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updated: 2/3/2012 2:49 PM

One Book, One Batavia focuses on the Titanic

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  • Video: Sue Keller plays ragtime music

Submitted by Batavia Public Library

At 11:40 p.m. April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean and within 2˝ hours the great ship sank, resulting in a loss of more than 1,500 lives.

In remembrance of this historical tragedy, the 1955 book "A Night to Remember" by Walter Lord has been named the One Book, One Batavia 2012 selection. The book is nonfiction but it reads like an adventure story and remains one of the best accounts ever written about the Titanic disaster.

During February and March, Batavia Public Library will offer a number of programs related to the Titanic and the era of traveling by luxury liner.

"Ragtime Piano with Sue Keller" will be presented at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, in the library meeting room, 10 S. Batavia Ave. Keller has treated audiences to her piano and vocal performances throughout the world. Her appearances have ranged from the grand opening of Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston Harbor, to the fabled Mikado nightclub in Tokyo, across the continent of Australia, and to the Great Wall of China.

The library's February book discussion will feature "A Night to Remember." Copies of the book are available for check out at the library. Participants are asked to read the book prior to the 7:30 p.m. discussion Tuesday, Feb. 14. A discussion guide developed by the Batavia High School English II Honors class is also available at the Reference Desk for interested readers.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, actress Leslie Goddard will portray "Violet Jessop: Titanic Survivor." Jessop was a stewardess aboard the Titanic and lived to also survive the sinking of the Titanic's sister ship, the HMHS Britannic, in 1916. Goddard brings Jessop to life as she tells vivid stories of the disasters from the viewpoint of a crew member and shares a glimpse at life aboard the most glamorous luxury liners of their day.

"Peter Oprisko Sings Songs of the Titanic Era" will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4. Chicago-based Oprisko has been described as the "American Michael Bublé," and his smooth, baritone voice and knowledge of musical history have impressed audiences throughout the country.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, March 11, the library will host "Titanic Fashion." Costume historian Sandi Eileen Sheibley discusses and displays clothing, accessories, and jewelry popular in 1912.

The One Book, One Batavia 2012 schedule concludes March 15, when historical dramatist R.J. Lindsey gives two presentations related to the Titanic at the library.

At noon during his Books Between Bites presentation, Lindsey discusses the research required to create his portrayal of New York Times Managing Editor Carr Van Anda reacting to the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

Then, at 7 p.m., Lindsey portrays Van Anda as he hears of the disaster. Lindsey, as Van Anda, presents a slide show of the Titanic, from its construction to its final hours, and takes a personal look at the stories of several passengers from first, second, and third class.

All programs are free. Reservations are required, except for Books Between Bites and the book discussion. For more information and to register, call (630) 879-1393, ext. 200, or register online at