|Pictures of Old Books, Liam Quinn|
Later in the day, I was reading Brandon Vogt's interview with Carl E. Olson. One of the questions Vogt posed to Olson was, "Imagine the world has collapsed into an Orwellian dystopia replete with book burnings. You can only save five titles to pass on to your children—what do you select and why?" Reading the interview led to me stumbling across a number of other book lists.
It got me thinking, so I decided to compile my own list of books I'd save. I figured I wouldn't have my iPad in this dystopian world so these would be books I'd have to physically keep. Here's my list of ten, in no particular order:
The Way, St. Josemaria Escriva
Come on. You had to know that I wouldn't write a post like this and not include something from St. Josemaria. Seriously, this little book is a spiritual treasure. Every time I read one of the points, it's like I am getting a little bit of spiritual coaching like that Father McCloskey talks about.
The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
I have to confess that I did not read this until a few years ago. What a "manly" book! The whole book is a metaphor for our struggle to fight time toll on our bodies - aging. It's also a testament to perseverance through hardship. Too bad Hemingway couldn't listen to his own message.
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez
This was the first "serious" piece of literature I can remember reading. I wrote my high school senior thesis comparing this work to the artwork of Salvador Dali. Talk about a stretch (pun intended).
Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri
I have only read excerpts from this book, but I have heard so many people recommend it, that I figured this is one I must read before TEOTWAWKI.
The Holy Bible (RSVCE)
Just because the world has gone to hell doesn't mean I have to as well. 'Nuf said.
The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay
I toyed with including Plato's Republic, but decided on The Federalist Papers because of the unique success of this little democratic-republic, experiment called the US. I figured having it handy might be useful to help in rebuilding and to remember what the Founders really intended. It might do some in politics to read them.
Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas
Having read G.K. Chesterton's biography on Aquinas, I learned he was a genius. Reading excerpts from the Summa for my first year theology classes gave me glimpse into this great mind. While technically a collection of five volumes, I would still include it on my list.
The Call of the Wild, Jack London
This is the first novel I can remember reading as a boy. To this day, it still stands as one of my favorites because it demonstrated how books could take you to other times and places. This book was catalyst to me becoming a life long reader.
The Stand, Stephen King
King wrote in his semi-memoir, On Writing, that it disturbs him a bit that many fans (me included) count The Stand as best work since he wrote so early in his career. Nevertheless, I've included it on my list because King was the first authored whose work I consistently followed. I still remember reading my mother's copy of Carrie after she had received her copy from the Literary Guild book club. King also does a great job of showing the struggle between good and evil in this book. Oh, and it takes place after a world-wide pandemic wipes out most of the population.
What books would make your list? Please share your list in the comments.
Here are some links to some other booklists:
Father John C. McCloskey, A Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan
Harvard Classic Bookshelf
Books that Make Us Human, Carl E. Olson
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