“Titanic,” which has been keeping me busy these days. It is available for the Kindle and the Nook, but there’s been some mysterious delay since it was uploaded to iBooks.
In case you have noticed that posting has been thin lately and it’s been a few days since I had a mystery photo, there’s a reason.
I’ve been involved in two projects that have consumed much of my time. The first is an e-book on the Titanic that The Times has published, drawing entirely on our stories, with images mostly from our photo collection.
The Titanic project is unlike any other involving the centennial because it has original coverage of the disaster; the Senate inquiry; profiles of some of the survivors years later – and their obituaries; discovery of the wreckage; a review of “A Night to Remember” and heavy coverage of James Cameron’s “Titanic,” including a clash between Cameron and Times movie critic Kenneth Turan over his commentaries on the film.
All of the stories up to 1985 had to be converted to digital form (i.e. typed), so aside from the e-book, there is no way to access the early material other than ProQuest, which for most people is only available through a library.
I will warn you that the original 1912 accounts are detailed and graphic. The survivors’ stories put you on the deck of the ship and in the lifeboats. I have read many graphic news accounts in my career, but some of the Titanic coverage is as harrowing as reading the stories from 9/11.
The other interesting result of doing a book on the Titanic – which was entirely unintentional and unexpected – is to see how the chaos of the original stories was sculpted into a narrative with a beginning, a middle and an end. It is always fascinating to see which details survive, which are lost and which are changed or altered – and the fictions that are introduced in the retelling.
The Clover Club, 1930s: From left, Al Wertheimer, Spencer Tracy, Milton Page, and his father, Milton “Farmer” Page. Credit: Courtesy of Milton Page. Read about them in my column in The Times.
And no, Spencer Tracy wasn’t on the Titanic. My other project has been to do a couple of columns for The Times while Hector Tobar is on book leave. My first was on Ed Fuentes and my latest was about 1920s L.A. gambling figure “Farmer” Page and his son, Milton, 87.
Will the Times have this as a standalone section in the newspaper on Sunday? I don’t have an electronic reader, and never intend to.
@Mary: No, it’s strictly a e-book. The expense of publishing this much material in the paper or as a paperback/hardback would be prohibitive.
So I’ll never be reading it then.
@Mary and @Eve: I never considered buying an e-book until I got involved in this project and I bought a Kindle Fire to test it out. I am, after all, a book lover, as the plentiful bookcases at the Daily Mirror HQ will attest.
Reading a book on a Kindle Fire isn’t like having a printed book — but it’s not like reading a book on a computer screen, either, which is what I expected. I do like the Kindle Fire. In fact I like it a lot, although I mostly use it for e-mail and surfing the Web rather than reading books. But I made a point of reading the entire book on the Kindle Fire, and in all honesty, one you adjust to the new format, it’s fine. And unlike a printed book, you can search the text, make notes and look up things as you’re reading. It’s a different experience and in some ways pretty neat. I would suggest borrowing a friend’s and checking it out… It may not be what you think.
And, as I said, the expense and labor of doing this project as a special section or a hardback/paperback would make it impossible. The only alternative is not to do it.
Larry, after 4 years of arguing with myself, I finally bought a Kindle Touch. Since I love books so much, it was very difficult for me to buy a Kindle because I felt I was selling out and somehow contributing to the “death” of books. However, after discovering there are a ton of free books available, I’ve been reading nonstop. It was hard to give in, but I’m glad I did.
Another non-e person who will sadly have to give it a miss . . .
I’ve always thought Milton ‘Farmer’ Page would be an interesting person to know more about, thanks for writing this!
Oh, I know e-books are the wave of the future. But I plan to be dead before too much more of the future gets here, so I am not going to have to deal with it.
Hey Mary! I’m with you on the e-book thingee. Never!
Can I read Titanic on my pc, or must I buy a Kindle (fire) first?
Amazon has a program called Kindle for PC that allows you to read Kindle books on a computer. I tried it about a year ago and it works fine…. Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/IhyYtx
It’s a shame–sounds like exactly the kind of book I like. But I understand the finances of why it is impossible to produce a hard copy.
I have some of those oversized Front Page books from the 1970s: NY Times obits, Crimes, Disasters. Great for pulling off the shelf and browsing through when I should be doing something else. An L.A. Times Titanic book would have been a great addition, but those coffee-table books were a product of the 1970s, I guess, and are no longer feasible (who thought I would ever refer to the 1970s as The Good Old Days?).
To my mind, the greatest contemporary comment on the sinking came from Joseph Conrad:
“Some Reflections on the Loss of the Titanic”
available on line at:
I don’t think I have ever read as sustained a tone of cold fury. And still relevant in light of the Costa Concordia affair.
Thanks for the “Farmer” Page article. Farmer is not a person you find a lot of information about. I hope that you will do a Guy McAfee article also.
I need it to be available for the iPad! Checking every hour. Not much of a Titanic Freak but very much a Larry Freak.
will there be a review of the 20th century fox Titanic starring Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck with Roberrt Wagner and Debra Pagent?