From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

Author: Caitlin Doughty

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393249905

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 224

View: 1507

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The best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with “dignity.” Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Here to Eternity is an immersive global journey that introduces compelling, powerful rituals almost entirely unknown in America. In rural Indonesia, she watches a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body, which has resided in the family home for two years. In La Paz, she meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls), and in Tokyo she encounters the Japanese kotsuage ceremony, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved-ones’ bones from cremation ashes. With boundless curiosity and gallows humor, Doughty vividly describes decomposed bodies and investigates the world’s funerary history. She introduces deathcare innovators researching body composting and green burial, and examines how varied traditions, from Mexico’s Días de los Muertos to Zoroastrian sky burial help us see our own death customs in a new light. Doughty contends that the American funeral industry sells a particular—and, upon close inspection, peculiar—set of “respectful” rites: bodies are whisked to a mortuary, pumped full of chemicals, and entombed in concrete. She argues that our expensive, impersonal system fosters a corrosive fear of death that hinders our ability to cope and mourn. By comparing customs, she demonstrates that mourners everywhere respond best when they help care for the deceased, and have space to participate in the process. Exquisitely illustrated by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the morbid unknown, a story about the many fascinating ways people everywhere have confronted the very human challenge of mortality.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory

Author: Caitlin Doughty

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393245950

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 256

View: 8814

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“Morbid and illuminating” (Entertainment Weekly)—a young mortician goes behind the scenes of her curious profession. Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures. Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn’t know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like? Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin's engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).

Rest in Pieces

The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses

Author: Bess Lovejoy

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1451654987

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 329

View: 8244

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The writer and researcher behind the best-selling Schott's Almanac presents a whimsically macabre collection of tales about the posthumous adventures of famous remains, from the dynasty founded by Alexander the Great's corpse to the American road trip taken by Einstein's brain.

Greening Death

Reclaiming Burial Practices and Restoring Our Tie to the Earth

Author: Suzanne Kelly

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 1442241578

Category: Social Science

Page: 240

View: 3640

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Over the last fifteen years, people have been slowly waking up to the toxic and alienating practices that have come to make up the American Way of Death. Greening Death explores this awakening, arguing that beyond the greener and more cost-efficient practices of the Green Burial Movement lies an even greater promise—tying us back to the earth.

Death and the Afterlife

A Chronological Journey, from Cremation to Quantum Resurrection

Author: Clifford A. Pickover

Publisher: Sterling

ISBN: 9781454914341

Category: Social Science

Page: 224

View: 6566

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Throughout history, the mystery of death has captivated artists, scientists, philosophers, physicians, and theologians. This eerie chronology ventures to the borderlines of science and sheds light into the darkness, exploring such diverse topics as the Maya death gods, golems, sEances, zombies, and quantum immortality. With the turn of every page, readers will encounter beautiful artwork and unexpected insights about death and what may lie beyond.

The Way We Die Now

The View from Medicine's Front Line

Author: Seamus O'Mahony

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 125011280X

Category: Social Science

Page: 320

View: 6081

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We have lost the ability to deal with death. Most of our friends and beloved relations will die in a busy hospital in the care of strangers, doctors, and nurses they have known at best for a couple of weeks. They may not even know they are dying, victims of the kindly lie that there is still hope. They are unlikely to see even their family doctor in their final hours, robbed of their dignity and fed through a tube after a long series of excessive and hopeless medical interventions. This is the starting point of Seamus O’Mahony’s The Way We Die Now, a thoughtful, moving and unforgettable book on the western way of death. Dying has never been more public, with celebrities writing detailed memoirs of their illness, but in private we have done our best to banish all thought of dying and made a good death increasingly difficult to achieve.

The Good Death

Author: Ann Neumann

Publisher: Beacon Press

ISBN: 0807076996

Category: History

Page: 248

View: 2937

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"Following the death of her father, journalist and hospice volunteer Ann Neumann sets out to examine what it means to die well in the United States. If a good death exists, what does it look like? This question lies at the heart of Neumann's rigorously researched and intimately told journey along the ultimate borderland of American life: American death. From church basements to hospital wards to prison cells, Neumann charts the social, political, religious, and medical landscape to explore how we die today. The Good Death weaves personal accounts with a historical exploration of the movements and developments that have changed the ways we experience death. With the diligence of a journalist and the compassion of a caregiver, Neumann provides a portrait of death in the United States that is humane, beautifully written, and essential to our greater understanding of the future of end-of-life care"--

Ghostland

An American History in Haunted Places

Author: Colin Dickey

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101980206

Category: History

Page: 336

View: 7285

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Dickey, piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and "zombie houses," embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places. With boundless curiosity, Dickey conjures the dead by focusing on questions of the living -- how do we deal with stories about ghosts, and how do we inhabit and move through spaces that have been deemed haunted? Paying attention not only to the true facts behind a ghost story, but also to the ways in which changes are made to those facts and why, Dickey paints a version of American history left out of the textbooks, one of things left undone and crimes left unsolved.

