Friday, August 11, 2006

9/11, Books, and Libraries: Five Years On

The fifth anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. is quickly approaching. I am sure the news will be full of the anniversary soon. Two big 9/11 movies were released this summer, and everyone who visits an airport or crosses a border remembers the event every day. Reminders are almost everywhere, including in the books we read.

The last four books that I read can be called post-9/11 books. Blacklist by Sara Paretsky uses the pervading fear of terrorists as an explanation for the behavior and actions of the police and federal agents in the mystery. The dangers of the Patriot Act to civil rights are discussed by the by V. I. Warshawski through out the book and libraries are mentioned (and visited) several times.

Dead Beat by Marilyn Johnson discusses how newspapers carried obituaries of the common people and celebrities who died on September 11, 2001. Many of the newspapers changed their obituary policies to cover the story.

Even Digging to America by Anne Tyler has 9/11 content, as the families who are adopting children from Asia reflect on the different airport scenes before and after 2001.

Cast of Shadows by Kevin Guilfoile has no historical references that I recall, and no years are mentioned, but terrorism is a political tool of the anti-cloning forces. The book feels very post-9/11.

What books have not been changed by 9/11? Cooking? Knitting?

I have placed orders for a number of books that would never have been written or would be very different if not for 9/11. All will be published in September or October.

Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How to Get It Back
Sullivan, Andrew. HarperCollins. ISBN-10: 0060188774.

Culture Warrior

O'Reilly, Bill. Broadway Bks (Random House). ISBN-10: 0767920929.

Dead Center: Behind the Scenes at the World's Largest Medical Examiner's Office
Ribowsky, Shiya & Shachtman, Tom. Regan Bks (HarperCollins). ISBN-10: 0061116246.

Enemies: How America' s Foes Steal Our Vital Secrets
Gertz, Bill. Crown (Random House). ISBN-10: 0307338053.

Faith and Politics: How the "Moral Values: A” Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together Danforth, John C. Viking (Penguin Group). ISBN-10: 0670037877.

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
Ricks, Thomas E. Penguin Pr (Penguin Group). ISBN-10: 159420103X.

Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War
Isikoff, Michael & Corn, David. Crown (Random House). ISBN-10: 0307346811.

Inside Bush's White House, the Second Term
Woodward, Bob. Simon & Schuster. ISBN-10: 0743272234.

Love You, Mean It: A True Story
Carrington, Patricia, et al., with Eve Charles. Hyperion. ISBN-10: 1401302297.

Never Again: Securing America and Restoring Justice
Ashcroft, John. Warner Bks. ISBN-10: 1599956802.

Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families National Endowment for the Arts. Ed by Andrew Carroll. Random House. ISBN-10: 1400065623.

Peace Mom: A Mother's Journey Through Heartache to Activism
Sheehan, Cindy. Atria Bks (Pocket Bks). ISBN-10: 0743297911.

Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York
Gopnik, Adam. Knopf (Random House). ISBN-10: 1400041813.

Wake-up Call: The Political Education of a 9/11 Widow
Breitweiser, Kristen. Warner Bks. ISBN-10: 0446579327.

These new books are going to crowd our shelves.

As I weed books it occurs to me that our collection is a mix of pre-9/11 and post-9/11 books. With the natural tendency to weed older books that are worn, out-of-date, and forgotten, the collection becomes more post-9/11 every day. To some extent, this can not be helped, but I think we need to be mindful to preserve a memory of what life was like before 2001. Some pre-9/11 books need to be kept and read. This will be easiest in the fiction collection where we have books transporting us to many times and places already, but I think it is also important to keep good books in the areas of psychology, sociology, politics, law, and history. These books may act like a seed bank. We may need some of our older ideas again.

There is more than 9/11 to remember.

1 comment:

maggie moran said...

Ew, I just figured out how to add blogs to my blogline account. That didn't take too long! I added you first and somehow missed this post. It will be great to have these titles for a 9/11 display.

I finished Everyman by Philip Roth yesterday. He is obsessed w/ death and his character, same age as himself, reflects just a tad on 9/11.

His character actually spends more time on learning the construction of hand shoveled graves than anything else.

Can you say Swan Song?