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Even after its sinking on an icy cold April night long ago in 1912, the Titanic has proved to be an unsinkable story of human tragedy.
Indeed, The RMS Titanic lives on as a cautionary tale of what can go wrong when ego and monetary concerns overpower responsibility and safety. This tragic tale endlessly fascinates us despite the ship’s loss to the icy depths of the Atlantic over a century ago. The ill-fated Titanic is the subject of many books such as the definitive A Night to Remember by Walter Lord (1956) and Titanic, An Illustrated History by Don Lynch (1992). It features in Stephen Weir’s book, History’s Worst Decisions and is even the inspiration for a children’s book called Polar, the Titanic Bear, about the actual teddy bear of a little boy who survived the sinking. Speaking of which, there is one last book I just have to mention that is also a fascinating read. Shadow of the Titanic follows the lives of the survivors of that terrible night. Interestingly, most of them had sad lives and many died young and even quite soon after the event. The little boy who owned the teddy bear died in a family car crash within a year and is just one example of the long shadow that the Titanic cast over people’s lives. Some folk never recovered from family losses while others bore survivor’s guilt that prevented their happiness.
Yes, the Titanic story is one that keeps on giving. There is so much to fascinate, so many lessons about human nature to appreciate.
As a long-time enthusiast of all things Victorian, the story interested me long before the blockbuster 1997 Titanic film produced by James Cameron. I had already watched the earlier film starring Barbara Stanwick and seen and read films and books where the Titanic had sailed in, creating a setting for many tragic storylines. I confess to Titanic jigsaws and scale models as well.
But all the tragedy could have been averted if someone like Bruce Ismay, Captain Smith or the ship builder, Thomas Andrew had read another book by a little-known author named Morgan Robertson. In 1898, he wrote a novel about a transatlantic liner loaded with the rich and famous that hit an iceberg near Newfoundland at similar co-ordinates. The ship, eerily called the Titan had very similar specifications to the actual Titanic.
If only someone had read this book, aptly titled Futility.
It is telling of human nature that we are drawn to details of tragedies. Perhaps it is because there is so much to take away and reflect on. The factors that caused the tragedy are themselves endlessly fascinating. In this instance there were a myriad of fateful errors both human and natural. Titanic was steaming ahead in an ill-fated race with Time itself. Captain, Edward Smith confidently ordered her throttled into full steam so she could arrive in New York ahead of schedule. He along with Bruce Ismay, director of White Star Line wanted to showcase her capabilities as the biggest ship ever to sail the seas. It was Smith’s last commission at sea so this would be a fitting end to his career. A timely six day crossing of the Atlantic was important for both men.
Neither man seemed concerned by reported ice warnings in the ocean ahead, nor overly mindful of their responsibility to the cargo of 2240passengers, despite the paucity of lifeboats. The Titanic had everything anyone could want on board a ship except lifeboats. Even at two thirds capacity of its possible number of passengers there were only enough for 1178 people, leaving 1023 others stranded. That is only too if the lifeboats were fully loaded which was definitely not the case. Many that could take 65 people, left with less than twenty aboard. Some of these fortunate were extremely wealthy and influential women along with children and even first-class men. Most second and third-class passengers went down with the ship.
If it were not for the speed, the inattention to ice, the lowered bulkheads, the limited life-boats, the missing binoculars on the watch deck, the steel, the pop rivets, the last-minute attempt to swerve around the iceberg…. So may ‘ifs, so many factors that coalesced to cause tragedy.
Then apart from the ship’s construction, the speed and human factors there was the bad luck that the only nearby ship, the Californian turned off its telegram service and retired all staff to bed. Even after sighting a flare rocket. ‘We thought it was a just a party,’ the captain claimed in defense. Words that went down in history like those of Captain Smith. ‘I cannot imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.’