Good Life, Good Death

The Memoir of a Right to Die Pioneer

Author: Derek Humphry

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

ISBN: 1631440675

Category: Self-Help

Page: 352

View: 4396

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The author of the New York Times bestseller Final Exit tells of his transformation into one of the world’s most renowned assisted suicide advocates. For nearly four decades, Derek Humphry has blazed a trail for the right-to-die movement. He founded the Hemlock Society, pioneered Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, and wrote the bestselling books Final Exit (more than one million copies sold) and Jean’s Way (a UK bestseller). In Good Life, Good Death, readers will learn how the twists and turns of fate led him to his life’s purpose. In his poignant memoir, Derek tells of his broken family, his wartime experiences as a boy in England, and rising to the highest rungs of journalism on two continents. In 1975, he lived with crippling fear and sadness when his beloved wife, Jean, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. As the disease gradually spread, they both decided that Jean would end her own life on her own terms. Readers will witness the personal pain and emotional distress they endured, as well as the legal repercussions Derek faced following her death. To know why Derek has maintained this struggle for choice in dying—against powerful religious and political forces—it is necessary to understand the whole man. In Good Life, Good Death, readers will appreciate the fight he has gone through so that others might consider the option of dying with dignity.

Making an Exit

From the Magnificent to the Macabre---How We Dignify the Dead

Author: Sarah Murray

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1429989297

Category: Social Science

Page: 320

View: 401

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Thoughtful, amusing, and provocative, Making an Exit will transform the way you look at life's last passage. Because, as Murray discovers, death is, for many, not an ending but the start of something new. Author and journalist Sarah Murray never gave much thought to what might ultimately happen to her remains—that was, until her father died. While he'd always insisted that the "organic matter" left after a person takes their last breath had no significance, he surprised his family by setting down elaborate arrangements for the scattering of his own ashes. This unexpected last request prompted Murray to embark on a series of voyages to discover how our end is commemorated around the globe—and how we approach our own mortality. Spanning continents and centuries, Making an Exit is Murray's exploration of the extraordinary creativity unleashed when we seek to dignify the dead. Along the way, she encounters a cremation in Bali in which two royal personages are placed in giant decorative bulls and consigned to the afterlife in a burst of flames; a chandelier in the Czech Republic made entirely from human bones; a weeping ceremony in Iran; and a Philippine village where the casketed dead are left hanging in caves. She even goes to Ghana to commission her own fantasy coffin. The accounts of these journeys are fascinating, poignant, and funny. But this is also a very personal quest: on her travels, Murray is seeking inspiration for her own eventual send-off.

The Hunting Accident

A True Story of Crime and Poetry

Author: David L. Carlson

Publisher: First Second Books

ISBN: 1626726760

Category: Comics & Graphic Novels

Page: 464

View: 3497

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It was a hunting accident—that much Charlie is sure of. That's how his father, Matt Rizzo—a gentle intellectual who writes epic poems in Braille—had lost his vision. It’s not until Charlie’s troubled teenage years, when he’s facing time for his petty crimes, that he learns the truth. Matt Rizzo was blinded by a shotgun blast to the face—but it was while participating in an armed robbery. Newly blind and without hope, Matt began his bleak new life at Stateville Prison. But in this unlikely place, Matt's life and very soul were saved by one of America's most notorious killers: Nathan Leopold Jr., of the infamous Leopold and Loeb. From David Carlson and Landis Blair comes the unbelievable true story of a father, a son, and remarkable journey from despair to enlightenment.

