Friday, January 23, 2015

PARTING WAYS: BOOKS ABOUT DEATH AND DYING



The assortment of newer books about death and dying is quite intriguing and many titles on this sometimes uncomfortable topic can be found on the shelves at the Monrovia Public Library.
In his bestselling book Being Mortal Dr. Atul Gawande tackles the much-discussed topic of how the medical profession treats aged and dying patients with often unwanted procedures and pills. 

Commenting on how quality of life issues are negated for the elderly, who are often treated as children, he also looks at how attempts to “fix” patients denies the natural course of death. The book provides food for thought for all readers and for those currently caring for family members. The classic How We Die by Sherwin Nuland is another excellent book on the same topic.

From the dying to the dead. With a degree in medieval history, hipster Caitlin Doughty found her calling as a mortician. Her memoir Smoke Gets In Your Eyes throws open the doors on funerals, crematories and preparing the departed for final rest. The host of the web program Ask a Mortician has written a clever book that is both morbidly amusing and endlessly informative. 

Humorous and gentle, The Ten Top Things Dead People Want to Tell You by Mike Dooley is really about empowering the living to be less afraid of death and live more in the present. Also meant to help quiet the pain for people who have lost loved ones, the book addresses such issues as what happens after death, whether beloved pets are waiting and how those who passed on were ready to go.

 And finally, Condolences and Eulogies: Finding the Perfect Words by Bettyanne Gillette addresses the issue of never knowing what to say when someone dies.

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