It would be hard to determine a total for the number of ways people come across books they want to read. “Word of mouth” is a great catch-all term, but it can mean a zillion specific ways. For example, my grandmother heard about the book on a radio program; a friend from high school included the book in a list gathered at the last reunion; a colleague at work who usually drives me crazy recommended this book and I was surprised because it sounded terrific. I made that last example up, but it could happen, so it illustrates my point about word of mouth. Other ways people learn about books are through advertisements, reviews in various media, bibliographies, library announcements, … and blogs (though I guess blogs could also be called word of mouth).
In looking for one or more books to highlight in this posting, honoring the tenth-year commemoration of 9/11, I found one book in particular that grabbed my attention. Here’s what the publisher, Columbia University Press, says about the genesis of the book Until the Fires Stopped Burning: 9/11 and New York City in the Words and Experiences of Survivors and Witnesses by Charles B. Strozier:
- Charles B. Strozier’s college lost sixty-eight alumni in the tragedy of 9/11, and the many courses he has taught on terrorism and related topics since have attracted dozens of survivors and family members. A practicing psychoanalyst in Manhattan, Strozier has also accepted many seared by the disaster into his care. In some ways, the grief he has encountered has felt familiar; in other ways, unprecedented. Compelled to investigate its unique character further, he launched a fascinating study into the conscious and unconscious meaning of the event, both for those who were physically close to the attack and for those who witnessed it beyond the immediate space of Ground Zero.
Being especially drawn to stories involving human behavior, this is the book I’ve picked for myself to read. There are many, many others, of course, that may suit you better depending on your own leanings. Here’s a helpful summary and link from the 9/9/2011 issue of e-newsletter Shelf Awareness:
- The Association of American University Presses has updated and revised its Books for Understanding bibliography of September 11 titles, which was originally published the week after the attacks. The revised version has added works that examine the effects of the attacks on witnesses and first responders as well as on international relations and civil liberties. The bibliography now lists almost 1,100 titles published by 78 university presses on terrorism, the World Trade Center, Afghanistan, foreign policy, political Islam and more. Titles include:
Until the Fires Stopped Burning: 9/11 and New York City in the Words and Experiences of Survivors and Witnesses by Charles Strozier (Columbia University Press, 2011)
Arab Detroit 9/11: Life in the Terror Decade edited by Nabeel Abraham, Sally Howell, and Andrew Shryock (Wayne State University Press, 2011)
9/11: The Culture of Commemoration by David Simpson (University of Chicago Press, 2006)
And, lastly, when you have some time, you may want to watch this video about the memorial site at Ground Zero.