What book would you take into the trenches?

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Literary Blog Hop

This week’s literary blog hop from The Blue Bookcase is from Mel U at the Reading Life whose question is inspired by The Harp of Burma (on my to-read list).  Mel U asks, “If you were going off to war (or some other similarly horrific situation) and could only take one book with you, which book would you take and why?”  If you’d like to participate in this blog hop, go to The Blue Bookcase and grab the button above and post.  All literary blogs are welcome.

So what book would help keep me sane in a horrific situation?  Episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer helped me survive the horrific situation of writing a dissertation, but if we’re going with war-horrific rather than dissertation-horrific, I’d go with Wendell Berry’s Jayber Crow.  This seems to be the answer to many blog hop questions for me.  I find this book incredibly comforting and soothing, like Neosporin for the soul.  Reading it feels like meditation, and it’s also a book I’d be happy to read over and over again.  Being from Kentucky and a small town like Port William, I would also feel like I’m carrying a bit of home and family with me.  It seems that for a horrific situation, you’d need the kind of book in which you could take up residence to escape what’s around you, and Jayber Crow is that place for me.

What about you?  What book would you take into the trenches?


  1. This was a tough choice. I ended up going with an anthology. I hadn't heard of this Berry–will check it out.

  2. I also chose a book that would be comforting, re-readable, and easy to escape into. I have Jayber Crow on my wishlist already…must be your fault. 🙂

  3. I've read plenty of Berry's non-fiction, but have yet to sample his fiction. Looks like another TBR goes onto my library list…
    I admire your prose here, Robyn: “Neosporin for the soul”'s a phrase I wish I'd thought of and I enjoyed your title's spin on the task.
    FYI: I just (swiftly, a tad inelegantly, but with content as focus) added my “war picks” to my entry on Toronto's human library… Go see?

  4. My is also a comforting book (in my eyes at least!).

  5. Don't know this book. I definitely should check it out.

    Here's my post: http://www.readerbuzz.blogspot.com

  6. I went with an old favorite: The Lord of the Rings.

  7. Hmm.. interesting. I've never heard of Jayber Crow, but I think I need to look it up.

  8. Amy, ah the anthology, chosen correctly, would have the advantage of all the memories of reading the stories and poems in college or better days in general.

    Melody, yes, Jayber Crow appears to be my dead horse and I keep beating away.

    Laurie, thanks for the lovely compliment. I think the phrase was inspired by a rather nasty looking scratch my cat gave me on my wrist.

    Em, it's interesting to see what books folks find comforting.

    Deb Nance, thanks for stopping by.

    Emily, I found the first Lord of the Rings movie really comforting in the wake of 9/11, so I can see where the book would be comforting in war time.

    Adam, yes, check it out. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. not heard of this, so will check it out. always nice to discover new books.

  10. I've never heard of this book. But yes, I also think you need something to distract you from all the bad things happening around you.

    Check out my choice here: http://leeswammes.wordpress.com

  11. Robyn, I love that you continue to be a champion of Wendell Berry. Love your answer.

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