The Dark Flood Rises

A Novel

Author: Margaret Drabble

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374715769

Category: Fiction

Page: 336

View: 9209

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From the great British novelist Dame Margaret Drabble comes a vital and audacious tale about the many ways in which we confront aging and living in a time of geopolitical rupture. Francesca Stubbs has an extremely full life. A highly regarded expert on housing for the elderly who is herself getting on in age, she drives “restlessly round England,” which is “her last love . . . She wants to see it all before she dies.” Amid the professional conferences that dominate her schedule, she fits in visits to old friends, brings home cooked dinners to her ailing ex-husband, texts her son, who is grieving over the shocking death of his girlfriend, and drops in on her daughter, a quirky young woman who lives in a flood plain in the West Country. Fran cannot help but think of her mortality, but she is “not ready to settle yet, with a cat upon her knee.” She still prizes her “frisson of autonomy,” her belief in herself as a dynamic individual doing meaningful work in the world. The Dark Flood Rises moves between Fran’s interconnected group of family and friends in England and a seemingly idyllic expat community in the Canary Islands. In both places, disaster looms. In Britain, the flood tides are rising, and in the Canaries, there is always the potential for a seismic event. As well, migrants are fleeing an increasingly war-torn Middle East. Though The Dark Flood Rises delivers the pleasures of a traditional novel, it is clearly situated in the precarious present. Margaret Drabble’s latest enthralls, entertains, and asks existential questions in equal measure. Alas, there is undeniable truth in Fran’s insight: “Old age, it’s a fucking disaster!”

The Chick and the Dead

Life and Death Behind Mortuary Doors

Author: Carla Valentine

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 1250120691

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 272

View: 8735

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Carla Valentine works with the dead. After studying forensics, she assisted pathologists with post-mortems for years before becoming the curator of the world’s most famous pathology museum. When it comes to death, she truly is an expert, and in this book she shares that expertise. Using the most common post-mortem process as the backbone of the narrative, The Chick and the Dead takes the reader through the process of an autopsy while also describing the history and changing cultures of our relationship with the dead. The book is full of vivid insight into what happens to our bodies in the end. Each chapter considers an aspect of an autopsy alongside an aspect of Carla’s own life and work and touches on some of the more controversial aspects of our feelings towards death, including the relationship between sex and death and our attitudes toward human tissue collection. Starting with the first cut, we move from external examination into the body itself, discovering more about the heart, stomach and brain, and into dismembered and reconstructed bodies, at each stage taking a colorful detour into the question of what these things can teach us about the living. Join Carla on the journey from microscope-requesting nine-year-old to pathology educator and death engager at a Victorian museum (a journey made via around 5,000 autopsies) as she tells the story of exactly what it’s like to live a life immersed in death.

The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

ISBN: 9780307433848

Category: Young Adult Fiction

Page: 592

View: 7373

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DON’T MISS BRIDGE OF CLAY, MARKUS ZUSAK’S FIRST NOVEL SINCE THE BOOK THIEF. The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul. When Death has a story to tell, you listen. It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time. “The kind of book that can be life-changing.” —The New York Times “Deserves a place on the same shelf with The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.” —USA Today

Salt Is For Curing

Author: Sonya Vatomsky

Publisher: Sator Press

ISBN: 0983243743

Category: Poetry

Page: 80

View: 4746

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Ariana Reines, author of Mercury, said: "Sonya Vatomsky's Salt Is For Curing is many things: a feast, a grimoire, a fairy tale world, the real world. It's also too smart for bullshit and too graceful to be mean about the bullshit: a marvelous debut. I love it." Salt Is For Curing is the lush and haunting full-length debut by Sonya Vatomsky. These poems, structured as an elaborate meal, conjure up a vapor of earthly pains and magical desires; like the most enduring rituals, Vatomsky’s poems both intoxicate and ward. A new blood moon in American poetry, Salt Is For Curing is surprising, disturbing, and spookily illuminating. Juliet Escoria, author of Black Cloud, said: "Imagine bodies within bodies eating a feast, spilling over with their own secrets and hopes and dreams and fears and brutality and witchery. That is the party you will find in this book—a modern-day, literary equivalent of a Bosch painting." Mike Young, author of Sprezzatura, said: "These poems melt the hard fat of life into tallow candles, then they reach up and light themselves."

From Eternity to Here

Author: Sean Carroll

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

ISBN: 1851688900

Category: Science

Page: 448

View: 372

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Twenty years after Stephen Hawking's 9-million-copy selling A Brief History of Time, pioneering theoretical physicist Sean Carroll takes our investigation into the nature of time to the next level. You can't unscramble an egg and you can't remember the future. But what if time doesn't (or didn't!) always go in the same direction? Carroll's paradigm-shifting research suggests that other universes experience time running in the opposite direction to our own. Exploring subjects from entropy and quantum mechanics to time travel and the meaning of life, Carroll presents a dazzling new view of how we came to exist.

