What Would You Read, or Re-Read, If ‘The End’ Was Coming?

Not to bring the mood down, or get all miserable before Christmas, but I have been pondering the whole doomsday issue which some people believe may just happen on Friday, which would really be a bit of Christmas ruiner wouldn’t it? That said I haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet; maybe I should wait till next Saturday? Anyway… the Mayan calendar ends on Friday the 21st (fortunately my advent calendar goes on until the 25th and I already have a calendar for next year) and while Mayan descendents actually think it is merely the end of one phase and start of another some people believe the end is nigh and will be off up Magic Mountains and all sorts. There is also some serious scare mongering going on, which when I started to read it did make me feel a little wobbly as hysteria can do, both for myself and the slim chance, but also for the fact that some people really do believe in some cuckoo things! Of course though, as everything does, this made me think of books of course!

On top of this coming Friday apparently we were very close to an asteroid on Tuesday (or the other way round), lots of people thought the world might end on the 12th of the 12th 2012 (just like they did on 11.11.11, 10.10.10 etc – oh and of course the Millennium) which has just past, we had The Rapture that wasn’t rapturous and now some people are saying actually it could be 2029 when another huge asteroid is heading a little too close. This of course doesn’t send me to thinking of bunkers (I could hide in the cellar all day though), arcs, or rushing out to get endless tins of peaches etc… I think I might just have a duvet day, probably with a good book! However if you thought the end really was coming what books would you want to read before it did and which would you take with you to a place of supposed safety?

It could be a lovely snowy pre-Christmas day, or a post apocalyptic wilderness. I am going for the first option please.

I started to ponder which books would I take down into the cellar with me (not that I really will spend all Friday in there, cough, move on) for a bunker based library? I mean obviously I would take some favourites, all my Du Maurier’s, Atwood’s, Conan Doyle’s, Gerritsen’s, M.C. Beaton’s etc whether I have read them already or not. But are there any books that I have yet to read that I have always meant to and would be frightfully cross if I missed out reading? The answer is… I am not sure.

Part of this is, if I am truly honest, that I don’t want to tempt fate. I mean what if I said the book I wanted to read was… ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (not likely to happen) and then I did read it and ‘whoops’. I also went through my TBR and decided that it was all 700 of those books, and more! I have been looking at books coming out in 2013 and it is a bumper year, so I am sorry but I have too much reading to do.

But what about you? If ‘the end’ was really coming what books would you grab and why? Or would you not? As The Beard said this morning ‘I would be really cross if the end was nigh and you were sat in the corner reading a book!” He doesn’t understand does he? Ha!

P.S I have just scheduled my Christmas posts, so it can’t end!



Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

16 responses to “What Would You Read, or Re-Read, If ‘The End’ Was Coming?

  1. Well if the end was coming (I don’t believe it is) I really wish it woud wait till January (now I’ve spent all that money) mainly because I (and a few others) are indulging in a month of re-reading. I have some corkers lined up to re-read including Jane Eyre, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love, Howards End, Persuasion among others – so I guess I would struggle down to the celler with those -along with a box of tea bags and some microwave meals : )

  2. rosemarykaye

    The collected works of Barbara Pym would keep me happy until the last light went out – and even after that, as I think I know my favourites (Excellent Women, A Glass of Blessings, Some Tame Gazelle) more or less off by heart.

    If there were no Pym to hand, maybe Alexander McCall Smith, Louise Penny, RC Sherriff – or if it was a long wait, Anthony Powell – would be happy to re-read the entire Dance to the Music of Time.

    I’d also like chocolate, coffee and a good supply of scones…

  3. I had the same question after I read The Hopkins Manuscript, the RC Sherriff novel where the moon is hurtling toward Earth and the protagonist sits down to read while he waits for impact. When I posed the question on my blog, comfort reads seem to rule the day. I agree with Rosemary that Sherriff would be a good choice, but I am thinking how funny it would be if one chose to read The Hopkins MS (about the world ending) while waiting for the world to end.

