Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish, where bloggers share their top ten responses to a given theme. I tend to stick to lists of five!
Whenever Halloween rolls around, it seems like every flat surface is festooned with fake skeletons and tombstones. If there was ever an appropriate time of year to read about death, this is it! (While you’re at it: bonus points for a good Wednesday Addams impression…)
- Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
- Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, and Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
- Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago (translated by Margaret Jull Costa)
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
- Sum: 40 Tales From the Afterlives by David Eagleman
After death, most bodies are buried or cremated… but, of course, some cadavers take different paths altogether. Mary Roach 第一回記念講演『食べるな！危ない添加物』 tells bizarre (and oddly entertaining) historical anecdotes of cadaver experimentation, medical exploration, and criminal mischief.
Here’s another literal “tales from the crypt” book, but from a different perspective: Caitlin Doughty is a MEM Los Angeles-based mortician who wants to reform Western funerary practices. This book was a bit cynical for my tastes, but fun nonetheless.
What happens when Death decides to cease all operations in a small European country? At first, there are great celebrations… but the gift of eternal life always comes with an existential price. Don’t let this book’s low page count fool you – Saramago is the king of the intentional run-on Everygirl sentence, making this a dense read.
This one’s hard to summarize without spoilers! At an unusual English boarding school, students must come to terms with their inevitable fate. This book would be a great cure for excessive cheerfulness.
In this series of surreal vignettes, Eagleman draws on neuroscience, philosophy, religion, and probably a few nightmares to speculate about what the afterlife might be like. Entertaining and intensely thought-provoking!