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  • Writer's pictureNora Curry

Remembering September 11th

This month, the Camden Public Library will be hosting the 9/11 Memorial & Museum's 20th anniversary poster exhibit "September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World" in the Walsh History Center. The 14 posters on display seek to convey the narrative of 9/11 through the experiences of those who were present and affected. As this anniversary lands during a particularly volatile political time, the curators of the exhibit intend to share the idea that, "As we witness history unfolding in our own time, the ways we choose to respond—both large and small—can demonstrate the best of human nature after even the worst of days."

We can't control memory. It's a force that often comes unbidden, stirred by the senses, by something unexpected, sometimes by more blatant reminders, be they news stories or anniversaries. It's inevitable when they rise to the surface, because the thing about memories is that they never really leave us; they just sometimes quietly retreat. When they do rise, though, we can choose how to act upon them. It may feel right to give in to joy or to grief, to hold things in private. Or it may feel right to take an activist stance, to educate others or ourselves. When remembering 9/11, perhaps the instinct is to honor. There are stories we can try to forget, but there are stories we might do well to remember.

September 11th, in any year and at any moment, is difficult to remember and to discuss. Some of us may make the choice not to view or read related material, and that is a choice that we at the library greatly respect. That said, for those of you who do wish to learn more and actively remember on this 20th anniversary, we offer the exhibit during the history center's open hours, as well as the following reading list, paired with a library display on our first floor, that shares novels, memoirs, graphic novels, young adult books, children's books, films, photographic retrospectives, oral histories, and other nonfiction materials. By doing so, we align with the exhibit's intent to reflect the Memorial & Museum's "core pillars of commemoration, education, and inspiration."

We've recently brought a few books and films related to 9/11 into our collection, including recent publications and a few widely acclaimed older titles. Explore these featured selections below and then delve into the longer list if you are curious to find a wider variety.


When I Ran Away, Ilona Bannister (novel)

How do you write a novel about 9/11? Many well known works of fiction addressing the events of 9/11 or living in a post-9/11 world have been written by those (sometimes bestselling authors) who did not directly experience it. Ilona Bannister's recent debut novel, When I Ran Away, stems from her personal experience of working in downtown Manhattan and watching the events unfold. In an interview with Zibby Owens, the author shared, "I love New York. I miss living in New York. I wanted to pay homage to that and respect to that. I also noticed that as time goes by, we're approaching the twentieth anniversary, we still acknowledge the day, but we hear about it less and less, which is just a normal part of history. I felt like it was a part of me. It's a part of anyone from New York. I felt like I couldn't really write Gigi unless we knew how she felt about it and where she was." While it's a novel about other things, like motherhood and postpartum depression, When I Ran Away interweaves the narrative of September 11th in a way that demonstrates how something of that nature becomes part of who we are when we experience it.

September 11: the 9/11 story, aftermath and legacy, Associated Press

Saved at the Seawall: stories from the September 11 boat lift, Jessica DuLong

The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland, Jim DeFede

Tower Stories: an oral history of 9/11, ed. Damon DiMarco

The 9/11 Report: a graphic adaptation, Sid Jacobson & Ernie Colón (graphic novel)

In the Shadow of No Towers, Art Spiegelman (graphic novel)

Branches of Hope: the 9/11 survivor tree, Ann Magee (children's book)

The Looming Tower (DVD)

Remembering 9/11: 10 year commemorative collection (DVD)

14 Cows for America (DVD)

Further Reading and Viewing...

Adult Fiction

110 Stories: New York writes after September 11, ed. Ulrich Baer

Falling Man, Don DeLillo

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer

The Lies That Bind, Emily Giffin

The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid

One Tuesday Morning, Karen Kingsbury

The Good Life, Jay McInerney

A Fall of Marigolds, Susan Meissner

The Emperor’s Children, Claire Messud

My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Otessa Moshfegh

Home Boy: H.M. Naqvi

Netherland, Joseph O’Neill

Between Two Rivers, Nicholas Rinaldi

Absent Friends, S.J. Rozan

The Writing on the Wall, Lynne Sharon Schwartz

The Submission, Amy Waldman

The Zero, Jess Walters

Adult Non-fiction

The 9/11 Commission Report: final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

Portraits, 9/11/01: the collected “Portraits of Grief” from the New York Times

After the Fall: New Yorkers remember September 11, 2001 and the years that followed, ed. Mary Marshall Clark, Peter Bearman, Catherine Ellis, & Stephen Drury Smith

The Legacy Letters: messages of life and hope from 9/11 family members, ed. Brian Curtis

Women at Ground Zero: stories of courage and compassion, ed. Susan Hagen & Mary Carouba

Poetry After 9/11: an anthology of New York poets, ed. Dennis Loy Johnson & Valerie Merians

