Thursday, September 11, 2014

How September 11th affected books


I was in the middle of another review when I realized what day this review would be posted on. September 11th. Anywhere you go there are reminders. Online. Newspapers. Fliers in the mail. That got me thinking, what else has been affected? I sat looking at my book shelves for a while, then I realized how much even books have changed. The first example that came to mind was one of my favorite book series, “So You Want To Be A Wizard”. The series recently was updated and republished. (The first book was published over 20 years ago, but only a few years pass from the first book to the most recent). In the original version the main character is on a train in NYC and makes a comment about the World Trade Center, and how many people are in the building and in Manhattan itself. In the new version she instead comments on the hole in the New York skyline.



Other books that have been published since that take place in NYC take more time to mention Ground Zero. Depending on when it was written it'll talk about the clean up, others talk about the construction of the new World Trade Center.



Of course the other change is that of the reader. It's always something of a shock when you come across a book that casually mentions the twin towers, you remember again what is missing.



What about you? Have you noticed changes in books you've read? Tell me about it in the comments!

11 comments:

  1. Dick Wolf, creator of Law & Order, has written two books now (THE INTERCEPT and THE EXECUTION). The first one is set in NY and mentions Ground Zero. I'm so used to reading about Ground Zero and the new World Trade Center that when the twin towers are actually mentioned it's a bit of shock.

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  2. I actually just read a book recently (I wish I could remember the title!) where the towers were mentioned, and I remember being acutely aware of that, to the point that I had to reread the few paragraphs before and after to figure out what had been said.

    I know it's not books, but in some of the static mid scene NYC shots in FRIENDS they show the towers. It's always a bit of a jolt to see them.

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  3. I haven't read the book yet because I was so shocked by the movie, but Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a great example.

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  4. What a fascinating perspective and so true. It always kind of hits me when I see the twin towers casually in a pre 2001 movie, though I don't think I've read any books that have mentioned them yet.

    It's so strange that something so iconic was gone so tragically.

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  5. A great example would be Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah (i forgot her last name). The book takes place 1 year after 9/11 and tells how the main characters were affected by it. Very enlightening read.

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  6. +JMJ+

    I have a copy of So You Want to Be a Wizard? and I suspect that I own the rewritten version, which makes me a little sad. In general, I'm not a fan of "updating" books, whether you're toning down the language in Huckleberry Finn or changing all the VHS tapes in The Baby-sitters Club into DVDs. It seems like a denial of history to make everything more palatable to the present. I do understand that it may be too soon for many readers to come across a mention of the World Trade Centre in leisure reading, but if I had known that my copy of So You Want to Be a Wizard? had been bowlderised in that way, I would never have bought it. =( I wonder how long it will take for the original edition to be back in print.

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  7. I haven't really noticed anything in books, specifically, unless we are talking outside fiction. But I know it's changed a lot of people. And, if you want to go as far as industry, I think it's fair to say that it changed or created some non fiction genres.

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  8. I feel like many books, especially in a years immediately following 9/11, used the terrorist attacks as a backdrop for novels. I loved Jay McInerney's novel, The Good Life, focusing on how several New Yorkers recovered their sense of purpose in life working at Ground Zero following 9/11.

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  9. I have nominated you to receive the Liebster Award!

    http://readingmyreality.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/liebster-award/

    I am excited to see your answers!:)

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  10. I can't say that I've ever really noticed, particularly in fiction, that the twin towers are mentioned. Even books that take place in New York City seem to skip over them entirely. Maybe it's a conscious decision made by the writer who doesn't know exactly how to casually mention such a tragic event, or maybe it just isn't a necessary detail.

    I'm not sure I would like for a book to be changed to reflect history in the way that So You Want to Be a Wizard? was. I think it's important for people to remember that before this attack these buildings stood as another American symbol, and I think that when they alter books they take that away. But I can also understand why they did it.

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  11. There was actually a book written from a terrorist's point of view, which I thought was controversial. It came out in 2007 and I wondered if it was too early for such a thing yet.

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