Two decades have passed since the terrorist attacks that took the lives of more than 3,000 people on September 11, 2001, forever changing the course of history. Since then, journalists, novelists, memoirists, and documentarians have tried to make sense of that day and what it means for those who lived through it and those born in the decades after. From memoirs and novels to podcasts and articles, here’s a starting point for remembering 9/11.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Saffron Foer
This novel, an innovative, emotional exploration of loss in the face of 9/11, was praised as one of the best books of the year in 2005 by the Los Angeles Times among other publications. After Oskar Schell loses his father in the World Trade Center bombing, he’s driven to solve the mystery of a key his father left behind, sending him on a heartbreaking and hopeful quest across New York City.
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History by Garrett M. Graff
“Nearly every American over a certain age remembers where they were on September 11, 2001,” Graff begins. This affecting audiobook is composed of the first-person stories of survivors, those left behind by those who died on 9/11, and those who were witnesses told in their own words.
102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn
A minute-by-minute account of what took place at the World Trade Center, between the time the first plane hit and the second tower collapsed, drawn from text and phone messages, plus first-person accounts.
A Widow’s Walk by Marian Fontana
This moving memoir explores the emotional scars left by 9/11 and is written by the widow of firefighter Dave Fontana. Responding to the emergency, Fontana lost his life during the disaster, leaving his wife Marian with a young child to care for alone. Told with humor and heart, Marian channels her grief into activism for those who lost their lives.
Ground Zero by Alan Gratz
Generations of kids have grown up post 9/11. In this middle-grade novel, Gratz introduces them to the story, through the eyes of two children: Brandon, who is visiting his dad at work at the World Trade Center when the towers fall, and Reshmina, an Afghani girl who must live with the aftereffects of the war that follows the fateful event.
Missing on 9/11
This 13-episode podcast explores a little-known 9/11 mystery: the disappearance of Dr. Sneha Anne Philip, who was last seen shopping around Twin Towers on September 11. Was her disappearance — still unsolved — connected to the event or just a coincidence?