Patriot Day, a holiday observed in the United States on September 11 to commemorate the lives of those who died in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Virginia and those who perished when the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania. The holiday also recognizes those who died attempting to rescue people trapped by the attacks.
Though it’s been nearly two decades, the reminders of that day are constant, and the pain is still fresh for many.
Below are some books, DVDs and an audiobook, that include nonfiction accounts of that horrifying day, and fiction influenced by it, all available through your library.
Doxology: a novel by Nell Zink
An ambitious family history set primarily in New York City and Washington, DC, that spans the early 1990s to just after the 2016 election. New York City punk rockers Pam and Joe form a terrible, fleeting band with aspiring music producer Daniel, a Midwest transplant. Pam and Daniel are quickly sidetracked by the unexpected arrival of their daughter, Flora, whom Joe babysits while rising to inexplicable major indie music success as a solo artist. The events of 9/11 serve as an unofficial break in the story, with the second half focusing primarily on Flora’s coming-of-age and expanding the scope of the story to include the political landscape as Flora becomes a Green Party activist working on Jill Stein’s campaign.
Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff
Masterfully weaving together multiple strands of the events in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, this is a mesmerizing, minute-by-minute account of that terrible day.
In the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman
Masterful and moving, this graphic novel recounts Spiegelman’s experience of the events and aftermath of 9/11. It not only captures the horrors of the day, but the paranoia, anger, fear, and concern that emerged as the US began to look outward for answers. It is a poignant reflection on political response to personal pain, and the distortion that can happen between those two extremes.
The Lies that Bind: a novel by Emily Giffin
Cecily Gardner is out late one night in May of 2001, trying to recover from heartbreak. She wanders into a dive bar in Manhattan, and nearly calls her ex-boyfriend, until she’s interrupted by a handsome stranger. Cecily is immediately taken with Grant, and the two chastely spend the night together. Over the course of the next few months, Cecily gets to know Grant, who is focused on caring for his brother, Byron, who is afflicted with ALS. Cecily and Grant’s feelings for each other deepen, and then the unthinkable happens on 9/11, and Cecily can’t reach Grant, who works in one of the World Trade Center towers. Cecily is left reeling, and then two more things further shake her world: her ex comes back into her life, and she discovers a missing-person poster with Grant’s picture on it. As she learns who is searching for him, Cecily discovers how little she knows about Grant.
The Looming Tower Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9 11 by Lawrence Wright
A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. The book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews.
New Jersey 9 11 Memorials: A Photographic Guide by Brian M. Holmes
Brings September 11 memorials and monuments from New Jersey communities large and small, together in one beautiful and informative photo book.
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of September 11, 2001 by Garrett M. Graff
The first comprehensive oral history of September 11, 2001—a panoramic narrative woven from the voices of Americans on the front lines of an unprecedented national trauma.award-winning journalist and bestselling historian Garrett Graff tells the story of the day as it was lived—in the words of those who lived it. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, recently declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, Graff paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet.
People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper
Hooper’s debut novel poses the evocative question, have you ever thought about what it would be like to start your life over? Emily Morris answers that question in the most extreme way possible. On 9/11, while the U.S. is experiencing its first wave of mass terror as the World Trade Towers collapse, Emily, who would have died if she had gone to work that day, makes the rash decision to let her family assume that she was killed so that she can disappear from her life for good. However, as she learns, such a selfish, desperate act rarely leaves the actor truly free, especially when there is a child involved.
A group of five people find themselves trapped in an elevator in the World Trade Center’s North Tower on September eleventh. They work together, never giving up hope, to try to escape before the unthinkable happens.
9/12: The Epic Battle of the Ground Zero Responders by William H. Groner
9/12 is the saga of the epic, nine-year legal battle waged against the City of New York and its contractors on behalf of more than ten thousand first responders who became ill as a result of working on the Ground Zero cleanup.
Published to coincide with the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, this book is the definitive, official companion volume to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. It provides visitors with a lasting record of their experience at the museum, and tells the story of September 11 through essays on and photographs of the installations and thoughtfully curated artifacts that serve as touchstones to the day and its aftermath.
The untold true story of an intrepid team of four reporters of Knight Rider who dared to ask the questions their colleagues did not in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
The Submission by Amy Waldman
A jury gathers in Manhattan to select a memorial for the victims of a devastating terrorist attack. Their fraught deliberations complete, the jurors open the envelope containing the anonymous winner’s name–and discover he is an American Muslim. Instantly they are cast into roiling debate about the claims of grief, the ambiguities of art, and the meaning of Islam. Their conflicted response is only a preamble to the country’s.
The memorial’s designer is an enigmatic, ambitious architect named Mohammad Khan. His fiercest defender on the jury is its sole widow, the self-possessed and mediagenic Claire Burwell. But when the news of his selection leaks to the press, she finds herself under pressure from outraged family members and in collision with hungry journalists, wary activists, opportunistic politicians, fellow jurors, and Khan himself–as unknowable as he is gifted. In the fight for both advantage and their ideals, all will bring the emotional weight of their own histories to bear on the urgent question of how to remember, and understand, a national tragedy.
-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian