11 Titanic Books That Will Make Your Jaw Drop

It’s April 15, 2020.  On this day 108 years ago, Titanic sank at 2:20AM and took 1,496 lives with her.  Many people were on the ship to start a new life in America or just returning home.  The world was changed upon learning about this maritime disaster.  In the memory of those who have died, here are eleven books from historians, as well as Titanic survivors, that are really interesting recounts of the disaster.


image via amazon

1. a night to remember: the sinking of the titanic

Not too many people heard the sound of Titanic hitting the iceberg, but it was very recognizable to the lookouts and crew onboard.  In the next two hours and forty minutes, the maiden voyage of Titanic became one of the worst maritime disasters in history.  Walter Lord bases this book off of sixty-three survivor accounts for a moment-by-moment account of one of the bleakest nights in the twentieth century.


image via amazon

2. Titanic: a survivor’s story

Colonel Archibald Gracie was one of the last to leave the sinking ship in the early hours of April 15.  In his account, he describes his personal experiences and remarkable escape from death in the freezing North-Atlantic water, painting a vivid picture on what life was like aboard the vessel in its final hours.  Colonel Gracie tracked down other survivors for their stories of the disaster and attended court hearings to obtain official record for his book, all the while succumbing to diabetes.  He finished his book shortly before his death.


image via amazon

3. titanic survivor: the memoirs of violet jessop

Violet Jessop spent her entire career at sea, traveling on more than 200 voyages. She was a stewardess for first-class passengers on Titanic when it sank on its maiden voyage.  She was even on Titanic’s two sister ships, Olympic and Britannic, when they too experienced disasters that she had survived: Olympic hit a ship and Britannic sank after hitting a mine.  She admits that she didn’t like big ships and was secretly afraid of them.  In this account, she says that on the night of the sinking she saw to the needs of the passengers first before she could even find a coat for herself, she was given a ‘forgotten baby’ in a lifeboat, and she watched the ship go down “as if by looking I could keep her afloat.”  In this memoir, we learn about what life was like for those who worked on the ships.



image via amazon

4. the night lives on: the untold stories and secrets behind the sinking of the “unsinkable” ship-titanic

Walter Lord’s book was a landmark work that recounted the horrible events on the night of Titanic’s sinking.  His book takes the exploration further and reveals information about the ship that hadn’t emerged until decades later.  Such questions Lord addresses in his book are, ‘Was the ship really christened before setting sail on its maiden voyage?’, ‘What song did the band play as water spilled over the bow?’, ‘How did the ship’s wireless operators fail so badly, and why did the nearby Californian, just ten miles away when Titanic struck the iceberg, not come to the rescue?’.  Lord tries to answer these questions in his investigation.


image via amazon

5. the truth about the titanic

With the ship in her last minutes above water, Colonel Archibald Gracie was one of the last few people to escape the sinking Titanic by clinging to an overturned collapsible lifeboat before being rescued.  In another of his books, Colonel Gracie writes about his experience on the night of the sinking as well as the testimony he gave at the inquiry that followed.


image via amazon

6. the loss of the s.s. titanic-it’s story and its lessons

Lawrence Beesley published this book just nine weeks after the Titanic had sank.  His account opens with his story of arriving ashore in New York and soon after walking through the doors of Messrs.  He writes to record the events of the sinking and to ‘set the record straight.’  He captures both the view of the lifeboat he was in and the view from the deck of the ship itself in his spellbinding tale of that fateful night.



image via amazon

7. on a sea of glass: the life and loss of the rms titanic

In this book, the authors bring the tragedy of the sinking of Titanic to life, telling the story of the ship’s design, construction, and maiden voyage, in an attempt to understand how a brand new ship could sink.  The authors also bring to light stories of individuals who sailed on her and their rarely seen accounts of the sinking.  They all tell a dramatic story of those who were lost and those who were saved, and what happened in the world after word of Titanic’s sinking went around.  The book is made special by using rare survivor accounts from the eye witnesses of that night.


