wonderland Avenue and Getting Over It...

Lotus Reads said...

Hey ebbye,


That's a great selection of books you would want to save and I hear you about the cat! ;)

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