Wednesday, September 12, 2007

9/11 books

An article in USA Today states that out of over 1,000 books about 9/11, only about 30 of them are novels, of which "none has seized the public imagination."*

I wonder why that is? I don't think it's unique to 9/11 itself. Certain things are just so horrible that they require no imagination whatsoever. There are several classic nonfiction books about environmental problems: An Inconvenient Truth and Silent Spring, but how many environmental novels even get published, much less widely read?

Not the two I wrote, that's for sure. To get my tree-hugging butt published I had to cloak my green ideas in fantasy and romance and hope nobody noticed. (Shhh....don't tell anyone.)

So, read any good 9/11 books lately?

*I'd really like to read Don DeLillo's Falling Man, but only because I love Don DeLillo, not because I want to read about 9/11.

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In all honesty, I myself wouldn't read a book that delved too deeply into that day. But not because of lack of interest. I still remember spending the bulk of that day at work, frantically trying to make sure my mom was alright. She was, but the memories are still to painfully etched in my mind to be able to read either a work of fiction, or a work of truth about that day. Maybe, when I'm a little old lady, far removed from 9/11, I could take a much more academic view of such things, but that day, if it ever comes, is very much far off in the future.

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 9/12/2007 2:13 PM

I wonder if people avoid fictional accounts for just that reason, Kathy, because their own emotions are either too raw, or they want to leave it behind. I'm not interested in retraumatizing myself every year with the news broadcasts, watching replays of the towers falling. I've revisited those moments enough, and it's time to move on.

But that's just me. I don't judge anyone else who wants to relive it, if that's how they deal with it.

Also, I have a hard time now separating the experience of 9/11 with the way it's been used to propagandize a colossally stupid war and beat our civil liberties into an unrecognizable pulp.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 9/12/2007 2:18 PM

I totally agree. That day was used as a lightning rod. And a lightning rod for a purpose that was anything but good. The greatest tragedy of that day, in my opinion, wasn't the actual attack. It's the fact that it was used to ignite a war that has no end in sight, meanwhile the people who died that day seem to have been forgotten. Yet their names, and their loss was used by a corrupt system and corrupt politcians to satisfy their own agendas. That is truly the worse crime.

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 9/12/2007 7:27 PM

One Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's not about the events of 9/11 but rather the aftermath. I thought it was a wonderful story. It was clever, hip, warm, not cheesy. Parts of it were difficult, but it was such a good story. I really liked it and recommend it to anyone.

9/11 also plays a role in William Gibson's Pattern Recognition.

Posted by: Blogger Andrew at 9/13/2007 5:34 PM

Good call on Patter Rec, Drew -- I was trying to remember the book that plot occurred in, and there you go.

I also remember a comic story (Human Target, I think) about a guy who used the day to fake his own death.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 9/13/2007 7:56 PM

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