image via amazon

8. discovery of the titanic

Robert Ballare discovered Titanic in September of 1985 in a Franco-American expedition.  This book is a pictorial record of his expedition, filled with high quality color and black-and-white images.  He compares the modern-day pictures, at the time of discovery, to what she looked like before her sinking.  He discusses other attempts made to discover Titanic, goes into an account of the sinking, and finally describes the events that led up to the ship’s discovery.


image via amazon

9. return to titanic

In this book, Robert Ballard co-authors with Michael Sweeney to review Titanic’s history and the events leading up to her demise.  Ballard describes his dream of turning the ship into an underwater museum, being easily explored from above by computer.  In a specific writing detail says, “[the] mast from which the lookouts issued warnings had collapsed into the well deck [on the wreck]”.  The writing is sure to excite any Titanic-philes who are interested in the ship.



image via amazon

10. titanic: an illustrated history

This book is written by Robert Ballard and is illustrated by Ken Marschall.  It features dozens of meticulously accurate and full-color paintings and includes a fold-out illustration of the entirety of Titanic.  Ballard offers his wealth of information about how a ship regarded as ‘practically unsinkable’ sank on April 15, 1912.


image via amazon

11. ken marschall’s art of the titanic

Ken Marschall has a large collection of Titanic paintings that are both stunning and incredibly accurate renditions of the former ocean liner.  This book even includes the image of the September 1985 TIME magazine cover when the wreck of Titanic was discovered.


featured image via Ken Marschall

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5 Authors Who Were Also Murderers

Just because you wrote a good book doesn’t mean you haven’t killed someone. In fact, just because you haven’t written a good book doesn’t mean you haven’t killed someone. Heck, you could not write a book, not intend to write a book, and still kill someone. But that’s not what this site is about. This site is about books, and occasionally the worlds of literature and murder overlap. Here are five authors who murdered someone.


5. William S. Burroughs


As the story goes, he didn’t mean to kill her, but he did. A key member of the Beat Generation, William S. Burroughs appears in Jack Kerouac’s breakout 1957 novel On The Road. Written on one long scroll of paper so he didn’t have to change pages on his typewriter, Jack Kerouac wrote this iconic piece of literature in three weeks in April of 1951, fueled by coffee. William S. Burroughs was the inspiration behind On The Road‘s character of Old Bull Lee.

William S Burroughs sitting at his type writer, hands folded in lap, looking at camera.


William S. Burroughs had his own writing career long before On The Road was published. In fact, his first novel, Junkie, was released in 1953, a first-person narrative about a man struggling with heroin addiction. This novel was published initially under the pseudonym William Lee.


Book cover for William Burrough's 'Junkie'


But let’s go back to 1951. While in Mexico City, Burroughs and his second wife, Joan Vollmer, were drunk while she was undergoing withdrawal from a heavy amphetamine habit. Drunk and a little high, they decided to play William Tell.


For those who don’t know, William Tell is a game in which one player shoots an apple off the top of another person’s head, usually with a crossbow. However, in this instance, Joan placed a highball glass on top of her head and William S. Burroughs used a pistol to attempt to shoot it off. Unfortunately, he missed.


William S. Borrough's wife, Joan


While awaiting trial, Burroughs wrote the novel Queer about a young man looking for Yage, a hallucinogen, in South America. At the end of his trial, Burroughs was given a two-year suspended sentence and in 1959 his magnum opus, Naked Lunch, was published.


William S. Burroughs holding a shot gun in a garden, looking at camera.


William Seward Burroughs II, post-modernist author and primary figure of the Beat Generation, died on August 2nd, 1997 at the age of eighty-three.


4. Anne Perry


Anne Perry with arms folded looks at camera, lightly smiling


Author of the Thomas Pitt detective series and the William Monk detective series, Anne Perry is an English author whose life story was the basis for Peter Jackson’s film Heavenly Creatures. Released in 1994, the film follows the 1954 Parker-Hulme murder case about two teenage friends, Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, who eventually murdered Parker’s mother.


Parker was sixteen at the time, while Hulme was fifteen. According to The True Crime Library in Christchurch, New Zealand, the girls bludgeoned the woman to death with half a brick enclosed in an old stocking before running into town and claiming that Parker’s mother had fallen and hit her head.


