For those not familiar with either the novel or the film (ther original, to hell with remakes) The Time Machine is set in late 19th or early 20th century London. A well-to-do gentleman invents a time machine and travels to A.D. 802,701 where he finds, to shorten the story, a race of humans called Eloi, numbering about 100, who have none of the trappings of civilization as we know it, civilization having been destroyed by nuclear war (in the movie). One building, no art, no books, no empathy (they do nothing as one of their own drowns). The earth is a paradise, there is no shortage of anything, the Eloi get all they need from the land and appear to eat mostly fruit; they are never violent or jealous towards one another. They are more suited to a roll as cattle, and in fact are used as such by a race of subterranean humans called the Morlocks. The time traveler destroys the Morlocks and returns to his own time, recounts the story to some of his friends at a dinner party, only one of whom actually believes him, and then gets back in his time machine to go back to the Eloi.
The friend asks the maid if he took anything, and she replies three books, but cannot remember which. He asks her, which three books would you take to re-start civilization.
So my question to you, which three books would you take to re-start civilization?
I would select Symposium by Plato, one of the Socratic Dialogues that deals with genealogy, the nature and purpose of love, and the way we know things.
I would take Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, emphasizing the beauty that is the individual and the sharing of the individual.
Lastly, I would take The Shepheardes Calender by Edmund Spenser, a poetic work on the pastoral, the appreciation of beauty, and the aspiration of community.
I would avoid anything with a mention of organized religion, the concept of god, government, money, or violence. Imagine a chance to do away with all that corrupts.