So, I've been thinking about it for a couple of days now.
If I could save only one book in the event of an emergency, what book would I save?
There were so many things to take into consideration.
For instance, if it were to be the one book that influenced my life the most, that would be Lord of the Rings. Actually, no, strike that. It would be The Hobbit. Although I prefer the trilogy, I never would have read LotR if I hadn't read The Hobbit first. And I still consider The Hobbit to be the one book that put me on the path of super geekdom. Still, I did not choose a book by Tolkien.
I could have chosen The Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I had a copy of that as a child, which I still have, BTW. I taught me a love for mythology and stories and characters bigger than life. This is the book I believe I can attribute my love of mythology to. Another book that shaped who I am, but I did not choose this book.
I could have chosen Pride and Prejudice, a book that taught me that not all Victorian novels are stuffy and end miserable for all concerned. Because of Jane Austen, I have ventured to expose myself to more Victorian literature. Sadly, in my estimation, nothing else has equaled my love of Austen, but I have watched some movies / TV series that are quite good, although still sad and miserable where generally speaking no one gets what they want. I didn't choose this book either.
I could have chosen Moonheart by Charles DeLint. This was probably the first modern fantasy book I read based in Celtic folklore, which sent me on a quest to find more. It also introduced me to the Welsh bard, Taliesin, who I fell in love with as a character and became a women possessed to find anything and everything I could about him. I felt a special connection as my great grandfather was Welsh, realizing that only makes me an 8th Welsh, but still it was a connection I clung to in my youth, and still do I suppose. I had actually gone to Wales after college and I went to a university, can't remember which one now, but the university held a book in special reserve called the Book of Taliesin. I so much wanted to get a chance to see it, but if I didn't get the chance. Either it was ridiculously expensive to gander a look or non-students couldn't access. Even though, this book motivated me to expand my knowledge base in a way many other books hadn't, I still did not choose this book.
I could have chosen The Princess Diaries as this was really the first book that set me on my current path of my preferred genre of young adult. I was never a fan of first person books and this being in diary format just seemed to be something I wouldn't care to read, but I saw the movie and loved it so much that I needed to read the book. What I found was that I really could enjoy a book in first person perspective. Earlier attempts were unsuccessful. A large portion of the books I have been reading since are all in first person. Had I never given this book a chance, I would have missed out on all that future reading. And I adored Michael, but I did not choose this book.
I could have chosen Outlander as it is probably the book I have read the most times. LotR is probably a close second. Besides hot Scot in a kilt. Hello! I picked up this book solely on the merit of its cover. I loved the original cover design. It intrigued. This book showed me that sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. Sadly, I did not choose this book either. Sorry Jamie.
I could have chosen Ranma 1/2. At the time, the story was still being serialized in comic book form. When I met hubby, he was working in a comic book shop. I would go by the shop and wait for him to get off work if we had plans, so to entertain myself, I would read comics. I picked up Ranma and was so completely unprepared for the onslaught of madness and mayhem and it was just about one of the funniest darned things I had ever read (recommended for mature audiences). I boy that turns into a girl? A man that turns into a panda? A girl that turns into a cat? And I can't discount Tatewaki Kuno, the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High. Since I came into the series late, I picked up the first 4 or 5 story arcs in digest format. Still one of the funniest stories I have ever read. Picking up that first copy of Ranma in the shop brought back my love for Japanese culture. I had lived in Okinawa when I was 7 - 8, came home just before I turned 9 and I used to watch the cartoons in Japanese like Kimba the White Lion, Speed Racer, Marine Boy, Gigantor. The love for Japanese animation and comics as well as the culture has always stuck with me. Rumiko Takahashi made me remember why I loved it all so much, still, I did not choose this series.
There are so many really good books I've read throughout my life, many of them shaping me into the person I am today, so it was really hard to pick just one book, but ultimately, the book I chose is a signed and number copy of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman which the author's preferred text. It is a newer release. I do have the original book from when it was released, but I had seen the miniseries from the BBC. It was purchased at a comic book convention, bootleg, on VHS and was rather grainy, but I loved the show, so naturally had to read the book. While I had read the Sandman comics, Neverwhere was the first novel I had read by Neil even though I had bought Good Omens which he had written with Terry Pratchett first. The story of Neverwhere in both formats just blew me away and solidified my love for the work of Neil Gaiman.
So there you have it. At least that's what I'd pick today. Ask me again tomorrow.