What were they reading? A time-travelling Titanic reading list

This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The tragedy has resonated throughout the decades, inspiring novels, memoirs, films, a couple of Broadway musicals and the first episode of the wildly popular TV series Downton Abbey. Even now, the ship's fatal voyage continues to fascinate readers, and yesterday we published a reading list of new books about the Titanic.

For today's reading list, we thought we'd do some time travelling. For some reading to accompany your Titanic-themed dinner party (they happen!), try one of these books from the Edwardian era:


The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Doyle's classic adventure story began life as a serial in The Strand magazine in April of 1912. Doyle had long been well-known for his Sherlock Holmes mysteries, which were first published in the 1890s, but his adventure serial about dinosaurs was surely thrilling to any adventure-seeking young people on board -- many of whom must have arrived with an issue of The Strand in hand. Available from Penguin Canada

all story.jpgUnder the Moons of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Burroughs's popular Barsoom series (later published as A Princess of Mars, and the basis for Disney's recent epic flop John Carter) first appeared as a serial in the All-Story magazine beginning in February 1912. Available from Simon & Schuster


The Way of an Eagle by Ethel Dell

Though Dell was frequently an object of ridicule and derision by critics and writers including P.G. Wodehouse and George Orwell, her romance novels (including this one, published in 1912) were extremely popular among readers, and were considered quite racy at the time. Available from Kessinger Publishing Rare Reprints

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The Singing Bone by R. Austin Freeman

Freeman's "inverted" detective stories (in which the crime and criminal are described at the beginning of the book, so the reader initially knows more than the detective, a style that Freeman claimed to have invented) featuring his protagonist detective John Evelyn Thorndyke, were extremely popular in the first half of the 20th century. The Singing Bone was a collection of short stories featuring Thorndyke published in 1912. Available from House of Stratus

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Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn

Although it was published in 1907, Glyn's scandalous, sexy novel was a bestseller for years (and far more notable than Halcyone, the novel she did actually publish in 1912). Glyn, who later became a celebrated Hollywood screenwriter, has a more personal Titanic connection as well -- her sister, the fashion designer "Lucile" (properly known as Lady Duff Gordon) was a passenger on the liner, and a survivor of the tragedy. Available from Kessinger Publishing Rare Reprints

Now that you're up to speed on the bestsellers of the era, don't miss the Doc Zone special Titanic: The Canadian Story. You can watch it here online.