If it was truly the end of the world I would not bring a book, that would be pointless as I shall have no need of it, either being in Heaven and experience the Beatific Vision which is better than anything word can give, or I shall be in Hell, and I don’t think I would really care about books in Hell…
However, the end of the world, the end of technology, the end of how this culture perceives life, an Apocalypse, would call for a very special book indeed. It would have to be foundational to what is good about our culture, it would have to exemplify what it means to be human, and contain the foundation of Christianity. Well, I think the only thing that really does that perfectly is the complete works of St. Thomas Aquinas.
St. Thomas wrote a massive amount, both of philosophical, theological and poetical. He wrote this hymn;
Pange, lingua, gloriosi
quem in mundi pretium
fructus ventris generosi
Rex effudit Gentium.
Sing, tongue, the mystery
of the glorious Body
and of the precious Blood,
which, for the price of the world,
the fruit of a noble womb,
the King of the nations, flowed forth.
Such beauty truly belongs to man as human and as children of God! St. Thomas is called the Angelic Doctor for a reason and his lucid prose is a joy to read. (Though due to modern understandings of words it can be a bit hard to get used to.) Plus, I am sure that throughout his entire library of work the great saint quote the entire bible, new and old testament, so that is an added happiness! Hmm… lovely.
Although it would not be the easiest thing to read as a the world as we know it is crumbling apart, I think it would be the thing that I most want to preserve.