With the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster on April 15th, 2012, there has been renewed interest in the ship and its untimely end. Inspiring countless movies and books, the Titanic sinking is the worst maritime disaster in history, with 1,514 passengers and crew members losing their lives.
If you are interested in reading more about the disaster, we’ve compiled a list of just a few of the fiction and non-fiction titles available at the library. Some of the books, such as Titanic: An Illustrated History, reveal details about every aspect of the ship, while others, like Voyagers of the Titanic, focus on stories of the passengers themselves. Many fictional accounts have also been written about the disaster, such as The Dressmaker, a recently-released historical novel about a seamstress who survives the voyage only to be caught up in rumors and scandal when back on land. Click here for the full list of Titanic selections.
Erik Larson is the master of the researched narrative. He can take on the most intricate historical event and craft a compelling book out of it, often following the grisly path of a serial killer or some cataclysmic natural disaster. In his latest book, "In the Garden of Beasts", he has turned his attention to the beginnings of World War II and the rise of the Nazis in Germany.
Larson uses memoirs, personal correspondence, official records, newspaper articles and journal entries to piece together the story of William Edward Dodd, U.S. ambassador to Germany from 1933 to 1937, and his daughter, Martha. Although closely related, the two have dissimilar views about the changes happening in Germany but realize that Adolf Hitler's leadership will rip apart the world.
Larson's greatest ability is to take readers back to these turbulent times possessing the clear knowledge of what is to come. He makes it possible to see where diplomacy could have changed the future and how America failed to see what was coming. Through the eyes of the Doddses, he allows readers to understand how these mistakes were so easily made.
-- Review by Gena Fisher, Belt Branch reference assistant
What makes us classify a book as historical fiction? Well, it needs to be set in the past, at least fifty years past the event, and actual historical research is the key element in the writing. Authors employee two different styles - one that uses a real person set within an invented story while the other invents the character and sets him or her in a historical context. Many readers, drawn to a particular era, find a historical novel appealing not only for the setting but because a really good historical author will have done the homework and gotten the details just right.
Nearly 20,000 preschoolers voted for the 2011 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award, and "Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes" by Eric Litwin was the runaway winner with 8,297 votes. Rolling Hills children's services assistant Patti Swartz says the book will become an instant favorite with preschool age children.
"Poor Pete is just an old blue cat who walks down the street in his new white shoes, singing a song and stepping in all kinds of colorful messes," Swartz says. "Children love to sing along, while answering the question 'Does Pete cry?' with a resounding 'Goodness no!' after he steps in strawberries, blueberries, mud and water. This is such a fun book that helps to teach colors and still delivers a moral along the way. Pete shows us that no matter what happens in life, 'It's all good', so just keep on walking and singing a song."