Beloved Books: or, what to save in the event of a bushfire…

Earlier this year our house was threatened by bush fire. (A fire that, sadly,  is still raging; devastating some of Tasmania’s most amazing forests).

Now when I say ‘threatened’, the fire was 25-30 km away as the crow flies. It never got close enough for us to see any flames, but it was almost unbearably smokey for a week, and for a day or two we had ash falling from the sky. We even lost sight of our Mountain.

mtn - no mtn
Enough smoke to turn the sun pink (not that it’s clear in this shot): followed by so much smoke it’s hidden our mountain… 😦

Pretty scary stuff, especially for the children who were convinced for a while there that we were going to lose our house.

It was this threat of burning embers that led the fire service to enact the ‘Watch and Act’ alert –  in other words, pack your most precious things and be ready to leave if the situation gets worse.

We packed an overnight bag, gathered our important documents and photo albums, packed teddy bears and special keepsakes.

But what about our books? The older kids picked their favourite half a dozen in their suitcases, and I managed to narrow down my 18 month old’s books to about the same number of favourites, before turning to my shelves.

Nine bookshelves. Not all full, but pretty close. How to decide, from nine bookshelves, which to save?

I limited myself to a box and set some rules: only signed books, and books that had sentimental value. In the end, it wasn’t that hard – after all, most books are still available to buy either new or second hand, without too much trouble.


Beloved Books

The books that made the cut:

Pastures of the Blue Crane by H F Brinsmead

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Books 1 and 2 of the Obernewtyn series by Isobelle Carmody

Books 1 and 2 of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

The Tale of Murasaki by Liza Dalby

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris

It’s interesting (now, after the threat has passed) to see how easy it was to pare back the bookshelves (and other belongings) to the bare necessities. Though I won’t be reducing my bookshelves by choice I know I could if the need arose. (Fingers crossed it never does!)


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