If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE books)...

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Amanda Witman's picture
Amanda Witman
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If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE books)...

I posted this in the Definitive Book Thread earlier this month and got no responses, so I'm pulling it out and reposting here.

If you could have only ONE (secular) reference book to take with you into the future, what book would it be, and why?

Okay, okay, if that sounds like a totally impossible proposition, try this:  If you could choose THREE reference books to take with you, what would they be, and why?

I'm thinking it might be a comprehensive self-sufficiency book, or a book (or trio of books) that encompasses the skills and information you think will be most critical to survival, success, and/or true prosperity over the next 20+ years.  Or maybe you have other priorities. 

If THAT sounds impossible, think of it this way:  If you had to leave your home with nothing but a backpack, which one book would you want to have in it?  If you had a fireproof safe that could hold only one book, which book would you feel was most important to protect from fire?

(I'd like to limit answers only to secular books.  For the purposes of this query, I'm going to consider religious reference books to be sacred objects, packed and/or protected primarily for their religious merit and only secondarily for potential practical reference value.)

I am very interested in hearing what you would choose and why.

cowgap's picture
cowgap
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Re: If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE ...

The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carin Emery!

I grew up on a farm.  After a couple of university degrees and several career changes, I married a farmer and reared a couple of children on a farm while being professionally employed.  Now retired, I garden and raise livestock full time.  Having this encyclopedia is like being able to pick up the phone and ask my mother or grandmother (both farm girls) a "how to" question.  Carin's ideas and solutions are clearly written and usually spot on.  There are regional differences, but I rarely disagree with her. 

I have given younger family members copies for Christmas with the admonition that it never be taken to Half-Price Books!

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
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Re: If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE ...

 #1   AGREE  WITH THE  ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COUNTRY LIVING 

      #2    TEN  Acres Enough:

THE SMALL FARM DREAM IS POSSIBLE.  

  RALPH C. MILLER & LYNN R. MILLER

 

   #3   BACK TO THE BASICS ....   READERS DIGEST

 

 

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SagerXX
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Re: If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE ...

 Hmm.  I'm only now turning my reading to Getting Ready.  Previously my reading was more like The Long Emergency, The Long Descent, etc.

One book I do like is Story's Country Living -- I imagine it's similar to The Encyclopedia of Country Living.  But I've never seen the latter so I couldn't say which is the more comprehensive.

Viva -- Sager

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joemanc
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Re: If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE ...

The Self Sufficient Life by John Seymour. I usually will read a book from the library and if I like it, I buy it, and I did with John Seymour's book.  I'm currently reading Back to Basics as Full Moon suggested above, which so far is more or less along the lines of The Self Suffienct Life.

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Lemonyellowschwin
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Re: If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE ...

Joy of Cooking, hands down.  Very entertaining.

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becky
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Re: If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE ...

Amanda, that's a great question.  I've actually asked myself a similar question of what books I would take with me if I had to leave my familiar world and start over in a much more primative world.  I've never limited it to three books, so that's the hard part.   I know it would be much more practical to take 1) really good gardening book, 2) really good medical/home remedy book, and 3) some sort of how to survive in the wilderness book.  But, honestly, the two books that always come to mind first for me that are actually on my bookshelves are 1) my copy of the Complete Works of Shakespeare, and 2) Great Ideas Vol 43 (American State Papers, The Federalist, and writings by JS Mill).  As a third book, I think I would take "Mainstreams in Modern Art" by Canaday.  I might not survive more than a day in the woods, but my soul would continue to be enlightened.  (and by the way, I have not read Shakespeare since college and only read parts of Vol 43, but I just can't imagine a world where I would no longer have access to books and ideas like that)

becky

ao's picture
ao
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Re: If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE ...

A Calendar of Wisdom by Leo Tolstoy because without some good old wisdom, the rest of the stuff is useless.

The Complete Farside (2 vol. set) by Gary Larson because we'll need to laugh.

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anarkst
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Re: If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE ...

Tao Te Ching

Written 2500 years ago by the Taoist Master, Lao Tsu.  The second most widely read book in the world after the Christian bible.  It is wholly secular.  If you have not read this book, check it out.  It's about how to live simply, and in complete harmony with nature.

 

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day.  Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Lao Tsu

ao's picture
ao
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Re: If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE ...
anarkst wrote:

Tao Te Ching

Written 2500 years ago by the Taoist Master, Lao Tsu.  The second most widely read book in the world after the Christian bible.  It is wholly secular.  If you have not read this book, check it out.  It's about how to live simply, and in complete harmony with nature.

 

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day.  Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Lao Tsu

Classic book (have had a copy for 30 years) but wholly secular??? 

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anarkst
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Re: If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE ...

ao says:

Classic book (have had a copy for 30 years) but wholly secular???

 Please feel free to take a quote out of it to make your case.  Most people I know would consider it philosophy.

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PraySam
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Re: If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE ...

Yikes! One book is too hard a decision to make. After watching the original Time Machine movie I have always counted on being able to take 3 books. I agree with the Encyclopedia of Country Living but I would also recommend Medicine for the Outdoors by Paul Auerbach which is written for the non-medical types but is actually helpful even for those of us with medical backgrounds. A must have I believe. Still working on that 3rd book.  c

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tx_floods
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Re: If you could have only ONE book... (er, okay, THREE ...

I would say "The Hobbit" By: JRR Tolkein

A great read. Easy, fun, relatively short, and can be read and re-read. Always has that special "magic" that transports me to Middle-Earth. I like it even better than TLOTR trilogy.

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