    I would chose something from a Persephone author, or a book that is sheer bliss to read, e.g., Flowers For Mrs Harris, The Uncommon Reader, 84 Charing Cross Road, etc.

    • rosemarykaye

      Oh Thomas, I love all three of those! I was thinking of The Fortnight in September, which is the only RC Sherriff I have read, and which is one of my most favourite books. I could read Alan Bennett’s diaries with great pleasure. Another book that comes to mind is Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries. Then there’s Monica Dickens, Jilly Cooper (early works – I loved ‘Harriet’ – and Dodie Smith’s ‘I Capture the Castle’ would be another great comfort to me.

    • I will have to read that RC Sherriff book, I think its one of the Persephone titles and so will be in my path with the Persephone Project.

  4. Easy, the one “classic” I really want to have a go at again – Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time”; in English if I’m not to have months of time plus my large French dictionary beside me too. I’ve only read Swann’s Way so far.

  5. doom mongering in all shapes and forms makes me sad… there’s way more than enough fear and worry in the world already 😦 chaos and catastrophy seem to have a way of appearing in unexpected ways when we least expect them to, so there’s really no use in worrying about what we can’t control and that which is impossible to know.

    i’ve been bedbound with a serious illness for several years now, so i’m quite aware that any day and any page could be my last. my reading habits haven’t changed much – except that maybe i give up easier on books that i’m not enjoying, and move on to something else.

    i’ve always adored mystical poetry and deeply spiritual books on enlightenment and suchlike, so i’d definitely bring my favourites with me to the bunker. ‘the truth is’ by poonja, ‘the end of your world’ and ’emptiness dancing’ by adyashanti, poetry by rumi & hafiz etc. i’d also like to bring ‘the time traveller’s wife’ by audrey niffenegger and ‘shiver’ by maggie stiefvater, because they are so amazingly beautiful and bittersweet and perfect stories to lose oneself in when reality is a bit too much to handle.

    i’d most definitely also bring heaps of really dark bittersweet chocolate and my favourite cook book, because i have a feeling delicious food would be nothing but a fading memory in the bunker… ‘vegan cookies invade your cookie jar’ by isa chandra moskowitz & terry hope romero, yum 🙂

    i’d absolutely love it if maggie stiefvater and glen duncan would happen to end up in the same bunker, because i’m dying to know what will happen in the sequel to maggie’s ‘the raven boys’ and in the third book of duncan’s werewolf trilogy… 😉

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful and honest comment, it is sad what all of the hysteria did around all of this, and then it didn’t happen.

      I also wanted to send all my thoughts and wishes to you. Best, Simon

  6. I would definitely take Coelho’s The Alchemist and his latest, Manuscript found in Accra. They are simply incredible, life altering books, and maybe Madonna’s “Sex”, but is that an actual book? :)))

  7. If I were waiting out the end of days, I would definitely need Wives and Daughters, Emma, and I Capture the Castle as well as some P.G. Wodehouse and Anthony Trollope to help me through. Maybe a few Georgette Heyer, too. If ever there were a time for comfort reads…

  8. Bunker reading? Hmmm… Comfort reading would surely include Persuasion, Rebecca, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Also, as much of John Irving, Graham Greene, and Agatha Christie as I could carry. Project reading would definitely be involved and certainly War and Peace, Les Misérables, and Zola’s 20-volume Rougon-Macquart series would be on the list.

  9. I’d be happy as long as I had something to read and enough of it, but I would err on the side of escapist stuff – maybe re-read LOTR yet again, fairy tales etc. By the way, I loved RC Sheriff’s The Hopkins Manuscript – and it’s a Persephone book too – can’t wait to see what you think of it.

  10. don quixote the best novel ever written ,but lets hope there wroing ,all the best stu

  11. I suppose I would have to mix up books that I haven’t read with some tried and true favorites. And really, I’d have to shack up with another reader so that we could pool our books together and have twice the selection! 🙂

  12. Hoorah it didn’t happen, yippee!!!!! Lovely to see all your book choices and I honestly didn’t spend all day in the cellar with tinned peaches books and a torch… honest.

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