The most recommended Titanic books

Who picked these books? Meet our 15 experts.

15 authors created a book list connected to the Titanic, and here are their favorite Titanic books.
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Book cover of Titanic Survivor: The Newly Discovered Memoirs of Violet Jessop who Survived Both the Titanic and Britannic Disasters

Kathleen McGurl Author Of The Lost Sister

From my list on the ships Titanic and Carpathia.

Who am I?

I’m a historical and dual timeline novelist, and I sometimes think I love the research phase more than the writing phase. For each novel I start with a vague idea, then buy or borrow books to read around the subject in the hope that a story will gradually emerge. I was lucky with The Lost Sister in that a chance remark of my brother’s sparked an idea, and he had a large collection of Titanic books which he let me borrow.

Kathleen's book list on the ships Titanic and Carpathia

Kathleen McGurl Why did Kathleen love this book?

I came across a mention of Violet Jessop in a Wikipedia article right at the start of my research into Titanic and her sister ships.

She worked on all three ships – Olympic, Titanic, and Britannic, and survived not one but two shipwrecks. Even after those harrowing events she went back to work on Olympic until the ship was retired in the 1930s.

Her autobiography was published posthumously, and makes for fascinating reading. I ended up including her as a minor character in my novel, and she’ll feature in my forthcoming novel too!

By Violet Jessop,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Titanic Survivor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Violet Jessop's life is an inspiring story of survival. Born in 1887 in Argentina, the eldest child of Irish immigrants, at the age of 21 she became the breadwinner for her widowed mother and five siblings when she commenced a career as a stewardess and nurse on some of the most famous ocean going vessels of the day. Throughout her 40 year time at sea she survived an unbelievable series of events including the sinking of the TITANIC.

"One awful moment of empty, misty blackness enveloped us in its loneliness, then an unforgettable, agonizing cry went up from 1500 despairing…


Book cover of Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy

Christopher Ward Author Of And the Band Played On...: The Enthralling Account of What Happened After the Titanic Sank

From my list on the Titanic from a variety of angles.

Who am I?

I’m a former national newspaper editor and magazine publisher – and the grandson of Jock Hume, a violinist in the Titanic’s band. Jock, who was just 21 years old, had been playing on passenger ships since he was sixteen. His body was recovered ten days after the sinking, 40 miles from the scene the wreck. His family couldn’t afford to bring him home to Dumfries in Scotland, so he was buried alongside 121 other unclaimed Titanic bodies at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My book is the story of Jock’s life, his death…and the previously untold scandal of the aftermath of the sinking.

Christopher's book list on the Titanic from a variety of angles

Christopher Ward Why did Christopher love this book?

If Walter Lord’s book is the definitive account of the sinking, this large-format encyclopaedic volume, almost large enough to sink a ship, is the definitive story of the Titanic, from the drawing board to the bottom of the ocean, with nothing omitted between the two events. It is an epic work of research so comprehensive that it deserves a wholly new category of publishing: more than a book, Titanic – Triumph and Tragedy, is a museum.

First published in 1986, it was updated in the 1990s to include new information and photographs following the discovery of the wreck, which Eaton and Haas, both acknowledged Titanic experts, had seen for themselves from a submersible. 

The book’s structure is that of a sequential archive illustrated by more than a thousand contemporary photographs, including Harland & Wolff’s original architectural plans and engineering drawings. It moves from the launch in Belfast to life…

By John P. Eaton, Charles A. Haas,

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?

Continuing interest in the ill-fated vessel has been heightened in recent years by the dramatic events including the discovery of the wreck, new speculation on the Californian's failure to rescue the Titanic, and the recovery of artifacts from the disaster site. All are chronicled in a new chapter which, with a section of completely up-to-date color photographs, makes this edition a must.


Book cover of These Broken Stars

Nichole Giles Author Of Water So Deep

From my list on YA fantasy you should have read ten years ago.

Who am I?

I’m an author of Young Adult Fantasy fiction. When my oldest was six, I started reading Harry Potter to him. It was such a bonding experience that we both cherish. We still talk about the stories, even though he's all grown up and lives away from me most of the time. The thing about fantasy is that stories set in worlds or with people that don’t actually exist make it easier for us to swallow deep meanings, storylines with which we can identify, and that crawl deep down into our souls and nest there. It’s not just about escaping into a fantasy world, but about finding human experience in otherworldly situations and characters. 

Nichole's book list on YA fantasy you should have read ten years ago

Nichole Giles Why did Nichole love this book?

You know that question about being stranded on a desert island with only one other person and a spaceship? Oh, wait. I think that’s supposed to be a sunken ship. This story has a bit of a similar feel, only instead of an island, it’s a deserted planet, and no one is coming to save Lilac and Tarver—so they have to save themselves instead. This one is a good mix of the rich-girl/poor-boy dynamic, (think Pretty in Pink, flip-flopped) with a hint of mystery, all in the style of Survivor. The depth of feeling is strong in this one.  

By Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked These Broken Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

"One of the most intense, thrilling, and achingly beautiful stories I've ever read."--Marie Lu, New York Times best-selling author of the Legend trilogy

The first in the New York Times bestselling author duo Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner's sweeping science fiction trilogy, These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen are the only survivors. 

Lilac is the…


Book cover of The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic

Ann E. Burg Author Of Flooded: Requiem for Johnstown

From my list on historical verse for middle schoolers.

Who am I?

Technology advances, scenery changes, but the human heart remains the same. As a writer, I hope to honor lives unnoticed or forgotten and have found that writing in verse affords me the truest, most uncorrupted pathway into the human heart. Each of the verse novels I’ve written or recommended here is spun from the strongest threads of time, place, and character. My hope is that the spare words within each book will build bridges across time and culture, and that those of us willing to open our hearts and cross these bridges will help create a more tolerant and peaceful world. 

Ann's book list on historical verse for middle schoolers

Ann E. Burg Why did Ann love this book?

The Watch That Ends The Night tells the story of the Titanic through the voices of those who were there. I read this after I had written my own most recent book and was struck with how similarly Allan and I approached historical catastrophes. Both books are multi-voiced and contemplate the same issues of privilege and class distinctions. Like me, Allan chose to listen to nature and endow her with a voice of her own.

By Allan Wolf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Watch That Ends the Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Audie Award, Distinguished Achievement in Production, 2012

Arrogance and innocence, hubris and hope - 24 haunting voices of the Titanic tragedy, as well as the iceberg itself, are evoked in a stunning tour de force. 

More than 2,000 men, women, and children are on board. Here on the first-class promenade is millionaire John Jacob Astor, who hopes his return from Egypt with his pregnant teen bride will invite a minimum of media attention. And here, in the third-class common room, a beautiful Lebanese refugee, on her way to family in Florida, discovers first love. And there in the distance, shrouded…


Book cover of Sounds Like Titanic

Eugenia Cheng Author Of X + Y: A Mathematician's Manifesto for Rethinking Gender

From my list on beyond romance, motherhood, or emulating men.

Who am I?

I have been thinking a lot about what feminism means for me. In this interview, I said, "I wish more authors would write about strong women, beyond the strength and importance of motherhood, but not just emulating traditional male behavior." I feel that this is the kind of strong woman I am, as a woman forging a non-traditional path in mathematics. I have been on something of a mission to find books like this, and particularly ones written by women. I find such books frustratingly rare, so I wanted to recommend a few that I have found. There is more to being a woman than falling in love and having children.

Eugenia's book list on beyond romance, motherhood, or emulating men

Eugenia Cheng Why did Eugenia love this book?

This is my only non-fiction pick, but it reads a little like a gripping work of fiction except that I had to keep pinching myself to remember it really happened. The author is writing about her experience as a professional violinist in a "fake" orchestra. It is a wonderfully nuanced look at the gray area between "fake" and "real", which is devastatingly pertinent to our times. It challenges us to consider if we can actually always tell the difference and if the difference is really clear-cut at all. The reason I'm including it in the list is that the main protagonist, the author, is a strong woman who is determined to make her own way. And there is one section I found particularly satisfying, in which (and I don't think this will give too much away) she refuses to include any romance in the book. She declines to write of…

By Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When aspiring violinist Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman lands a job with a professional ensemble in New York City, she imagines she has achieved her lifelong dream. But the ensemble proves to be a sham. When the group "performs", the microphones are never on. Instead, the music blares from a CD. The mastermind behind this scheme is a peculiar and mysterious figure known as The Composer, who is gaslighting his audiences with music that sounds suspiciously like the Titanic movie soundtrack. On tour with his chaotic ensemble, Hindman spirals into crises of identity and disillusionment as she "plays" for audiences genuinely moved…


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

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

From my list on the Titanic.

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.

Carla's book list on the Titanic

Carla Louise Robinson Why did Carla 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…

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…


Book cover of Distant Waves: A Novel of the Titanic: A Novel of the Titanic

Camille Gomera-Tavarez Author Of High Spirits

From my list on for young adults who love a touch of magic.

Who am I?

As a Dominican-American writer, I grew up constantly looking for representation and characters I could relate to. I could never really find whatever I was looking for until I got to college and discovered the long history of infusing realistic storytelling with surreal elements that finds roots in Indigenous and Black communities in Latin America. Once I found it, I was obsessed. I was so bored of western storytelling and basic, straightforward books, and here was this well of creativity that belonged to my ancestors. That’s when I noticed that the books I loved in my childhood all had this same quality – just a touch of magic.

Camille's book list on for young adults who love a touch of magic

Camille Gomera-Tavarez Why did Camille love this book?

