the Little Red Reviewer

If you could only grab 5 books . . .

Posted on: March 21, 2011

John Ottinger over at Grasping for the Wind just posted his most recent Inside the Blogosphere, where he asked fellow bloggers what five books they would save in Case of Disaster.

This is the second Inside the Blogosphere that I’ve participated in, and John always asks questions that are impossible to answer quickly.  My first thought is always “wow, I’ll have to think about this a little bit”, and I just love that.  I highly encourage you to visit Grasping for the Wind and read through everyone responses, I think you’ll be happily surprised at the variety of answers.

I was a total slacker, and simply listed 5 books that were of great importance to me , without giving any reasons. Here are the books I’d save in case of disaster, and why.


1. The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss – This is the book that got me into reading fantasy. I can’t even tell you how many other reasons that sentence encompasses. I want to go swimming in this book.







2. The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch – A surprisingly theraputic book. I’ve read it probably a half dozen times and I always get an adrenaline rush from reading it.






3. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand – this was the first “grown up” book I read as a teenager. Politics and philosophies aside, it made a heavy impact on how I lived my early adult life.






4. The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco – the only Eco I’ve been able to comprehend. For a basic murder mystery, it is unputdownable! Everytime we pull out the board game “Mystery at the Abbey”, I want to read it again!

5. Open Veins of Latin America, by Edwardo Galeano - the only book on the list that i haven’t read yet. I need to psych myself up to read this book, and just do it, damn it.




Using the Grasping for the Wind post as a jumping off point, I pose the question to you, dear friends. In case of some kind of emergency or disaster, if you don’t know when or if you would be able to return to your home, what five books would you save?

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13 Responses to "If you could only grab 5 books . . ."

Oh there are so many books, so little time. I think my five books would be -

1 – Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold – Although not the first in the series of Miles Vorkosigan books, this is the masterpiece for me. That and the next one:

2 – A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold – Are you sensing a theme here? The woman can’t do any wrong in my opinion and of course

3 – The Curse of Chalion – Perhaps my favourite fantasy novel of all time, this has everything in it. A love Story, action, adventure and bad guys and a Curse to beat all curses. gotta love it

4 – The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon – A bit of a cheat this one as it is actually 3 books but it was published as one so it counts. A rollicking good adventure fantasy where the main character is a warrior woman with a heart of gold. Is much better than I have made it sound.

5 – A Wind in Cairo by Judith Tarr – One of those books that I have had on my shelf since the 80s. I just can’t bring myself to let it go and I revisit it every couple of years. It is set during the crusades but from an Arab point of view. The main character is a twat who gets on the wrong side of a magi and pays for it by being turned into a horse. It is a wonderful story and I can’t recommend it highly enough. In fact, I might just go blog about it!!

That list does not encompass every one I would love to keep obviously but I just noticed that every author I have kept is a woman. Huh! Something to think about there

…So do you hear Sean Connery’s voice when you read The Name of the Rose? B)

Of course I do! doesn’t everyone? ;)

I always cheat at these. This will be no exception. I would bring:

1. The LOTR one volume edition
2. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
3. The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison
4. A World Out of Time by Larry Niven
5. Dracula ~Bram Stoker

I have to say that if there was a disaster that had me fleeing from my house, I probably wouldn’t be grabbing books on my way out, not matter how much I love them ;)

But if I did, I’d probably take my autographed copy of Peter Brett’s The Warded Man, which I worked so hard for, A Walk in the Woods and In a Sunburned Country by Bill Byrson, because they always make me laugh and A Game of Thrones, because I haven’t read it yet and keep meaning to.

Pauliree – Isn’t McMaster Bujold wonderful? I enjoy everything I’ve read by her. Vorkosigan saga needs to be back in print, like right now!!!

Carl – how is that cheating? ;) And Dracula is a killer good choice. I love that book.

Simcha – A lot of folks who responded to the original thread were saying the same thing. I think Jon inadvertently gave a bunch of people anxiety attacks!

thinking about my collection of books, and how far my renter’s insurance would actually go, I’ve never been so tempted to buy an e-reader. Grab one little electronic device in the face of emergency, save 500+ books.

Mostly because, despite Tolkien’s early wishes, LOTR is still seen by many as 3 books, and “The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat” is a collection that contains the first three novels.

Nice picks! I’m actually on the second Rothfuss volume right now, and it’s great! I agree completely with the Umberto Eco pick, as well — I love “Name of the Rose.”


Well, this isn’t one of those “if you were on a desert island…” questions, is it? We’re assuming the books on the list are irreplaceable for some reason. If I could grab 5 books before leaving the house, they would have to be books I couldn’t easily replace…

1. The Sword of Shannara Trilogy (combines The Sword of Shannara, The Elfstones of Shannara, and the Wishsong of Shannara). More specifically, my 2002 deckled-edge hardcover edition that Terry Brooks signed for me at Powell’s Books.

2. Fool’s Errand. My 2002 hardcover edition that Robin Hobb signed for me, also at Powell’s Books.

3. I’m not sure of the title – it may be something like “History of the 41st Artillery Brigade” (I’m at work and can’t remember). This hardcover book details the movements and battles of my great-grandfather’s brigade, complete with maps, through World War I France. I believe it was published in 1918.

4. The Golden Phoenix: Eight French-Canadian Fairy Tales. My 1963 hardcover version. Besides the fact that it was my favorite book during my childhood, it is demanding a price of $235 on Amazon.

5. A big, beautiful hardcover book of Italy (again, I can’t recall the title). Having met my biological father for the first time last year, this book was a gift to me, from my “new” parents and my “new” sister, celebrating our first Christmas together. Though I could purchase another copy, obviously this particular one is now irreplaceable.

It’s a very hard thing to do. In no particular order I’d have to take: The Eight by Katherine Neville
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (because it’s so much fucking fun!)
High Society by Dave Sim

[...] 5. A “How to live through a disaster” book or survival manual. John Ottinger over at Grasping for the Wind just posted his most recent Inside the Blogosphere, where he asked fellow bloggers what five books they would save in Case of Disaster. This is the second Inside the Blogosphere that I’ve participated in, and John always asks questions that are impossible to answer quickly.  My first thought is always “wow, I’ll have to think about this a little bit”, and I just love that.  I highly encourage you to vis … Read More [...]

Assuming that I were living in a Fiction house, with my non-fiction carefully stored elsewhere, I would probably grab:

- One Hundred Years of Solitude
- The Story of San Michele
- The Silmarillion
- Selected Poems, by E. E. Cummings
- … don’t know. Maybe selected poems of T.S. Eliot? could be forgetting something, though.

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About this redhead, etc.

Redhead is a snarky, non-politically correct 30-something who reviews mostly science fiction and fantasy and talks about all sorts of other fun scifi and fantasy geekery. She once wrote a haiku that included the word triskaidekaphobia.

This blog contains adult language and strong opinions. The best way to contact her outside of this blog is twitter, where she is @redhead5318 .

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