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Page-Turning Reflections: 9/11 Books that Resonate

Updated: Jan 12

Books have an extraordinary way of providing solace, understanding, and reflection during times of profound change.


The events of 9/11 left an unforgettable imprint on the collective consciousness of people worldwide. It is not uncommon for a person to be able to recall exactly where they were that tragic day, along with the raw emotions that they felt as the scenes unfolded live on the news. This momentous day reshaped the course of history and forged an indelible bond in the collective memory.

USA flag on a Memorial
Unforgettable 9/11 Books

Within the books below, we are reminded of the power of literature to both echo and transcend our lived experiences. These 9/11-inspired books serve as a bridge between the real and the imaginary, offering a lens through which we can explore not only the tragic events themselves but also the human spirit's resilience and capacity for healing.


Read below for a wide variety of books from fiction to thrillers to a non-fiction journalistic vantage point.


9/11 Books that Resonate


Woman walking near water with a reflection showing her daughter also

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain will go down as one of my all time favorite books (and one of the best discussion books for book club!).


My mother initially recommended this book to me at first I was reluctant to read it because I knew it had time travel in it, and sometimes I can't let go enough to allow that type of book to resonate with me. However, I've read a number of other books by the author, so I decided to give it a try and I was blown away.


The aspect of time travel was handled very well with the focus being on the delivery of the story. I found that I was able to suspend my disbelief during the book so as to immerse myself in the plotline and could really feel what the main character was going through.


Caroline is a pregnant woman in 1970 and she's just learned that her unborn baby has a heart defect. As you can imagine, back then, medical options weren't like they are today. Caroline connects with Hunter, her brother-in-law, and he has an unconventional answer for her, but she must trust in him if she wants to save her child.


Wonderfully captures many historical references including 9/11 and intertwines multiple relationships throughout the years.


Man holding woman in field of grass

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks is yet another Sparks novel that just tugs at the heart strings!


John was raised by a single father and he really tested the limits during his teen years. As he grew older, he finally realized he was wasting his life away drinking in the bars and decided to enlist in the army. John becomes a man of uniform, spending his days and nights in training for months at a time.


On one of his visits back home, he meets and falls in love with Savannah. She's very pure of heart, in town on an organized trip to build a house for a homeless family. She even talked John into going to church with her. And she wants to meet John's dad - although John is reluctant because his dad is a bit different and they aren't that close.


Savannah doesn't see it and she immediately clicks with his dad. She wants to try to help John repair their relationship. But she steps over the line when she provides unsolicited advice.


The relationship becomes even more tense after 9/11. They had been writing each other weekly when he went back on the front line, initially thinking he was almost done with his time to serve. But that ill-fated day had many soldiers re-enlisting ... including John.


Would their new relationship stand the test of time?


Loved this book with it's close friendships, positive family focus, and a HEA (Happily Ever After) ending.


Man and woman standing close with NYC skyline in background

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo is another book that spans across decades. Lucy and Gabe meet in their final year of college. They have different dreams and end up going off in different directions as they become established in their respective fields. Gabe heads to the Middle East and takes amazing images as a photojournalist and Lucy's career is in New York.


This book has first love, heartache, jealousy, friendship all wrapped in one. Be sure to have the tissues on hand as it is a tear jerker!


Pink book cover with NYC skyline outline

The Lies that Bind by Emily Giffin is a love story set in NYC that pulls on your heartstrings. Cecily's life isn't quite in the best place right now and she's lonely from a breakup. She misses her hometown in the Midwest and worries that she won't make it as a reporter in a city so big.


One night, Cecily is sitting at a bar near closing time, considering calling her ex. A stranger at the bar can see the thoughts circling her head as she looks at the phone and simply tells her not to do it. They started talking and Cecily and Grant connected immediately, but he was also going through some things himself.


Then the tragedy of 9/11 happened and Grant is among the many missing. Cecily even spots his face on a missing person poster.


The Lies That Bind shows how messy life can be with the decisions that we make. People have flaws, and those are often exacerbated when emotions run high.


Overhead view of red car driving on road through forest

Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea is different than the previous books listed in that it is a thrilling suspense novel with several unexpected twists at the end. Be aware that the first chapter starts with pretty descriptive crime scene details, and some of those details are discussed in further depth as the book continues, but the storyline takes precedence.


Avery has made a name for herself on the highly popular show "American Events" with her deep dives into her reporting and immersing herself in each story. She's hot on the trail of a 9/11 victim that was just identified as the 20 year anniversary of the tragic event approaches and she makes the trek across the country to get the scoop.


She's got a tainted past in NYC, though, and it's one that she hopes to keep secret. Her research on Victoria Ford, the 9/11 victim, shows that Victoria was about to go on trial for one of the biggest murders 20 years ago of a well known author.


Avery uses her popularity as the American Events host to chase leads and learn more about Victoria's life to do an expose on her. She works with the family and even the original investigator to see if she can clear Victoria's name.


Keeping her own past a secret isn't the easiest thing to do.


This book is great in explaining DNA details and understanding how crime scenes are looked at and what MEs (Medical Examiners) do. Multiple storylines running at the same time, including a look at the events of 9/11 from multiple perspectives, including inside the towers.


Family watching an airplane in the distance

The Day the World Came to Town 9/11 in Gander Newfoundland by Jim DeFede is the first non fiction work that I read (and listened to) that was told from a journalistic point of view. It was very much like watching a documentary unfolding as you read through each chapter.


Gander, Newfoundland (in true Canadian dialect, say it fast and rhyme it with "understand") is a small city of just over 12,000 people with an airport that had once been used as an international stop to fuel planes before going overseas. As planes capacity and distance increased, the airport was used less frequently - until 9/11.


On that day, 38 airplanes with almost 7,000 people were diverted to the airport as the US closed their air space. No one knew how long it would be closed for, nor did they know if terrorists were on the planes that were forced to land. With little information, tension of the passengers was high.


Initially, passengers stayed on the planes as the airport worked to prepare to process each plane in order of arrival. The town collectively all sprung into action, preparing shelters at schools and churches, supplying them with sheets and items from their own homes.


As passengers walked through the airport, they were welcomed with open arms. Buses would then move each group to their shelter where volunteers had meals waiting for the hungry passengers (some having been on the tarmac for several hours).


The author follows several passengers on their journey from when they realized their flight was being diverted to 6 and 7 days later when they'd finally be heading home. The biggest revelation that many of them had was how wholesome the people in Gander and the neighboring towns were to welcome them into their homes, and drop everything to try to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Many bonds were formed during this time among passengers and the townspeople.


Loved this heartwarming story of one of the worst days in history.


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From novels that reimagine the lives of those directly affected to nonfiction accounts that meticulously dissect the aftermath, our literary tour invites you to embrace stories that honor, question, and reimagine the narratives surrounding this pivotal moment in time. I hope you have an opportunity to enjoy these books!


_____


More Book Recommendations!





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댓글 7개


게스트
2023년 9월 04일

I can’t wait to read these! Thank you so much for these recommendations. I am only familiar with Dear John.

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게스트
2023년 9월 04일

These are interesting books, new ones that I just knew about them. Thank you for shoring!

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게스트
2023년 9월 04일

Thank you for such a great book list! I love that there are a variety of genres here. Definitely excited to check them out!

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게스트
2023년 9월 04일

Great book list, even surrounding such a tragic event. I will be adding these titles to my reading list.

좋아요

게스트
2023년 9월 02일

I really love Emily Giffin and enjoyed the Lies That Bind! That is the book that got me hooked on Emily Giffin.

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