The best Titanic books you need to read

Carla Louise Robinson Author Of The Light In The Darkness Book One
By Carla Louise Robinson

Who am I?

I’m a bibliophile who loves dogs and prefers the country to the city. I’m the kid who yelled at my kindergarten teacher because she hadn’t taught me to read by the end of the year. That same tenacity followed me when, at seven years old, I learned that James Cameron was making a movie based on the Titanic. With righteous fury, I yelled at my befuddled parents, before asking why they had not told me about this ship. I pleaded with my parents to take me to see the movie for my upcoming eighth birthday, and they relented, with my mum buying my first fictional Titanic novel. That’s how my Titanic obsession began.

I wrote...

The Light In The Darkness Book One

By Carla Louise Robinson,

Book cover of The Light In The Darkness Book One

What is my book about?

I’ve read almost everything I can on the Titanic. I’ve collected special edition non-fiction books. I’ve watched everything there is. I’ve played every game I can. And no matter how compelling the story I always felt let down, because almost all Titanic media peddled things I’d long learnt were myths. I hated that Bruce Ismay was branded a coward, when that was the furthest thing from the truth. I hated that the characters in any story always seemed to know the ship was sinking, that wasn’t the truth at all. The engineers, along with Lead Fireman Fred Barrett, fought to save that ship. I wanted people to know why the Californian didn’t respond, and that even if they’d heard the SOS, they wouldn’t have reached the Titanic in time.

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The books I picked & why

Titanic: Minute By Minute

By Jonathan Mayo,

Book cover of Titanic: Minute By Minute

Why did I love this book?

I can’t tell you how many times I consulted Jonathan Mayo’s Titanic: Minute By Minute book, checking that the Titanic’s timeline fit in with what my characters were doing at any given time. It’s non-fiction, and it’s nail-bitingly intense. The book is written in present tense, giving you a sense of urgency as Mayo tells you where everyone is, and what is happening at varying parts of the ship at that exact moment. It helps ground you in reality: The truth was, many of Titanic’s crew and passengers didn’t know the ship was sinking. And many of those who did genuinely believed another ship would arrive long before anything serious could actually happen. Mayo uses both accounts from passengers who survived the sinking, as well as the crew member’s testimony from the British and American Titanic inquiries. 

If you’ve ever wanted to know exactly what happened the night Titanic sank, don’t look any further. Just read Titanic: Minute by Minute.

By Jonathan Mayo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Titanic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2.20am on 15th April 1912, the Titanic is plunging 12,000 feet to the ocean floor.

Machinery, coal, crystal goblets, pianos and jewellery all tumbled through the dark water. Hundreds of passengers and crew remained trapped below decks - hundreds more would perish on the surface.

This is the definitive chronology of the Titanic's final hours, offering readers a real-time experience of one of the greatest dramas of twentieth century history.

Book cover of Titanic: The Long Night: A Novel

Why did I love this book?

The Titanic novel my mum bought me for my eighth birthday, it was this one, which is why it can’t not be included (though mine is tattered and the back cover long lost. I can’t yet bring myself to buy a new one). Titanic: The Long Night is like a hot cup of chocolate on a cold winter’s night. It’s sinking into a bath and thinking, This is exactly what I need. It tells two stories: That of first-class passenger, Elizabeth Farr, who falls in love with handsome first-class passenger and artist, Max Whittaker, and third-class passenger Kathleen Hanrahan, who is travelling from Ireland to America to pursue her dreams. Kathleen falls for the youngest Keller brother, “Paddy” (I cannot tell you how many years I yearned for my very own “Paddy”, that was how much I loved his character). 

There’s something so joyful about this novel. It’s full of hope and possibility, despite the looming tragedy you know is going to tear them apart.

By Diane Hoh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Titanic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everyone thought that the Titanic was unsinkable. Among the passengers are beautiful Elizabeth Farr and dashing Max Whitaker in first class, whilst in steerage are Brian and Patrick Kelleher and pretty red-haired Kathleen Mahoney.

Book cover of Titanic Love Stories: The True Stories of 13 Honeymoon Couples Who Sailed on the Titanic

Why did I love this book?

Gill Paul’s Titanic Love Stories tells the fate of the thirteen honeymoon couples that boarded the doomed ship. It tells stories from society’s elite to third-class passengers from a small country Irish town. Beginning with JJ Astor, Paul tells the story of a man who risked everything for a woman he loved more than anything, showering her with flowers and books to win her favour. In Madeleine, Astor found a future that promised happiness – something he had not had in his previous marriage. Madeleine would love him in a way Astor had never been loved before, who had suffered through a contentious divorce brought by his ex-wife’s extramarital affair. The book finishes with Neal and Eileen McNamee, a newlywed couple that fell in love the moment they met, with Eileen teasing Neal about his moustache and “funny” accent. Eileen converted to Catholicism in order to marry the man she loved, and she was overjoyed at the idea of honeymooning on the Titanic while travelling to America where Neal would be starting a new job at Lipton’s store in New York. 

