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The Burning House: What Would You Take?

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  155 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
The Burning House
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by It Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 02, 2014 S rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Personally I love the concept and think that Foster Huntington had a spark of genius creating the blog
As for the book itself…meh. It’s just another blog-turned-book. Nothing particularly special. Just a somewhat diverse selection of reader’s submitted photographs.
I cannot deny that this project is a great insight into today’s society and how we relate with material possessions. A huge dependence on technology (Apple products and fancy cameras, or so it seems – prett
Apr 04, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Another concept book that exposes revealing details and curious insight into human behavior ::

If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It's a conflict between what's practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question.
Aug 29, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
A good idea, but why not find a few people who chose things to save other than 1. Vintage leicas 2. MacBooks 3. Vans (the shoe) 4. Cats
I like those things too, but honestly, in a fire, I'm taking the kids and the cats and my MacBook is going to have to fend for itself.
Kelly Hager
Oct 05, 2012 Kelly Hager rated it really liked it
The idea behind this book (and the website that inspired it) is incredibly simple: if your house is on fire, what would you take? Obviously you'd save people and pets, but what of your possessions do you have to bring with you?

The answers vary, obviously, from person to person. You'd want your wallet and probably your phone. But what else? A favorite book or movie or CD? An iPod or Kindle or iPad? Your computer or camera? Cards and letters, maybe?

So why care about what strangers would save? Ther
Oct 30, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting book. I’ve found myself quite surprised by what people have said they’d grab. It’s mostly the quantity of items people say they’d take. Do people really think they’d have a ton of time? Maybe many of these people live in HUGE homes, and likely would have plenty of time. I know, it’s a purely hypothetical, and this would be an ideal situation (for most posters) that would allow time to get what’s really important. And it made me think about what I would grab. I mean, fo ...more
Mary (BookHounds)
Jul 29, 2012 Mary (BookHounds) rated it really liked it

This book answers that all important question: If your house is on fire, what do you take? For each person in the book, the choices are all unique, as unique as the person. For some, I agreed wholeheartedly. Yes, of course, you take the passport, the wallet or purse, the animals and those items that mean something to you historically. At the back of the book, there is an unscientific survey that counts up what people take. I was surprise that books came in at number four, but
Jun 13, 2015 Stacy rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book much more than I did - the idea is fascinating. If your house were burning down - what would you take with you? This question is posed to many and the answers are detailed with lovely pictures of people's belongings. Here is my issue with the book - most of the people in the book seem to be artists or photographers. Almost everyone in the book would save their gorgeous camera. Most of the cameras are old Canons or Nikons - and most people saved Moleskine notebook. I wo ...more
Oct 07, 2012 Brittany rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
If your house was burning, what would you take with you? This is the question that Foster Huntington asked and The Burning House is the answer. Foster compiled photographs, that people submitted from around the world, into this wonderful book.

This book was amazing. It was so interesting to see different ages and cultures reflected in this work. You can almost guess the age of some people based on what they would take with them. Some of the pictures are surprising and many of the stories are inte
Aug 22, 2012 Heidi rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012
So really, what WOULD you take if you had to escape a burning house? This wonderful book contains lists of what people from around the world said would be top on their list; a photograph of the items accompanies each list. While many of the participants seemed to lean toward the artistic side (hence "cameras and accessories" was the top category of items listed), some of the more memorable were from the younger and older ends of life's spectrum. From a 10-year-old girl describing her hair brush: ...more
Jennifer Daniel
Mar 28, 2013 Jennifer Daniel rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
It was a great topic and I started off very intruiged but after the first 20 people I was bored. An overwhelming number of people chose to take a camera, and in many instances multiple camera. I don't get it. I can totally understand photos but the camera itself? That would be last on my mind. I would have liked a little more story behind some of the mementos as well. Just "necklace from grandma" seemed lacking.
Meg Davis
Jan 25, 2013 Meg Davis rated it really liked it
Shelves: fun
The book revolves around the question “what would you take with you if your house was on fire?” The author asked people of all walks of life and they in turn provided a list and a photograph.

I thought it was an interesting idea for a book. It was amusing to see so many different answers---everything from “the baby cactus I bought from Ikea because I managed keep it alive for four months” to simply “my ass.” Yes, the latter included a nice picture.
Nov 17, 2012 Jean rated it liked it
Interesting. I needed a change and just wanted to look at pictures and this book filled that need. Seems more people than not chose instead to list the things they wanted to take on a deserted island vs. a burning house. I'm thinking you don't have a lot of time when your house is burning - I'd take my animals and my sweetie! And it seemed to me that some people just wanted to flaunt their stuff.
May 23, 2013 Lori rated it liked it
I read this in retrospect, meaning after my house burned down and I lost everything: shoes, phones, cars, ID's. One should think about what is most important before it happens and be prepared, store your most valuables in a safe is possible. Valuables, like copies of your hard drive, ID's , photos and even jewelry.
Jeff Wyonch
Apr 28, 2014 Jeff Wyonch rated it really liked it
Shelves: photography
This started as a blog and eventually became a book. Contributors were asked a question: if your house was on fire, what would you grab on the way out? The answers range the gamut of human emotions, needs, and wants. A truly international book with contributors from almost every continent and walk of life, I loved it. Every answer was subjective, and some of the photos will choke you up.
Nov 07, 2012 Danielle rated it really liked it
I'm amazed at how many books people are putting in their suitcases. The Steig Larsson trilogy? Really?