Dog Heroes of September 11th: a tribute to America’s search and rescue dogs, Nona Kilgore Bauer

Out of the Blue: the story of September 11, 2001 from Jihad to Ground Zero, Richard Bernstein

The Last Men Out: life on the edge at Rescue 2 firehouse, Tom Downey

102 Minutes: the untold story of the fight to survive inside the Twin Towers, Jim Dwyer

The Ground Truth: the untold story of America under attack on 9/11, John Farmer

What is Life Worth?: the unprecedented effort to compensate the victims of 9/11, Kenneth R. Feinberg

Longitudes and Attitudes: exploring the world after September 11, Thomas L. Friedman

Covering Catastrophe: broadcast journalists report September 11, ed. Alison Gilbert, Phil Hirschkorn, Melinda Murphy, Robyn Walensky, & Mitchell Stephens

The Only Plane in the Sky: an oral history of 9/11, Garrett M. Graff

No Day Shall Erase You: the story of 9/11 as told at the National September 11 Memorial Museum, ed. Alice M. Greenwald

Firehouse, David Halberstam

Dust: the inside story of its role in the September 11th aftermath, Paul J. Lioy

Among the Heroes: United Flight 93 and the passengers and crew who fought back, Jere Longman

September 11: an oral history, ed. Dean E. Murphy

The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: the Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the rebirth of New York, Tom Roston

Heart of a Soldier: a story of love, heroism, and September 11th, James B. Stewart

The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11, Lawrence Wright

Fall and rise: the story of 9/11, Michael Zuckoff

Graphic Novels and Photography

Bikeman, Tom Flynn

Brotherhood, Tony Hendra

The American Spirit: meeting the challenge of September 11, ed. Robert Sullivan

One Nation: America remembers September 11, 2001, ed. Robert Sullivan

Above Hallowed Ground: a photographic record of September 11, 2001, ed. Christopher Sweet

American Widow, Alissa Torres

Memoirs and Biographies

Let’s Roll!: ordinary people, extraordinary courage, Lisa Beamer

Reluctant Hero: a 9/11 survivor speaks out about that unthinkable day, what he's learned, how he's struggled, and what no one should ever forget, Michael Benfante & Dave Hollander

Wake-up Call: the political education of a 9/11 widow, Kristen Breitweiser

Love You, Mean It: a true story of love, loss, and friendship after the Twin Towers fell, Patricia Carrington, Julia Collins, Claudia Gerbasi, & Ann Haynes

A Widow’s Walk, Marian Fontana

Thunder Dog: the true story of a blind man, his guide dog & the triumph of trust at Ground Zero, Michael Hingson & Susy Flory

Closure: the untold story of the Ground Zero recovery mission, William Keegan, Jr.

Unmeasured Strength, Lauren Manning

Last Man Down: a firefighter’s story of survival and escape from the World Trade Center, Richard Picciotto

The Red Bandanna, Tom Rinaldi

Where You Left Me: a memoir, Jennifer Gardner Trulson

Children's Books

Nine, Ten: a September 11 story, Nora Raleigh Baskin

The 9/11 Terror Attacks, Valerie Bodden

The Little Chapel That Stood, A.B. Curtiss

30,000 Stitches: the inspiring story of the national 9/11 flag, Amanda Davis

14 Cows for America, Carmen Agra Deedy

Somewhere Among, Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu

The Places We Sleep, Caroline Brooks DuBois

Understanding September 11th: answering questions about the attacks on America, Mitch Frank

The Attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, Carolyn Gard

Saved By the Boats: the heroic sea evacuation of September 11, Julie Gassman

Ground Zero, Alan Gratz

The Ambassador of Nowhere, Texas, Kimberly Willis Holt

Fireboat: the heroic adventures of the John J. Harvey, Maira Kalman

Ground Zero, Nancy Louis

On that Day: a book of hope for children, Andrea Patel

Towers Falling, Jewell Parker Rhodes

September 11, 2001: the day that changed America, Jill C. Wheeler

Young Adult

Enduring Freedom, Jawad Arash & Trent Reedy

Ask Me No Questions, Marina Budhos

Hope and Other Punch Lines, Julie Buxbaum

Just a Drop of Water, Kerry O’Malley Cerra

Love is the Higher Law, David Leviathan

A Very Large Expanse of Sea, Tahereh Mafi

All We Have Left, Wendy Mills

The Memory of Things, Gae Polisner

With Their Eyes: September 11th: the view from a high school at Ground Zero, ed. Annie Thoms


14 Cows for America

102 Minutes That Changed America

9/11: press for truth

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Fahrenheit 9/11

In Memoriam: New York City 9/11/01

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Shock and Awe

United 93

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