Literature about 9/11: Recommendations

In 2005, I read nearly 30 fiction and nonfiction books about 9/11 (Link) for a long essay/feature for the German literature e-zine „lit05.de“ (Link).

Since then, I continued to read literature about the 2001 attacks: Some great books, a lot of mediocre stuff – and lots of obscure or over-hyped titles.

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Coming up: The best – and worst – 9/11 related fiction and nonfiction:

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Five novels that I can recommend:

– FRÉDÉRIC BEIGBEDER: ‚Windows on the World‘, 2003 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER: ‚Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close‘, 2005 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– JOYCE MAYNARD: ‚The Usual Rules‘, 2004 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– JOSEPH O’NEILL: ‚Netherland‘, 2008 (rather loose connection to 9/11, Link)

– BRIAN K. VAUGHN: ‚Ex Machina‘, 2004 to 2010 (Graphic Novels, Link)

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Windows on the World Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close The Usual Rules: A Novel Netherland Ex Machina (Volume 1): The First Hundred Days

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Five personal essays that I can recommend:

– ELSE BUSCHHEUER: http://www.else-buschheuer.de: Das New York Tagebuch, 2002 (Link, German)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– ISABEL ALLENDE: ‚My invented Country‘, 2003 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– NOAM CHOMSKY: ‚9-11‘ / ‚The Attack‘, 2001 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– DAVID WYATT: ‚And the War came‘, 2004 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– MITCHELL FINK: ‚Never Forget: An Oral History of September 11‘ (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

WWW.Else-Buschheuer.de: Das New York Tagebuch (Kiwi) My Invented Country The Attack: Hintergrunde und Folgen And the War Came: An Accidental Memoir Never Forget: An Oral History of September 11
.

Personal Essays and Nonfiction that I can’t recommend:

.

– RAFIK SCHAMI: ‚Mit fremden Augen: Tagebuch‘, 2002 (German, Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– KATHRIN RÖGGLA: ‚really ground zero‘, 2001 (German, Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link. It’s fun if you like young German literature…)

– LILY BRETT: ‚Between Mexico and Poland‘, 2002 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– ORIANA FALLACI: ‚The Rage and the Pride‘, 2001 (Link)

(horrible Italian right-wing author, I reviewed it here, Link)

.

Survivor Tales (most of them not *that* good…):

.

– RICHARD PICCHIOTTO: ‚Last Man Down: A Firefighter’s Story of Survival and Escape from the World Trade Center‘, 2002 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– JOANN B. NAMORATO: ‚The Long Road Home: Memories after September 11th‘ , 2002 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– ABD SAMAD MOUSSAOUI: ‚Zacarias Moussaoui: Mein Bruder‘, 2002 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– ANNIE THOMS: ‚With their Eyes: September 11th – The View from a High School at Ground Zero‘, 2002 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– ALISSA TORRES: ‚American Widow‘, 2008 (Graphic Novel; pretty bad, Link)

.

Collections and Journalism (hit-and-miss):

.

– RICHARD BERNSTEIN: ‚Out of the Blue: A Narrative of September 11th, 2001‘, 2002 (Link)

(quite good – I reviewed it here, Link)

– ULRICH BAER: ‚110 Stories: New York writes after September 11th, 2001‘, 2002 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– PAUL AUSTER u.a.: ‚Dienstag, 11. September 2001‘, 2001 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– JACK CANFIELD: ‚Chicken Soup for the Sould of America‘, 2002 (Link)

(pretty bad: I reviewed it here, Link)

– NEIL GAIMAN u.a.: ‚9-11: Artists Respond‘, 2002 (Comic Anthology, pretty bad, Link)

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Don’t bother: 6 bad 9/11-related novels:

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– NICHOLSON BAKER: ‚Checkpoint‘, 2005 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– DON DeLILLO: ‚Falling Man‘, 2007 (Link)

– JAY McINERNEY: ‚The Good Life‘, 2006 (Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– JOHN UPDIKE: ‚Terrorist‘, 2006 (Link)

– ROLAND SPRANGER: ‚ThRAX‘, 2002 (German, Link)

(I reviewed it here, Link)

– FRANZISKA PEDERSEN: ‚Der 11. September oder: Die Geschichte von Lukas und Saira‘, 2002 (German, Link)

(horrible book; I reviewed it here, Link)

.