This would be great for booktalks or conversation starters.

Also, midway through I had to stop reading and order a fireproof safe.
Jan 15, 2015 Ashley rated it liked it
It was a pretty neat book, though I was expecting a little more reading to it. It really made me think about what I would find important enough to risk my life for in a fire.
Oct 03, 2012 Marcie rated it it was amazing
The Burning House: What Would You Take by Foster Huntington is a fascinating book that takes a look into people's lives when they answer the question: If your house was on fire, what would you take? This question is answered by people of all ages, professions, and nationalities. Every list is different. Some lists are long, some are short, some come with an explanation as to why the items are chosen. Each list is accompanied by a photograph of the listed items. This is a neat book to read. I enj ...more
Attila Cthulhuson
Jan 14, 2013 Attila Cthulhuson rated it liked it
I liked this, but there does seem to be a bias towards people with money, artists, and hipsters. I eventually started skipping every person who listed "moleskine." On the Tumblr connected with the book one is encouraged to look at the items picked as a sort of interview or a snapshot of who you are as a person. Perhaps this is why some were so materialistic and therefore depressing. But some people seemed to take it literally, as I did. These were touching.

I took it literally when pondering what
Shannon White
As reviewed in Localiez magazine, by me...

The Burning House is a fantastic compilation of answers to a key question…. “If your house was burning down and you could save anything in it, what would you take with you?” The responses were gathered via and compiled into a gorgeous coffee table book that would make a fantastic gift for just about anyone. It’s versatile and thought provoking and prompted me to make my own burning house list. Who knows….maybe I’ll even send it in
Oct 05, 2012 Lynda rated it it was ok
Not a *bad* book, but I made the mistake of reading this book straight through. It probably would have been a much more successful read as a coffee table book, to be looked through at random.

As a beginning to end read, it was obviously repetitive, and seriously not very entertaining. Also, some of the people who'd written entries for this book (of what they would take from their house if it were on fire) somehow had the impression that they would have hours to grab their stuff, or that it was s
I absolutely love the premise of this book - self portraits taken as the collection of things you'd take with you if your home caught on fire. While the premise is awesome, the execution leaves something to be desired. Most of the subjects are themselves professional artists and photographers and, while I still enjoyed their own collections, I found the few photos taken by tradesmen, manual workers and other non-arty types infinitely more interesting. I'd love to see a follow-up collection which ...more
Aug 02, 2012 Erica rated it it was amazing
What a neat neat book! The whole idea of interviewing different people about what they would take with them if their house was on fire. I loved flipping through the pages and just glancing at what people would grab, and then later going back to read all about the objects people would take in a fire and their reasoning behind it. People live such different kinds of lives and I just loved reading about it.
Mar 06, 2015 Sharon rated it did not like it
Not a fan of this book, and I stopped "reading" halfway through. It was all just stuff and I was amazed at the crap some people said they would bring. The only one that really made sense was the woman who took a picture of her shoes and said the only thing she'd make sure she brought out of a burning house was herself.
Oct 26, 2012 Sarah rated it did not like it
Neat idea, but a way too twentysomething hipster heavy sample. Too many people dragging along obsolete cameras and worn-out canvas shoes.

What would I take? Some photo albums (which probably means I should scan and upload the photos off-site) and my daughter's favorite stuffed animal to comfort her.
Nov 09, 2012 Elisabeth rated it liked it
The question is, what would you take out of your burning house. People submitted pictures of their stuff to his website and me turned it into a book. It was heavily skewed towards the younger generation. However, it was interesting to see what people thought of as their most important possessions.
Aug 21, 2013 Chris rated it it was ok
I found myself rolling my eyes throughout this book. It just screams pretension. Most of the subjects in this book are apparently rich and hip and care for nothing but old cameras, Moleskines and cats. It got pretty boring pretty quickly. I'd like to see what the average Joe Sixpack would save. The two stars are for the pretty presentation of many of the pictures.
Feb 06, 2013 Rebecca rated it it was ok
I liked the sentiment and idea of the book, but found many of the contributions where just hipsters who want to save their Moleskine notebooks and various Apple products i.e Mac books, iPhones, iPads etc. For some reason this book irritated me but I was disappointed as I thought I would have really enjoyed it.
Sep 03, 2014 Justin rated it liked it
This is a pretty cool concept. I was intrigued to see what people from other countries would save. The majority of people who are featured are either photographers or artists so there is a ton of repetition. Interesting though.
Sara Habein
Sep 24, 2012 Sara Habein rated it liked it
Overall, this is interesting and thought-provoking, but perhaps a bit heavy on the Apple-fetishists and vintage camera wankery.

My full review appears on Persephone Magazine.
Aug 04, 2012 Ben rated it really liked it
I thought I would give this a breezy skim through and ended up reading every page. Many recurring items make the cut - hard drives, cameras, photo albums, laptops - but the weird and personal things unique to each individual kept me interested in what was next.
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