Renee’s Deadly Book List
Recommendations in no particular order:
A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore, a science fiction fantasy novel that looks at death with a combination of humor and respect. The protagonist, a self proclaimed “beta male” discovers that he has been given the role of death, and it is one dirty job. This one made me both laugh out loud and cry. It gives a nice glimpse of hospice workers, to whom the book is dedicated.
On Life After Death by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: an inspirational, encouraging collection of talks given by the acclaimed Dr. Ross who, to the chagrin of her colleagues, saw dead people. Comforting, spiritual and uplifting.
Stiff, The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach, a journalist’s exploration of cadaver research through recent history. Graphic and informative, for the curious, not the squeamish.
The Shadow Line by Joseph Conrad, profound and lyrical portrait of man’s vulnerability to disease and triumph of the human spirit under difficulty. Allows reader to take a good solid look at mortality through the lens of poetry.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Philosophy professor expounds on the meaning of life and our biological destiny (death) through alternating journal entries of a precocious twelve year old girl and that of an audodidact concierge living in the same Parisian apartment building. Lots of delicious literary and cultural references, this book leads you down a brilliant path that engages your intellect and emotions in equal measure.
Grave Matters, A Journey through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Modern Way of Burial, by Mark Harris, a wonderful exposition of alternative funeral and burial choices. Great resource for planning final arrangements.
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. Set in New Orleans, Seattle and Paris, with a time frame that spans infinity, the main character is a perfume that holds a key to immortality. Robbins’ language drips with sensorial imagery that you can smell, taste and touch.