A.N.: I wrote this almost a year ago for my English class. It was supposed to be an essay about saving five books/series from the firemen, but instead of writing, "If I only had five books to save, I would save this book because..." I took a slightly different approach to the assignment. I hope you'll enjoy.


"Choose wisely," the fireman says. I can only save five books or book series from the insatiable flames. So choose wisely. After a long while, searching through the vast library, I find the first of my five refugees. Nearly an hour passes as I pick, choose, flip through pages, put back, set gently into my bag. The silent fireman follows, growing less and less patient with every tick of the clock. Finally, I set the last volume in my satchel and am escorted home. Behind me, the rest of the books burn.

When I am safely home and the Salamander has turned the corner, I draw the first tomb gently from the satchel- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. I could never live without Will on my now empty and expectant bookshelf. His language is beautiful, his stories are timeless, and, well, in all honesty I have a little fan-crush on Benvolio from Romeo and Juliet. Not only as a reader, but also as an actor, there is nothing more precious than the Bard's words. I lovingly stroke the cover and place the book in its new home.

Reaching for my next treasure, I draw out another complete works, this time by my other great literary love, Edgar Allan Poe. Ah, the dark, tortured Poe. His works ignite the imagination and he peers unflinchingly into the darkest voids of humanity's soul. I join Edgar and Will on the shelf, then return to pull The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales out of my bag and set the other collection of dark literature in its home.

Finally, I dig around in my bag until all seven Harry Potter books are in order in a stack on my bed. I realize then how heavy my bag must have been, am I'm glad the firemen carried it for me. Well, the imaginative and enjoyable tales of the Wizarding World get their own shelf. And now for my last refugee. When the offer to rescue five books or series was brought to me, I instantly knew I had to save these six volumes.

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series is my most favorite of all book series. I have never loved any story as much as this. Reading this tale transports you to a world of magic and mystery that takes place just outside your front door. Secrets and sorcery are painted to be everywhere, and the books ensnare you in their world. I smile at the series and give them the top shelf all to themselves.

I step back and survey the last legal books, and it's a little overwhelming, as well as saddening. I am the only one with access to literature, and every day when I look outside, I'll watch as the rest of humanity grows less and less educated, while I sit here in my meager library, alone and still literate. Human kind needs books, needs stories and imagination to fuel society, and without them, we come to a standstill, or perhaps even a downward plunge. I sigh, then lift the works of Shakespeare. Oh well, I have been meaning to read King Lear