There is so much more I could write about this Titanic subject. Many have. Instead, I chose some human-interest snippets to include in two chapters of my historical fiction novel, Whispers through Time. This book is based on my grandparent’s journey from London to Australia on a steamer ship, the Rangatira in June 1912, just months after the sinking of the ill-fated liner. The tragedy was recent news. It is a wonder they still travelled into the ice infested waters of the southern oceans. But they did and even retraced the journey two years later through U boat infested waters to return to England as grandfather was called into military service. He was still part of the British Army, having served already in the Boer Wars when he was just sixteen. Their story continues on in the sequel released this year, Time, Heal my Heart.
Follow my history blogs on https://joniscottauthor.com
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Have you ever wondered why so many people read books? There are a significant number of benefits for reading a good book. These benefits range from improving your mental and physical health, to creating good healthy habits. Books have been around for so many years and they are not about to go away (thankfully).
Let’s take a look at the benefits of reading where you will definitely be inspired to pick up a book and start reading:
There have been countless studies done around this and it has shown that by staying mentally stimulated it can slow down the progress of (or maybe even prevent) Alzheimer’s and Dementia, the reason for this is that if you keep your brain active and engaged it prevents you from losing power.
Your brain, like any other muscle in your body requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy. As the saying goes “use it or lose it” is especially relevant when it comes to your mind.
When you read a book, you are learning new pieces of information that your brain retains and you never know when this one piece of information will become handy! Knowledge can never be taken away from you.
Each time you read a book you will come across a word that you may have not heard of or perhaps you don’t quite understand what it means. Always keep a dictionary handy to look these words up. This will help your vocabulary expand over time, these words that you learn will begin to integrate themselves into your everyday vocabulary.
The one way you can do this is by reading more, it will expose you to new words and these new words will end up in your everyday vocabulary. Being articulate and well-spoken is very helpful in any profession, and it will boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Reading helps to lower your stress levels which also stimulates the part of your brain that deals with depression. By reading, you are actually focusing on the present story and not on the things that cause you to be depressed.
People that write understand how important it is to read. No matter what kind of writing you do, doing lots of reading will improve your writing skills and abilities. Many writers are big readers, when you concentrate on the way a book is written, you can take on these styles which will improve your writing skills.
Reading is a great way to help you have a good night’s sleep. You may not fall asleep instantly, however, it will improve your overall sleep pattern and restfulness. Reading is a great way to relax and unwind. Reading at the end of your day is a great way to relax and ensure that you will get a good night’s sleep. It will help you to de-stress from all the things that happened to you during the day, allowing for you to completely unwind and help you have a restful sleep.
Reading a little bit each day will improve your focus and memory function. It allows you to stimulate your brain, especially the part of your brain that helps with memory and attention. When you are reading, your brain retains information about what you are reading about. This means that the part of your brain that controls your memory is being stimulated which results in improved memory.
Your focus improves because it is strengthened when you read as it requires focus. Each time to exercise this part of your brain you are improving the overall function of your memory and focus.
As we know, reading can be a way to entertain yourself, however, it is also very good to help you lower your stress levels. The reason this happens is because you are focusing on the story and not what is going on around you. It immediately pulls you into another world and new characters. You are allowing yourself to be taken into their story where you can stop, breathe and relax. Reading will lower your stress levels and make you feel much better mentally as well as physically.
Your imagination is a very powerful tool that can be helpful in all aspects of life. Having a good imagination allows us to be more empathetic to people. Reading often will increase your imagination, because when we get lost in a good book our imagination is stimulated by seeing all the places and people in the book just by reading the words.
Reading about different cultures will allow you to see how others live and differ from how you live. Books allow you to see life from a completely different perspective. Books can also give great ideas, and they are very educational on so many different levels.
The benefits of reading a good book is not just entertaining, it is also beneficial both mentally and physically. Reading is a tool towards a healthy lifestyle, so what are you waiting for?
What are you reading currently and how is it of benefit to you?
Writing and publishing your book has many benefits that you may or may not realise. I will share some of these below in the hope that you may find something on this list that you have not ventured into as yet.
Let’s first look at the unexpected rewards you receive when you become a published author:
Now let’s take a look at the marketing benefits of being an author:
Think about what you want to achieve with your book and then look at the information in this article to see how you can start to develop a marketing and promotional plan for your book.
What benefits have you received by being an author?