Some friends and I were hanging out in the school library, and noticed a book on a nearby shelf called "A Night to Remember." In typical pre-adolescent fashion we joked about it being a dirty book, but I was curious and picked it out.
Roughly 35 years later, it still holds me. I re-read it again last night. Hundreds of books have been written about the Titanic, but this one still trumps them all. Likely because it tells human stories, not just a summary, and was based on many interviews.
I'd never heard of the Titanic before that book, and the story certainly has changed the direction of my interests.
Walter Lord, in my opinion, was likely the best historical writer of all time. I never met him, but wish I had. If you've never read any of his books, you should. "Day or Infamy" and "Incredible Victory" are both excellent, too (there are many others). He had an amazing ability to tell stories through the eyes of people who were actually there, not just quoting the facts, and his many interviews with eyewitnesses give you a whole new perspective on historical events.
If you like "A Night to Remember" I also recommend "The Night Lives On," where he re-examines many of the legends and stories about the Titanic for clearer answers of what happened during the tragedy.