After not seeing many articles online that caught my interest for a while, there have been several suddenly. This one in particular set off my imagination.

It offers some quite funny speculation about what books might have been taken aboard the Titanic, and the likelihood that any one book’s weight would have made the literal difference between sink or swim. Life or death. Sheer survival.

Of course, that set me off into wondering how likely it was that even the staunchest booklover would go overboard clutching a tome they just couldn’t bear to leave behind. That’s taking the “I simply couldn’t put it down” thing a bit too far.

Though I have heard of traumatic shock making people do stranger things. Like the man on the bombed Arizona inordinately worried about the shoes he’d just polished and set down to dry.

I love books enough that I can’t be entirely certain I wouldn’t take one into the lifeboat (if I’d been one of the lucky passengers with a shot at a place in one). I doubt anyone would have the inclination to try to read by the light of a sinking ship, however.

The article includes a list of bestsellers from the early 1900s. Likely candidates to have been tucked into some dowager’s trunk. One of them, anyway.

We’ve all seen the cars being hoisted onboard by an elaborate contraption made of ropes and pulleys. Those well-traveled automobiles alone could have had a treasure trove of hardcover delight stowed away in every boot or glovebox. Excess spillover kicked out of the massive amounts of luggage reserved for enough luxurious wardrobe to make a movie…oh, wait, that’s the James Cameron extravaganza version.

I’m talking about the real life what if. The one where my favorite E. M. Forster novel, Howards End, was a bestseller of the time. The bit about the bastion of Anthony Hopkins’ forehead just might have enticed me to take it right over the rail, entrenched in a terror induced need to find out if that forehead would in time tempt Emma Thompson to marry the man who owned it.

Obviously, it doesn’t take one of the most horrific real life maritime disasters to stir up a blendered  ramble about history, fine literature, cinematic splendour, and a heavy dose of pop culture. It helps though when a single such incident captures the world’s imagination so that a century later it has gathered to its memory all of the above.

Another book on the list was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Considering my Wicked induced fascination with all things Oz, including L. Frank Baum, I probably would have tried to exit the sinking Titanic clutching more than one book.

If you think about it hard enough, and a bit sideways, being an extreme lover of books could be a dangerous way to live. And under  circumstances most irregular and unforeseen, quite possibly the second greatest potential hazard when traveling by unsinkable luxury liner.

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