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private drama: novels about people who were not involved in the attacks

(in some reviews, these books appear to be books about 9/11... they’re not. Incidentally, none of these books is particularly good / recommended, either:)

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– IAN McEWAN: ‚Saturday‘, 2005 (Link)

– JOANNA SMITH RAKOFF: ‚A fortunate Age‘, 2009 (Link)

– PETER CAMERON: ‚Someday this Pain will be useful to you‘, 2007 (Link)

– KEITH GESSEN: ‚All the sad young literary Men‘, 2008 (Link)

– IAIN BANKS: ‚Dead Air‘, 2002 (Link)

– FRANZISKA GERSTENBERG: ‚Wie viel Vögel‘, 2003 (German short story collection, Link: Story ‚Glückskekse‘)

– NICK McDONELL: ‚The Third Brother‘, 2006 (Link)

(I wrote about it here, Link)

– WILLIAM GIBSON: ‚Pattern Recognition‘, 2002 (Link)

(I wrote about it here, Link)

– AUDREY NIFFENEGGER: ‚The Time Traveller’s Wife‘, 2003 (Link)

(I wrote about it here, Link)

– CLAIRE MESSUD: ‚The Emperor’s Children‘, 2006 (Link)

(I wrote about it here, Link)

– HEIDI JULAVITS: ‚The Effects of Living Backwards‘, 2003 (Link)

(I wrote about it here, Link)

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A Culture of Fear: (good!) novels from the 2000s that deal with terrorism and the climate of a post 9/11 world:

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– CHRISTIAN KRACHT: ‚1979‘, 2001 (German, written before 2001, Link)

– MEG ROSOFF: ‚How I live now‘, 2004 (Link)

– FIONA MAAZEL: ‚Last Last Chance‘, 2008 (excellent; Link)

– GREG RUCKA: ‚Queen & Country‘ Vol. 1, 2001 (an espionage Graphic Novel set in Afghanistan, written in early 2001. Excellent research/tone… and very prophetic. Link)

– GREG RUCKA: ‚Queen & Country: A Gentleman’s Game‘, 2004 (a novel that’s part of the same espionage series and deals with terrorist bombings at the London underground, written in 2004. Very, VERY prophetic. Link)

– JEPH LOEB: ‚Superman: Our Worlds at War‘, 2001 (a mediocre 2001 graphic novel, written before the attacks… but dealing with ALL the major political issues. Eerily propheric. Link)

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1979 How I Live Now Last Last Chance: A Novel Queen & Country: The Definitive Edition, Volume 1 A Gentleman's Game: A Queen & Country Novel Superman: Our Worlds at War

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and: 4 books about 9/11 that I WANT to read:

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– ART SPIEGELMAN: ‚In the Shadow of no Towers‘, 2004 (Graphic Novel, Link)

– DAMON DiMARCO: ‚Tower Stories‘, 2004 (Oral History, Link)

– NICHOLAS RINALDI: ‚Between two Rivers‘, 2004 (Link)

– ANJA REICH / ALEXANDER OSANG: ‚Wo warst du? Ein Septembertag in New York‘, 2011 (Link)

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In the Shadow of No Towers Tower Stories: The Autobiography of September 11th Between Two Rivers: A Novel Wo warst du? Ein Septembertag in New York
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Related Links:

  • ‚Underdog Literature‘: 23 book recommendations for August 2011 (Link)
  • ‚No need to read?‘: 40 disappointing literary classics (Link)
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