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The Burning House: What Would You Take? Paperback – July 10, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Fascinating . . . provocative.” (New York Times)

“Simple and lovely.” (New York magazine)

“Answering this question reveals a great deal about your personality, priorities and interests.” (The Guardian)

“This book is what user-generated content can be at its very best: personal, passionate, surprising, and, above all, something that will spark conversation after conversation among friends and strangers alike. Brilliantly curated and endlessly addictive, The Burning House opens your heart and sticks to your soul.” (Larry Smith, editor of Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure)

“A poignant and revealing series of self portraits told in loving visual haiku.” (Frank Warren, creator of POST SECRET)

“The Burning House is brilliant in its ability to remind us that what we value most are not usually possessions but what they stand for. These deceptively simple photographs are powerful biographical portraits.” (Brian Lam, former Gizmodo editorial director)

From the Back Cover

Your house is burning. You have to get out fast. Suddenly you are forced to prioritize, editing down a lifetime of possessions to a mere handful. Now you must decide: Of all the things you own, what is most important to you?

The practical? Your laptop, your smartphone, what you need to keep working and stayin touch?

The valuable? Your money, your jewelry, the limited edition signed poster in the living room?

The sentimental? The watch your late grandfather gave you, the diary you kept as a teenager?

What you choose to bring with you speaks volumes about who you are and what you believe in—your interests, your background, your view of life.

With contributions from all over the world, The Burning House is an eye-opening pictorial meditation on materialism; an in-depth, intensely personal interview contained in a single question; a revealing window into the human heart.

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 75%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; Original edition (July 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062123483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062123480
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #675,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Foster Huntington grew up in Portland Oregon, went to a small liberal arts College in Maine, and is now a photographer based on the West Coast.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sibelius on January 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
Interesting concept but layout design and quality of image prints have room for improvement. Also the scope of people featured should've been broadened beyond the realm of artsy-hipsters for more varied content.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jason on December 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm not sure what I was expecting when I ordered this book, but I left feeling somewhat disappointed. I felt like something was missing from the premise of the book. I was hoping for something deeper, I suppose.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Heidi G on August 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
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: "I literally bring that brush with me everywhere. It's sort of like a good-luck charm" to wisdom from a 70-year-old: "letters and ojects from a person very dear to me," the lists are interesting and will probably make every reader pause to wonder what those items are that should be in a suitcase near the door. Two other favorites: "Bottle of gin to reassure me during the fire. The same goes for a box of cigarettes and matches." and "A book of a hundred handwritten things my wife likes about me." A great conversation starter and yes, I'm revisiting my own list.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Houser on August 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
I agree with the reviewer who said this is user generated content at its finest. Brief, thought-provoking personal profiles, in photo form accompanied by a list, from people around the globe answering the question, "Which 10 items would you take if your house was burning?" Their lists say so much more than their biographical info. Brilliantly conceived and presented.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erica on January 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nechi194 on March 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this would be a review of the author actually telling peoples stories about what they would save from the burning house. Rather, it is a collection of lists from people. Not as much elaboration as I expected. I was rather uninspired.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very interesting and thought provoking. I found it interesting to see what people would or would not save from a burning house.Predictably several people chose practical items (passports,birth certificates) and some sentimental items (old letters written by family or loved ones) Each participant in this experiment was to accumulate a little pile of those particular possessions that they would save from a burning house and photograph the pil,usually on the floor..I particularly loved the photograph of one mans bare floor as he explained he would not save anything. My only quibble with this experiment would be that I would have liked to have changed the initial question. Instead of having the subjects answer "what would you save from a burning house?" ,maybe I would rephrase that as "What inanimate objects would you save from a burning house,presuming that all people and pets were already safely out?" Too many entries did or did not include pets and family members,which then could make the reader wonder. Another point is that because we are in a digital age, many people chose various electronic devices that they would save from a burning house. This makes sense when you consider these are repositories for our information these days ,like paper was for the previous generations. Some entries were particularly poignant, from people who had already had to flee a burning house, and their remarks about what they did or did not save. I highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By marklovsU! on August 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i guess i expected more. it was not as fun as it seemed. to be honest i felt as if some of the stories were fake and really if i had viewed this in a store i would not have bought it. just not for me really.
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