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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.

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)

14 Cows for America (DVD)

Further Reading and Viewing...

Adult Fiction

Falling Man, Don DeLillo

The Lies That Bind, Emily Giffin

One Tuesday Morning, Karen Kingsbury

The Good Life, Jay McInerney

A Fall of Marigolds, Susan Meissner

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

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

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

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

Firehouse, David Halberstam

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

Graphic Novels and Photography

Bikeman, Tom Flynn

Brotherhood, Tony Hendra

American Widow, Alissa Torres

Memoirs and Biographies

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

Unmeasured Strength, Lauren Manning

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

14 Cows for America, Carmen Agra Deedy

Somewhere Among, Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu

The Places We Sleep, Caroline Brooks DuBois

Ground Zero, Alan Gratz

The Ambassador of Nowhere, Texas, Kimberly Willis Holt

Ground Zero, Nancy Louis

Towers Falling, Jewell Parker Rhodes

Young Adult

Enduring Freedom, Jawad Arash & Trent Reedy

Ask Me No Questions, Marina Budhos

Just a Drop of Water, Kerry O’Malley Cerra

Love is the Higher Law, David Leviathan

All We Have Left, Wendy Mills

The Memory of Things, Gae Polisner


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