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Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Discussion: Disastrous Fiction

Well April is here and the big popular culture item that will be dominating the news is that this month marks the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

On Sunday, April 22nd at 2pm, the Friends of the Berwyn Library are hosting a program with Leslie Goddard portraying Violet Jessup:

Few survivors of the sinking of the Britannic in 1916 had their toothbrushes. But Stewardess Violet Jessop had hers, remembering what she missed after surviving the sinking of the Titanic -- the Britannic's virtually identical sister ship -- just four years earlier, in April 1912. In this first-person portrayal set in 1916, Jessop tells unforgettable stories of the tragedies from the striking viewpoint of a crew member and gives a fascinating glimpse at life behind-the-scenes on the most glamorous luxury liners of their day.
This program is free and open to anyone.  Click here to register.  It should be very popular.  Goddard is known throughout the Chicagoland area as being an expert in historic character re-enactments.  This is approrpiate for the whole family.

To further embrace this anniversary, Christi and I are having fun building a "Disastrous Fiction" display to go up on April 11th (it sunk on 4/15/1912).

Christi is building a master list of books centered around disasters from all genres to fill the display (on a side note we had a lot of fun using NoveList to search different disastrous subject headings), while I am building a Titanic themed annotated list of fiction which features the disaster.

One new book that  centers around the Titanic disaster and is getting a lot of positive press is The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott.  While that book will obviously be on my list, I have a few oldies but goodies such as Clive Cussler's Raise the Titanic and Connie Willis' Passage.  However, my favorite find I unearthed during my research is Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men by Molly Harper, a paranormal romance which features a Titanic themed wedding; which when you are talking about a wedding with undead participants, is quite an appropriate theme.  And by favorite, I don't mean it was my favorite book, but it was my most fun discovery.

You will have to wait for the display to go up to see all the titles annotations though.  I will post them here. But, this led me to thinking, it is not too late to add your favorite disaster tales to our master list.

So for today's Monday Discussion, share your favorite book which features a disaster.  It can be any kind of disaster: natural, a sinking or crash, an epidemic, post-apocalyptic, supernatural.  It doesn't matter.  Pass them on.

For past Monday Discussions, click here.


John BPL RA said...

I'm tempted to start telling some of my real-life brushes with natural disasters but I'll refrain. If fun is a factor, Go-Go Girls Of The Apocalypse by Victor Gischler is one of the best I've seen. The main character survives the apocalypse by hiding in a cave. When he emerges he finds that only a small amount of the seedy elements of society have survived, including a club filled with an interesting group of go-go dancers. Hilarious.

Anonymous said...


A memorable disaster in a work
of fiction for me was the center-
piece of Thornton Wilder's novel
'The Bridge of San Luis Rey" in
which five travellers step onto
the finest bridge in Peru and it
breaks sending them all to their
deaths. The book questions was
this preordained or just a random
act of fate.

Kathy at BPL said...

Mine is an epidemic book. I read "Blindness" by Jose Saramago several years ago and still have vivid memories of particular scenes because they were so frightening. People just go blind for no apparent reason and when it is discovered that the disease is transmitted through simple touch, the government starts quarantining the affected. That is when the terror really begins. So dark and disturbing and SO good.

Christi said...

A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge

Awesome collaboration of illustrations and text that, I think, really embodies the art that is a graphic novel. I feel like this title also really told stories about real people with who I connected. Awesome.

Sarah Elsewhere said...

"Moonfall" by Jack McDevitt, a comet on a collision course with the moon published during the same period as "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon."