Only one book saved!

I’ve been tagged again. This one involves this scenario: if your house were burning down (God forbid!) and you could only save one book, which would it be?

Of course, there’s always this proviso these days “aside from the Bible.” But I very likely would grab one of my Bibles which was extremely expensive several years ago and difficult to find: a New Internation Version Pulpit/Lectern Bible, for which there’s a little, not very good picture here. It’s heavy, thick, and got a fantastically beautiful font. It’s also entirely out of print and still in demand. I’d have trouble replacing it.

If I really had to play along, and not grab at least one of my Bibles (why? because the fire would make me insane?), I’d probably grab one of the following: my beautiful edition of Christina Georgina Rossetti’s Complete Poetical Works which formerly belonged to famed New York book collector George Zabriskie, a gold-tooled butterscotch marbled leather with gilded pages; my second edition parts one and two of Sefer ha-Aggadah, printed in Odessa, 1912, before Ravnitsky and Bialik emigrated to Israel; or my first edition (a second is supposed to be out this year) of the Ash Tree Press collection A Pleasing Terror, the annotated ghost stories of Montague Rhodes James, which also commands a high price these days.

But, in the end, I suppose I’d grab the notebook in which is my work for a complete scriptural index and concordance to Charlesworth’s Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volumes. And a folder in which I keep the handwritten list of errata (24 pages so far, kids, and that’s not even the entire first volume). That’s for all the time involved, as I would never, ever want to go through this kind of project again, being heartily sick of the tedium of it. And if some guy is standing by the door to make sure I can only take one, I’d punch his clock and use him to beat off the flames so I could save the other books listed above, and then some. So there.


  1. If I could only take one book to be shipwrecked on an island with and the Bible is not it? I’d take an exhaustive concordance of my favorite Bible version and plenty of blank paper. I know I’m cheating and changing your scenario, but given a lot of free time, I think I could contruct a bible from the concordance! 😉

    Bob Burns
    San Francisco

  2. I wouldn’t want anything else but a Bible, and would be disappointed to have anything else! And I’d want it to be a full Greek Septuagint and NT so I’d learn that puppy inside out, and backwards and forwards!

  3. Well, I really had intended avoiding frivilous blog comments, but I can’t help thinking that you’re destined to end up on a deserted island with your slop Bible.

  4. The notebook that contains all the passwords for my internet savings accounts. With that I can buy any other book.

    Am I allowed to take my teddy bear with me as well?

  5. Sr Macrina, that would indeed be a kind of poetic justice….

    Roger, you can send your notebook to me. If it has control of such well-filled accounts, one can never be too safe! I may extract a “small” fee for such guardianship, but this would be a mere trifle in the scheme of things. You, on the other hand, should take your teddy bear!

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