The Butchering Art

Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine

Author: Lindsey Fitzharris

Publisher: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374117292

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 304

View: 3771

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"Warning: She spares no detail!" —Erik Larson, bestselling author of Dead Wake A Top 10 Science Book of Fall 2017, Publishers Weekly "Fascinating and shocking." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) The gripping story of how Joseph Lister’s antiseptic method changed medicine forever In The Butchering Art, the historian Lindsey Fitzharris reveals the shocking world of nineteenth-century surgery on the eve of profound transformation. She conjures up early operating theaters—no place for the squeamish—and surgeons, working before anesthesia, who were lauded for their speed and brute strength. These medical pioneers knew that the aftermath of surgery was often more dangerous than their patients’ afflictions, and they were baffled by the persistent infections that kept mortality rates stubbornly high. At a time when surgery couldn’t have been more hazardous, an unlikely figure stepped forward: a young, melancholy Quaker surgeon named Joseph Lister, who would solve the deadly riddle and change the course of history. Fitzharris dramatically recounts Lister’s discoveries in gripping detail, culminating in his audacious claim that germs were the source of all infection—and could be countered by antiseptics. Focusing on the tumultuous period from 1850 to 1875, she introduces us to Lister and his contemporaries—some of them brilliant, some outright criminal—and takes us through the grimy medical schools and dreary hospitals where they learned their art, the deadhouses where they studied anatomy, and the graveyards they occasionally ransacked for cadavers. Eerie and illuminating, The Butchering Art celebrates the triumph of a visionary surgeon whose quest to unite science and medicine delivered us into the modern world.

Confessions of a Funeral Director

How the Business of Death Saved My Life

Author: Caleb Wilde

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN: 0062465260

Category: Social Science

Page: 208

View: 3141

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The blogger behind Confessions of a Funeral Director—what Time magazine called a "must read"—reflects on mortality and the powerful lessons death holds for every one of us in this compassionate and thoughtful spiritual memoir that combines the humor and insight of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes with the poignancy and brevity of When Breath Becomes Air. We are a people who deeply fear death. While humans are biologically wired to evade death for as long as possible, we have become too adept at hiding from it, vilifying it, and—when it can be avoided no longer—letting the professionals take over. Sixth-generation funeral director Caleb Wilde understands this reticence and fear. He had planned to get as far away from the family business as possible. He wanted to make a difference in the world, and how could he do that if all the people he worked with were . . . dead? Slowly, he discovered that caring for the deceased and their loved ones was making a difference—in other people’s lives to be sure, but it also seemed to be saving his own. A spirituality of death began to emerge as he observed: The family who lovingly dressed their deceased father for his burial The act of embalming a little girl that offered a gift back to her grieving family The nursing home that honored a woman’s life by standing in procession as her body was taken away The funeral that united a conflicted community Through stories like these, told with equal parts humor and poignancy, Wilde offers an intimate look into the business and a new perspective on living and dying

Every Third Thought

On Life, Death, and the Endgame

Author: Robert McCrum

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

ISBN: 1509815317

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: N.A

View: 4521

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As read on BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week 'Moving, intellectual and unsentimental. I think it will become a classic' Melvyn Bragg 'Thoughtful, subtle, elegantly clever and oddly joyous, Every Third Thought is beautiful' Kate Mosse In 1995, at the age of forty-two, Robert McCrum suffered a dramatic and near-fatal stroke. Since that life-changing event, McCrum has lived in the shadow of death, unavoidably aware of his own mortality. And now, in his sixties, he is noticing a change: his friends are joining him there. Death has become his contemporaries’ every third thought. And so, with the words of McCrum’s favourite authors as travel companions, Every Third Thought takes us on a journey towards death itself. This is a deeply personal book of reflection and conversation – with brain surgeons, psychologists, hospice workers and patients, writers and poets, and it confronts an existential question: in a world where we have learnt to live well at all costs, can we make peace with dying?

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes

A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology

Author: Cory O'Brien

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101619678

Category: Humor

Page: 304

View: 5227

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Get this: Cronus liked to eat babies. Narcissus probably should have just learned to masturbate. Odin got construction discounts with bestiality. Isis had bad taste in jewelry. Ganesh was the very definition of an unplanned pregnancy. And Abraham was totally cool about stabbing his kid in the face. All our lives, we’ve been fed watered-down, PC versions of the classic myths. In reality, mythology is more screwed up than a schizophrenic shaman doing hits of unidentified…wait, it all makes sense now. In Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes, Cory O’Brien, creator of Myths RETOLD!, sets the stories straight. These are rude, crude, totally sacred texts told the way they were meant to be told: loudly, and with lots of four-letter words. Skeptical? Here are a few more gems to consider: • Zeus once stuffed an unborn fetus inside his thigh to save its life after he exploded its mother by being too good in bed. • The entire Egyptian universe was saved because Sekhmet just got too hammered to keep murdering everyone. • The Hindu universe is run by a married couple who only stop murdering in order to throw sweet dance parties…on the corpses of their enemies. • The Norse goddess Freyja once consented to a four-dwarf gangbang in exchange for one shiny necklace. And there’s more dysfunctional goodness where that came from.