Movie poster for Heavenly Creatures


Their story fell apart upon closer inspection and the two were arrested. Too young for the death penalty, the girls each received five years in prison.

At the time of the film’s production and release, it was not known that upon her release from prison, Juliet Hulme had changed her name to Anne Perry.

After the film was released and Perry’s identity discovered, the New Zealand Herald claimed, “…Perry has told the London Times Saturday Magazine that although they were never lesbians the relationship was obsessive”.

On her website, Anne Perry writes, “I began the ‘Monk’ series in order to explore a different, darker character, and to raise questions about responsibility, particularly that of a person for acts he cannot remember. How much of a person’s identity is bound up in memory?”


3. Blake Leibel

Not everyone who authors graphic novels with shocking descriptions of murder is a murderer themselves, but this guy is.

Blake Leibel wearing glasses look at camera in black and white photograph


In 2015 the graphic novel Syndrome was published, containing unsettling depictions of bloodletting and, straight from CBS Los Angeles, it transpires that Blake Leibel murdered his girlfriend and left her body “drained of all of her blood in a crime that a prosecutor said mirrored the script of a graphic novel he co-wrote.”


Blake Leibel and Iana Kasian


The Los Angeles Times also notes that Leibel, “was expressionless. Dressed in a yellow jail shirt and blue scrubs, he uttered only one word, answering ‘yes’ when the judge asked if he would waive his appearance at an upcoming court hearing”.

He was convicted in June 2018.


Image Via Los Angeles Times

Before his graphic novel, he worked on 2008’s Spaceballs: The Animated Series, based on the 1987 film by Mel Brooks, as a creative consultant.


2. Liu Yongbiao


Liu Yongbiao standing next to statue with hand on his foot


Back in 2005, Chinese writer Liu Yongbiao broke onto the scene with his story collection, A Film, which won China’s highest provincial critical achievement: the Anhui Literature Prize. In 2010, his novel about a writer implicated in a wave of unsolved murders, The Guilty Secret, was published.

In 2013, he cemented his literary status when he was elected to the China Writers Association.


Image result for Liu Yongbiao crime author

Image Via All That’s Interesting

Backtrack to November 29th, 1995, when Liu and a friend, Wang Mouming, checked in a guesthouse. All That’s Interesting states that they had “the intention of robbing other guests” but “when the two were caught stealing by a guest, Wang and Liu are believed to have used clubs and hammers to kill the guest as well as the guesthouse’s two owners (an elderly couple) and their thirteen-year-old grandson in order to completely cover their tracks.”

Twenty-two years later, Shanghaiist reported that blood samples led investors to the fifty-three-year-old writer and the sixty-four-year-old legal consultant.


Liu Yongbiao in custody


The NY Post states that Liu told the investigators who arrested him that, “I’ve been waiting for you all this time”.


1. Mark “Chopper” Read

Chopper with two guns crossed over his chest and two in his waistband

Image Via Pinterest

Have you read Mr. Read’s work? He wrote crime novels and several children’s books, one of which was called Hooky the Cripple: The Grim Tale of the Hunchback Who Triumphs, published in 2002 by Pluto Press and illustrated by Adam Cullen.

According to ABC News, Mark Read spent his early years robbing drug dealers before kidnapping and torturing members of the criminal underworld. Eventually, he was caught and charged with armed robbery, assault, and kidnapping. Perth Now reports that he spent only thirteen months outside of prison between the ages of thirty and thirty-eight. He also cut off his ears in prison.

Later in life, Mark Read found solace in writing.


Mark 'Chopper' Read with a cigar in his mouth and sunglasses on standing in front of a wall graffitied yellow and red


In 1991 he wrote the story of his life Chopper, from the inside: The confessions of Mark Brandon Read and several other non-fiction books, but he has also dabbled in children’s literature.


Book cover for Hooky the Cripple featuring a hand holding a bloody knife


There have been several attempts to ban Hooky the Cripple, but the movie based around his life, 2000’s Chopper starring Eric Bana, received critical praise upon its release.

Back in 2013, Read told the  New York Times, “Look, honestly, I haven’t killed that many people, probably about four or seven, depending on how you look at it.”

Featured Image Via kmuw.org

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