NIGHTSTAND: STEPHEN SPIGNESI
To mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, we caught up with Spignesi, whose book Titanic for Dummies came out in February. This is the second Titanic book for Spignesi; in 1998, he released The Complete Titanic: From the Ship's Earliest Blueprints to the Epic Film. Spignesi says Titanic for Dummies is for the two extremes of readers. "It's for the ones who do not know a lot about the Titanic and want to quickly get into the information, as well as the ones who know a lot but who want an endless amount of details.'' His next book, Grover Cleveland's Rubber Jaw and Other Unusual, Unexpected, Unbelievable but All-True Facts About America's Presidents, will be published in May.
What's on your nightstand?
Several. I am re-reading the Stephen King Dark Tower series, Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl and Napoleon's Hemorrhoids by Phil Mason. I'm considering a potential book on ailments of historical figures. I'm also reading Truman by David McCullough, Psychic Exploration by Edgar Mitchell, and I'm re-reading A Night to Remember by Walter Lord.
Do you still consider A Night to Remember the definitive book on the Titanic?
It boils down to certain years that mean a lot when it comes to people's interest and what they know concerning the Titanic. They are 1912, the year it sunk; 1955, the year Walter Lord wrote A Night to Remember; 1997, the year James Cameron released his movie. The research that went into Lord's book is incredible.
I notice The Unsinkable Molly Brown is not on that short list.
I absolutely loathe Unsinkable Molly Brown. It's so over the top.
As for Stephen King, have you read his John F. Kennedy book yet?
Yes, I've read 11/22/63. I loved it. I love his paranormal twist. I love "what if'' stories.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer