On Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida terrorists carried out four suicide attacks against the United States. The most devastating of them was the destruction of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, which has since become the symbol of the tragedies.
A number of informative and moving books have recently appeared in commemoration of the upcoming 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Also, there is an application for the iPad that tells the story of the World Trade Center via photos, videos and eyewitness accounts. Author- filmmaker Steve Rosenbaum has assembled "The 9/11 Memorial: Past, Present and Future," free at the app store from Sept. 1-12, and $9.95 after that. For a preview, visit http://the911memorialapp.magnify.net/video/ 911-Memorial-App.
Here's a sampling of 9/11-related books, all emotionally provocative:
"What We Saw" by Joe Klein (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 144 pages): This is CBS News' words-and-photos coverage of 9/11, including first- person narratives, articles, essays and a DVD of filmed coverage from its archive.
"Memory Remains" by Frances C. Torres (National Geographic, $50, 192 pages): By special arrangement, Spanish artist Torres photographed the contents of Hangar 17 at JFK International Airport. That was the repository for the "significant non-human materials salvaged from the site of the World Trade Center."
"9/11: The World Speaks" by Lee Ielpi (Lyons Press, $24.95, 256 pages): A sampling from the 200,000 comment cards written by the 2 million global visitors to the Tribute WTC Visitor Center since its opening in 2006. The theme: the impact of 9/11.
"Poetry After 9-11" edited by Dennis Loy Johnson and Valerie Merians (Melville House, $14.95, 128 pages): A reissued collection of post-9/11 poetry written by 45 New York poets.
"The Eleventh Day" by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan (Ballantine, $30, 624 pages): Investigating newly released documentation and interviewing thousands of witnesses, the authors reconstruct 9/11 in this authoritative new look. One key question that lingers today: Did one of our allies back the terrorists?
"A Decade of Hope" by Dennis Smith, with Deidre Smith (Viking, $26.95, 384 pages): Here, the firefighter-author of "Report From Ground Zero" interviews many of 9/11's surviving heroes and victims' families and friends.
"Project Rebirth" by Robert Stern and Courtney E. Martin (Dutton, $25.95, 256 pages): Psychologist Stern and journalist Martin explore the lives of nine 9/11 survivors. How did they survive the catastrophe of personal losses?
"Where You Left Me" by Jennifer Gardner Trulson (Gallery, $25, 256 pages): In this inspiring memoir, the 9/11-widowed mother explains how she was able to fight her way out of her "bottomless fury" and depression, and make a new life.
Even if your school days are long past, it's not too late to sample Jennifer Worick's "10 books you should have read in high school." "There's a reason your English teachers pleaded with you to read these classics," she writes.
MSNBC asked the publishing consultant (and author of 25 books) to assemble this crash course, presented "in no particular order and omitting a lot of astonishing books":
"Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley: "It's the whole monster enchilada."
"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne: "Religious guilt, adultery, single parenting. These themes may be ripped from today's headlines, but they go back centuries."
"The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger: "The most censored book in U.S. high schools between 1961 and 1982."
"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald: "Money and ambition can't buy you love or respect, just a lot of square footage and custom-tailored suits."
"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen: "A tart and tasty bonbon of manners and courtship."
"Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse: "It offers additional inspiration in your search to be one with everything."
"Lord of the Flies" by William Golding: "Skip another season of 'Survivor' and read what happens to a bunch of kids when left alone on a deserted island."
"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain: "While the novel is primarily about freedom, it is one of the first to deal with prejudice."
"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee: "Racial tensions, class, justice, loss of innocence and straight-up courage weave themselves through Lee's Southern Gothic novel."
"The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand: "In our current era of social networking and personal branding, it's refreshing to think about being a 'prime mover.' "
New noir from the North
This column has cheered "Nordic noir" thrillers by the likes of Jo Nesbo, Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell, starring their glum but dogged series' protagonists the alcoholic Harry Hole, the randy Mikael Blomkvist and the dysfunctional Kurt Wallander, respectively.
Now add Jussi Adler-Olsen and his "Keeper of Lost Causes" to the list (Dutton, $25.95, 400 pages).
Copenhagen police detective Carl Mørck has been banished to the basement to head the new Department Q. Turns out it's a department of one, until the "deeply flawed" Morck takes on a civilian assistant who's deft with a switchblade. Together, they take on the cold case of a woman who vanished without a trace.
After that setup, Adler-Olsen takes readers on a relentless thrill ride of surprise, shock and terror. Don't miss this one.