When we started planning our move to California, we initially thought that we would only be able to bring what we could fit in our little Honda Civic plus six suitcases (Mel and the kids flew). This meant downsizing 15 (lawyer) boxes of books down to 3. We ended up taking a (much larger) second car, and bringing more like 5 boxes of books. But still.

As painful as it was, there was something exciting about starting with those three empty boxes and choosing which books were important enough to make the move. Here is a picture of the first five books that I put into the box.

IMG_2097Since the move, I’ve added many important books to my library. But I think I would probably stand by these books as the “first five”. They have marked me deeply, shaped my imagination, and – like all classics – they reward continual re-reading.

Your turn: your house is on fire, and you can only save five books. What are your “first five”?


  • Brad says:

    1. Bible
    2. Great Expectations (non-edited version)
    3. Return of the King
    4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    5. Silmarillion

    • mm PJustin says:

      I like your list, Brad.

      2. It’s been awhile since I’ve read this. I don’t know if I was aware there had been serious editing. Do you mean unabridged, or was there a change in the ending, etc.?

      3. I think I would have tough decisions now since my wife gave me three beautiful copies of LOTR for Christmas (second edition!), but I can’t let Tolkien have the whole list! (Can I?)

      4. What is it about Goblet of Fire that makes it your favorite book in the series? I still prefer books 1 and 7.

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