Wednesday, March 16, 2005

9/11 Novels Abound

I read a NY Times article about the slew of 9/11-related novels that are scheduled (or have already) hit the shelves this year, and I've been thinkin' about it ever since.

In my humble opinion, it's too soon for novels about 9/11. First, there's a distinct scummy marketing factor. I was really irked when all the country songs hit the airwaves asking "Have We Forgotten?" (slap) and 1,400 non-fiction titles appeared within days. I haven't seen Fahrenheit 9/11, so I can't really comment on that whole situation. The 9/11 plots are just a marketable hook to rope people into buying their book. Of course, the authors want you to buy the books, the publishing houses want you to buy the books, and it all comes across the me as opportunistic and kinda icky.

I don't think enough time has passed for us to really see a meaningful, sincere evaluation of the event. It will be much more interesting to look back in 50 years and see what kind of shift took place in the arts as a result of 9/11. Big world events always have some effect on the direction of the arts, but at this point its too much instant gratification...and I fear....sentimental schlock.


Oh, and on another note, Jonathan Safran Foer is one of the authors publishing this year about 9/11. He seems to be the NY Times' golden child/"it" boy. I think he has a contract that says he has to be mentioned at least once a week or something. I got a wild hair today and checked out his much-buzzed-about book Everything is Illuminated. Honestly, it doesn't sound that interesting to me, but we're gonna see what JSF is bringin'.


  1. For the most part I have to agree with you. There are probably one or two good books out there dealing with it, but for the most part it is a sad marketing ploy. Oh well. We do live in a free country after all! I have seen Fahrenheit 9/11 and Fahrenhype 9/11. We watched them back to back, which was funny. The two extremes in one sitting about made me schizophrenic....

  2. I need to bite the bullet and rent F9/11 (well, both actually)...but I forgot about it the last time I was at Hastings. lol
    I rented Saved! instead. Seen it?? Would be interesting to hear your take on it.

  3. I agree with you...all the 9/11 books and songs give me THE SHIVERS. (Sorry, just finished reading Owen Meany). It just seems tacky...even when it's the widow of one of the people on the planes (the "Let's roll" person) writing the book. I just don't understand how people can stomach making money off of such a tragedy.

  4. Oh yeah -- and about Jonathan Safran Foer...I barely made it through two pages of Everything is Illuminated. Have you read it? I just don't see what the big whoop is...

  5. Jessie,
    I didn't make it through Owen! I'm so ashamed. lol I'll try it again someday.

    I haven't started Everything is Illuminated yet. I'm about to wrap up The Nanny Diaries, and I'll probably start it then.

  6. I haven't seen it yet, but I really am going to. EVERYONE says I should watch it. We were going to one night but we ended up with something different. Really the 9/11 movies aren't so much about the towers as they are about the Bush family con and pro. You and I will not agree on them, of course, but you will probably be as entertained as I was by the give and take between them.

  7. For sure we won't agree, but that's half the fun, right?? They sound fab. Can't wait! I should be writing, but I'm procrastinating.

  8. I ordered a 9/11 graphic novel the other day for the library. I forget the name right now; but it is by Art Speigalman. He won the Pulitzer for his Maus series. I'm interested to see it because he has done so much research on the holocaust and genocide. I wonder if there will be any links.

    Also, I think it has to do with what purpose the art, book, or movie has. I know I wrote some on 9/11 because that's how I deal with things and some published writers I know dealt with their feelings that way.

    I have trouble with the country songs that came out (namely with Toby Keith). They didn't mourn or remember or process that just helped incite war and retaliation.

    Once again -- just musing.

  9. Muse away, Amanda! I love hearing your thoughts.

    I haven't read the Spiegelman yet...In the Shadow of No Towers...although I have browsed through it at the bookstore. I loved Maus, so I feel like I would probably enjoy No Towers.

    I agree in that it has a lot to do with purpose, and I guess the only way I'll be able to truly gauge that is by reading some of these titles (not sure if I'm excited about it or not).

    Don't even get me started on Toby Keith. *hiss* lol

  10. I'm not really a fan of Michael Moore, he is just too OTT. His films are watchable, but afterwards you find out that he is just as bad at spinning the facts as those he opposes.

    I read his Stupid White Men, and the thing that really got me was the whole "Black and white"-ness of it all. I mean it was all about how you are either for everything I'm for, or you are evil. Please, no one should ever be so simplistic in their thinking


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