Too overwhelmed to sit and relax? Scattered papers and bills line the shelf, dishes pile up with leftovers in the sink, books are thrown in the corner in no particular order. Your email inbox is filled with correspondence you forgot to answer? Each day ticks by and your avoidance grows substantially with the mess. Drop the wine and pick up one of these books. Better yet, keep the wine in one hand and the book in the other.

"Yet first on the list of things I’d like to forget is the night… and the memory of my first partial body recovery…

The smell got stronger. The sergeant and McCaffrey seemed unaffected, but it overwhelmed me. I kept trying to recover from it but I felt frozen as the sergeant pulled the front of the bag open. I forced myself to look inside. The body had been so severely burned that there was no form from the waist up. The tendons and the bones had no skin to enclose them. There was a length of wire visible within what has once been a torso. The wire appeared similar to the kind of remote microphones normally worn on a shoulder so the officer could speak directly into it…

I touched the body. My hands felt pulled into it, and I started to do my job because we had to know the answers to the basic questions- who is this, who does he belong to, how do we get him to his family. I was having a hard time. I concentrated on pushing back the blackness creeping over me. My brain was telling my eyes not to see what they saw, telling me not to feel what I was touching, not to smell what I couldn’t stop smelling.”


Closure by Lt. William Keegan, Jr. with Bart Davis

By now, you’re making Thanksgiving plans unless you’re anything like me who needs to split Turkey Day three ways. The holidays are always intense, emotional, and (hopefully) full of incredible food and great company. No matter who you’re celebrating with, make sure you pick up a new release. Here at Riffle, we are thankful for books and people like you who support them! Try a new release to take the edge off of that Turkey Day food coma. Tweet me good book recommendations and holiday recipes @rifflenonfict

The South tower had already collapsed when I walked in the door that morning. I’d seen the thick plume of smoke blanket the city on my way home. A friend’s parent picked some friends and me up early from our first day of high school. My younger siblings huddled by the television watching the collapse over and over; looping images of destruction. Inside the kitchen were my parents. My mother held onto my father as they listened to the news. I heard the hum of my father’s police radio turned low. It stood tall and still, like a soldier, watching him from the table. “If they’re not calling you in, please,” my mother begged him. “Think of the kids. Please stay.” My father had just turned 39 years old. He was coming up on retirement after 20 years in the NYPD. He had five children from the ages of 3 to 14. And I was his eldest. He was still a sergeant in the housing department, patiently waiting to be transferred back to his beloved Truck in Emergency Services where “the real action was.” He would get more than he bargained for. My father raced into Manhattan as soon as the North tower fell. He would spend the next nine months in “the pit,” as he called it. In February of 2002, I asked him what he was still doing there. I expected the recovery effort to be over. At my age, I couldn’t imagine what was keeping him from us—his family. “Thumbs,” he said. “Fingers.” He left me, headed upstairs to sleep before he was due back at Ground Zero again. My father rarely spoke about his experiences after 9/11. I turned to these informative books to learn about the rescue worker’s role at Ground Zero. Click through to read about what he, and many like him, dealt with—from the loss of family, coworkers, the search to find them, and the struggle to return to a normal life— in one of the country’s most important recovery operations. Any comments or additions for this list? Tweet me @rifflenonfict