Yesterday, Emily asked me if I could only own five books for the rest of my life, what would they be? When I first read the question I thought, 'I better think about this.' but then I decided that I would just react to the question and see what came out. I knew right away.
My number one book would be Primitive Wilderness Living & Survival Skills: Naked into the Wilderness by John and Gerri McPherson. This book assumes that you have nothing on hand and I mean nothing. Not even a knife. You won't learn how to preserve or garden or anything like that. But you will learn how to, like the title says, walk into the woods completely naked and survive. The pictures are perfect, clear and really informative. So often there are just line drawings in books like this, but not this one. I like that they are a married couple too. So many survival books are really authored for men but this book really shows that a woman is capable of 'surviving' too. That brings up my first critique of the book though. They really should have included a chapter on how to survive in the wilderness with your spouse and not kill each other ;) And, also, my copy is a few years old but it is my second copy. The binding on this book is weak in my opinion for a how-to book that might see a lot of dirt time. My first book fell to pieces. Seriously though these are skills that everyone should have a basic understanding of how to implement. If poop hits the fan you should have this book, if you have kids these are fun skills to practice and it's a perfect book if you really want deepen your relationship with nature. Warning! It's not for the faint of heart. They show you how to skin animals and tan their hide (both of which I have done using this book successfully), set traps, hunt primitively etc.
My second book would be Greg's first novel! Of course! Fractured Veil. Greg is a writer, not as a profession (yet) but that is what he is. He worked on this novel for a few years after Jorn was born, at night. He is going to be frustrated with me for linking to it because he is 'done' with it. But I am not. I am so proud of his book and it's a great read too. Speculative science fiction would be the genre if you tried to categorize it. For obvious reasons I would need to have this book with me.
My third book would be Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing by A.S. Neill. It's a crime that this book is out of print. This book really formed me as a parent and as a person actually. I first read it in college and have re-read it with every child and at other points in my life. It is, as the cover says, radical but Neill's approach to raising children is by far the most child centered, matter of fact and common sense approach I have encountered. The book is actually about the school he started called Summerhill but through the description of how the school is run you get all the guidance you could need about child rearing. Luckily, this book is somewhat easy to find in used bookshops. So, I always buy a copy when I see it and give it away to first time mama's to be.
My fourth book is One Piece Knits that Fit by Margaret Huber. I know I have mentioned this book before and I have to say that while I have a pretty decent knitting library this book is never on that shelf. Never. Because it is always by my side. It's tattered, the dust jacket is long gone but it is my knitting bible. This book gives you recipes so that you can knit (or crochet) a sweater for anyone 6 months-100 years old with any weight yarn either top down, bottom up or side to side. Seriously. It's kind of like Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns but far better, imho. Don't expect to be inspired by pictures though. This book has been out of print for decades so the models are out of date and hilariously styled! But if you want to be able to just pick a yarn from your stash and knit a sweater at a moments notice without doing any math this is the book for you.I have knit sweaters for practically every gauge and size range and the proportions are perfect! This is just a workhorse of a knitting book that I couldn't be without.
My last book is a real cheat of an answer but I would have to say that as long as I had any novel by Nikos Kazantzakis by my side I'd be happy. It really wouldn't matter which one. Gosh, his writing just hits that chord in me like only a favorite author can. You know?
So, what would your five be?