I love a historical fiction novel. Give me every iteration of Pride and Prejudice, give me old time-y things, give me Great Gatsby flapper dancers. I love it. Distant Waves is a really fun YA novel focused on five sisters who meet as they find their way onto the Titanic and befriend famous inventor, Nicola Tesla. The sisters come from a mother who is in the spiritualist community and they have a feeling the ship will sink, but they hop aboard anyways with a very sweet boy named Thad. There’s paranormal stuff and kooky inventions. Gotta love a sprinkle of magic. 

By Suzanne Weyn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Science, spiritualism, history and romance intertwine in Suzanne Weyn's newest novel. Four sisters and their mother make their way from a spiritualist town in New York to London, becoming acquainted with journalist W. T. Stead, scientist Nikola Tesla, and industrialist John Jacob Astor. When they all find themselves on the Titanic, one of Tesla's inventions dooms them . . . and one could save them.


Book cover of Titanic Voices: Memories from the Fateful Voyage

Kathleen McGurl Author Of The Lost Sister

From my list on the ships Titanic and Carpathia.

Who am I?

I’m a historical and dual timeline novelist, and I sometimes think I love the research phase more than the writing phase. For each novel I start with a vague idea, then buy or borrow books to read around the subject in the hope that a story will gradually emerge. I was lucky with The Lost Sister in that a chance remark of my brother’s sparked an idea, and he had a large collection of Titanic books which he let me borrow.

Kathleen's book list on the ships Titanic and Carpathia

Kathleen McGurl Why did Kathleen love this book?

This book, which I also borrowed from my brother, is a collection of hundreds of snippets of letters, newspaper articles, diary entries, and other sources, the voices of people connected with the disaster.

Survivors, relatives of the lost, people who were involved with building the ship or who simply went to wave her off from Southampton. It also includes a lot of photographs, and as a novelist was so helpful to give me a sense of what it was like for people involved at the time, from so many different angles.

By Donald Hyslop (editor), Alastair Forsyth (editor), Sheila Jemima (editor) , John Lawrence (photographer)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Including previously unpublished interviews with and letters written by survivors, along with forty-two color photographs, a book of memorabilia about the Titanic disaster presents the firsthand accounts of witnesses.


Book cover of Roxanne

Katie Delahanty Author Of Keystone

From my list on 20th century YA that will give you all the feels.

Who am I?

When I was a teen, I had zero aspirations to become a writer. I didn’t discover my passion for writing until I was thirty! But once I started writing, it was these books and the way they made me feel that I drew on. I wanted strong heroines that I wanted to be—and be friends with. I wanted a slow burn, skin-tingling romance with a lot of push and pull. I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself. To go on a quest. To feel victorious. And it is my hope that I can give my readers all the feels these books gave me.

Katie's book list on 20th century YA that will give you all the feels

Katie Delahanty Why did Katie love this book?

I have loved many a Sunfire historical Romance. Danielle (pirates!), Caroline (Gold Rush!), Amanda (Oregon Trail!), Nicole (Titanic—way before there was a movie). There’s always a kick-ass heroine and a love triangle and fun outfits (also a must for me—I was a fashion designer before becoming a writer and styling the wardrobe and “sets” is very important to me when crafting a story. I keep a Pinterest board for all my books and unlock it once a book/series is fully published). Anyway, I especially loved Roxanne because I’ve always loved Old Hollywood and old movies (much like Elisha in Keystone). I moved to Orange County, California from Pittsburgh when I was a kid, and on day trips to Los Angeles, I preferred seeing Hollywood through Roxanne’s eyes. It was her story that connected me to my new home. 

By Jane Claypool Miner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Miner, Jane Claypool


Book cover of Invictus

Katie Kennedy Author Of What Goes Up

From my list on with parallel worlds.

Who am I?

I’m a history instructor and often think about alternate historical outcomes, but you don’t get to choose those. Wish the Spanish Armada hadn’t sunk? Tough luck. But you can take a novel in any direction—kill a character, bring them back, let them fall in love, make them eat an egg salad sandwich… When the book itself is about parallel worlds, it increases those possibilities exponentially. In What Goes Up, Rosa and Eddie have very different backgrounds—Earth is two different worlds for them. What happens when there’s another world out there and they meet themselves in a different place? As one character asks, how much do you trust yourself?

Katie's book list on with parallel worlds

Katie Kennedy Why did Katie love this book?

I enjoy a good adventure, and Graudin delivers here. This book starts with time travel and shifts to parallel worlds. (The main character was born outside of time, but I won’t explain that so I don’t spoil things.) He captains a crew of merry thieves who travel back to save important relics that are about to be lost in historic disasters like the sinking of the Titanic. This is a smart, quick read–and a fun one.

By Ryan Graudin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Invictus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

A heart-stopping adventure that defies time and space--New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu calls it "an incredibly intricate, brilliantly paced, masterfully written journey."
Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time traveler from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in ancient Rome, Far's very existence defies the laws of nature. All he's ever wanted was to explore history for himself, but after failing his entrance exam into the government program, Far will have to settle for a position on the black market-captaining a time-traveling crew to steal valuables from the past.
During a routine…