If your house were on fire and you had mere seconds to evacuate, what items would you take?
That's the question posed by Foster Huntington in "The Burning House: What Would You Take?" (It Books: $16.99). Huntington selected 200 images from his blog of the same name that reveal what is nearest and dearest to people faced with disaster. Submissions from around the world showcase carefully presented selections of people's most prized possessions.
Huntington's idea originated at a dinner party, with friends discussing questions given on online dating sites and how they reflect a person's values, character and priorities.
The most common items, according to an unscientific survey in the book, are cameras and photos, followed by clothes and books. Items range from the obvious (themselves, children and pets); the sentimental (letters, homemade drawings); irreplaceable (a father's Bronze Star from World War II); valuable instruments; a Stan Lee signed copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 (the first appearance of Spider-Man); and survivalist (pocket knives, shoes, flashlights).
Stuffed animals are also popular: One image simply features "Sesame Street's" Grover, a well-worn survivor of a house fire.
Although there are those unusual items, a Blu-ray copy of "The Princess Bride," perfume and a typewriter, all make for an entertaining study of human nature. What would you take?
In a real situation, most people don't have the luxury of time. That was the case with Kim McCann, a 43-year-old writer from Indianapolis who was pondering what items she'd submit for the blog when someone pounded on her apartment door, yelling that the building was on fire. That settled it. She grabbed her keys—and her cat—and rushed to safety.
— Liesl Bradner