Each newlywed couple’s story is marred with love, hope, and pain. Paul feeds life into Titanic by exploring the ship through the eyes of people who loved each other fiercely. After all, Isidor and Ida Straus were not the only couple who chose to die together. 

I was reading Titanic Love Stories when inspiration struck for my protagonists, Georgiana and William. I had a vision of where they’d end up, how their story would develop, and it would represent all the love Titanic’s passengers had felt for each other. If you’re a romantic at heart, you’ll love this non-fiction novel, however, you should be aware: You’ll need tissues. 

And lots of them.

By Gill Paul,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Titanic Love Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Very Good Gently read once. No marks of previous ownership; not an ex-library copy. Binding tight; spine straight and smooth, with no creasing; covers clean and crisp. Minimal signs of handling or shelving. 100% GUARANTEE! Shipped with delivery confirmation, if you're not satisfied with purchase please return item for full refund.

Book cover of Voyage on the Great Titanic (Dear America): The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, R.M.S. Titanic, 1912

Why did I love this book?

Written in diary format, presented as something for kids and teens, this was another novel my mum would be for me as a birthday present. Written by Ellen Emerson White, thirteen-year-old Margaret Ann Brady’s innocence immediately captures your heart. When she and her brother are orphaned at a young age, her older brother leaves her on an orphanage’s doorstep while he finds work. Eventually, he makes it to America, where he saves for his sister’s passage. Margaret, in a turn of fate, is offered passage on the Titanic when Mrs. Carstairs requires a companion to travel with her to America. The novel is peppered with real-life facts, with Margaret interacting with JJ Astor and Thomas Andrews (fun fact: when I read this novel as a child, I loved that JJ Astor’s dog was named “Kitty.” I thought it was the perfect name for a dog, and as a result, I have a German Shepherd named Kitty. The name is surprisingly fitting). 

This novel always makes me cry. From Margaret’s beginning – poverty-stricken, growing up on the cold streets starving after her parents had died – to the story’s conclusion, there was always something different about this Titanic story. White’s development of Margaret’s core character allows the reader to view the Titanic through the eyes of the crew, a lens the audience seldom gets to experience. 

If you’re trying to encourage your child to “read more”, look no further. Your kids will be hooked from the first page, desperate to know about Margaret’s story.  

Be warned: It may seem like a children’s book, but it’ll be sure to trample your heart the same way Mufasa’s death still lingers in your blood.

By Ellen Emerson White,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Voyage on the Great Titanic (Dear America) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Margaret Anne dreams of leaving the orphanage behind, and she can hardly believe her luck when she is chosen to accompany wealth Mrs Carstairs aboard the great Titanic. But when the passengers are woken on a freezing night in April 1912, she finds herself caught up in an unimaginable nightmare...

Book cover of Titanic: True Stories of Her Passengers, Crew and Legacy

Why did I love this book?

Nicola Pierce’s Titanic: True Stories of Her Passengers, Crew and Legacy details not only Titanic’s story, but her sister’s tragedies. It questions whether Bruce Ismay was really a villain and poses the idea that he might be a hero; it critically examines Captain Smith’s behaviour the night of the sinking. It follows the events of the Carpathia and Californian, lending insight into what happened on both ships that night, reminding us the Titanic didn’t just hit an iceberg: She was trapped in an iceberg field. It finishes on the Mackay-Bennett, the funeral ship sent to ferry back as many of Titanic’s dead as they could, reminding us that the tragedy didn’t end on the 15th of April, but would continue for months on end – and for many, years. 

Pierce’s novel was one of my biggest sources for my book. I’d heard of the Mackay-Bennett funeral ship, partly due to my extensive reading on the Titanic to this text, and partly because of my love for Ask A Mortician (in 2016, she created the YouTube video: What Happened To Titanic’s Dead?). I found myself fascinated with the idea that a lot of our modern identification systems for unknown bodies were created by John Snow, the chief embalmer at Nova Scotia’s largest funeral home. Not only did this novel change how I viewed the tragedy, but it also inspired me to write my book by splitting the novel between the past (the days leading up to the disaster; the weeks following it) and present, contrasting Howard’s story on the Mackay-Bennett with those on the Titanic.   

By Nicola Pierce,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Titanic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book commemorates the enduring legacy of the world's most famous ship - TITANIC.

Her story is one of all those bound together on that fateful voyage. On board were: writers, artists, honeymooners, sportsmen, priests, reverends, fashion designers, aristocrats, millionaires, children, crew and emigrants looking for a better life.

This book tells of their lives, and shines the spotlight on:

Some of the great ship's surprising treasures Her feted voyage from Belfast's
Harland & Wolff shipyard The fascinating museums devoted to her memory, including Titanic Belfast The iconic music and movies Her winged and four-legged passengers The sister ships of…

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