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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory | Caitlin Doughty
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 Doughtya twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabretook a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her lifes 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 didnt 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).
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DeannaJ
Pickpick

I loved this. Macabre, but beautifully so.

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linipanini
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Pickpick

This book was a blast to read-I tore through it in just a few hours. I am fascinated by the taboo and obscure, so as much as I got the shivers (and a little nauseated at times) I just wanted to keep eating the sentences that Caitlin so bluntly put together into this book. I will definitely be recommending this to friends, especially friends in healthcare as we deal with death often and it weirds a lot of us out.

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Michollio
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Mehso-so

I didn't like this one nearly as much as her others. This is her first, and it was more philosophical and preachy. I preferred the others, which was much more about learning about death and death rituals. I still learned some things from this one, but I didn't really enjoy it.

#BookishBingo: Borrowed from the library
#Pop20: By/About a woman in STEM
#AtoZ

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Macnjen
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I really enjoyed this gruesome & true accounting of a woman who worked at a crematory and all the associated details. This is not for the faint of heart as there are many graphic descriptions but it goes beyond that into why the funeral industry is what it is, as well as cultural aspects from other societies and how to prepare yourself and your loved ones for the inevitable. I read snippets aloud to my family, laughed and learned a lot.

jpmcwisemorgan I really liked this one a lot too. 1mo
26 likes1 comment
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Leftcoastzen
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Pickpick

While not for everyone,I found this book an eye opening look at the American way of death.Ms.Doughty points out how most people don‘t think about it (denial of death) and that we might be better off to think about what we want or specifically don‘t want at end of life.Just so happened my hold came in right near Christmas,so jumped right in and found it hard to put down.

britt_brooke I loved this! Very eye-opening about the US funeral industry. I swear, everything is crooked. I really loved her newest one, too. One of my favorites this year! 2mo
Leftcoastzen @britt_brooke I want to read Eyeballs too. Lots of Litsy love for her books. 2mo
55 likes4 stack adds2 comments
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WomanistBibliophile
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A corpse doesn‘t need you to remember it. In fact, it doesn‘t need anything any more. It‘s you who needs the corpse. Looking at the body you understand the person is gone. Looking at the body you see yourself, and no that you, too, will die. The visual is a call to self-awareness. It is the beginning of wisdom.

#readingwomen

7 likes1 stack add
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SupTeaReadBooks
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Book one of #adventrecommends (Throughout advent, share a book you recommend - could be 24 from the past year, or of all time).

It might seem like a bit of a grim start, but I recommend this book - prepare yourself going in though! I thought I‘d be fine (read a lot of true crime, and I worked with cadavers during a medical illustration elective for my degree), but some of the realities of cremation got to me.

Props to @emilyrose_x for the idea!

18 likes1 stack add
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r0sepetals
Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️✨Caitlin Doughty is one of my favorite YouTubers and this book is just as good as her channel. Filled with lots of tidbits about the funeral industry and a few parts actually makes you pause and confront your own mortality. Great read for those of us morbid minded folks out there!

#CaitlinDoughty #SmokeGetsInYourEyes #Nonfiction

Tera66 I loved this on audio. It really helped me through the grieving process after losing my grandma. 3mo
r0sepetals @Tera66 I read this in an attempt to battle some death anxiety that I have, and I felt it to be a real eye opener to the death “process” - a lot less daunting than most of society thinks it is. I‘m glad this book helped you in your own ways. 😌 3mo
10 likes1 stack add2 comments
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kathrynhoss
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Pickpick

I got this book in the hopes that it would force me to deal with the reality of death. Well, mission accomplished. I haven't thought this much about my own mortality since the time I took a human osteology class in college and spent several sleepless nights thinking about how I had a skeleton inside my body.

Full review on my (mostly defunct) Goodreads: https://tinyurl.com/ydotkw9m

(Pictured: “Dance of Death“) #nonfiction #nfnovember

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hike.read.repeat
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Pickpick

This was my first audiobook to listen to on #RBdigital which is provided by my public library. Has anyone else used it?

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Would recommend to the morbidly curious.

I also very much agree with Doughty‘s thesis that we‘re too distant from death, dead bodies, and even sick and elderly people.

SamAnne I really enjoyed this book. Perhaps one of the best I've read on death and dying. 4mo
26 likes1 comment
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JulietteGF
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Pickpick

This book is between a so-so and a pick.
Interesting, light read, sometimes humourous, about the death industry in the US.
It was an informative and entertaining read, however a lot of what was said in this book wasn't a discovery for me, and there are some points she makes that I actually don't agree with (but that will be a perfect topic to talk with by book club buddies...)

15 likes1 stack add
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GypsyKat
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Pickpick

I found this really interesting. The writing was excellent. With honesty and humor, the graphic descriptions of the cremation and embalming processes (although gross) were more interesting than I thought they would be. The stories about different families and how they grieve were treated with great respect. But I think what I‘m really taking away from this is the fact that there‘s not enough geriatric care, which is honestly heartbreaking.

kylienoele I think this lady also has a YouTube channel called Ask A Mortician 🤔 I could be confusing her with someone else though! 5mo
GypsyKat @kylienoele She does! One of my friends is a huge fan. 5mo
kylienoele I have to read this book! 5mo
GypsyKat @kylienoele It was really interesting! 5mo
58 likes1 stack add4 comments
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GypsyKat
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#AudioBaking complete! Lemon bunt cake with white chocolate ganache. Maybe an odd choice of book to bake to, but hey, why not. 😂

hermyknee That looks delicious! 5mo
JacqMac Yummy! 5mo
4thhouseontheleft Yum! 😋 5mo
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kspenmoll Yum! 5mo
Daisey Beautiful! 5mo
sprainedbrain Oh yum! 😋 5mo
Eggs Mmmm ganache 😋🤤🤤 5mo
89 likes7 comments
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GypsyKat
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I felt like this would be appropriately macabre for October, so I‘ve been listening to this a bit today. Is it weird that I baked a cake while listing to descriptions of cremation and embalming? ... don‘t answer that.😂

LeahBergen 😆😆 5mo
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Amiable
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Pickpick

Well-written memoir/musings about the death industry. The author manages to cover the topic in a way that is equal parts contemplative, informative, respectful and even humorous. I‘ll be looking for more of her work.

britt_brooke Loved this one! 5mo
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Nerdfins
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Re-reading this while waiting on husband to get out of kidney surgery #2.

Soubhiville I hope all goes well. 5mo
Nerdfins @Soubhiville Me too! Last time he started to go septic so they couldn‘t finish. Poor dude has had no luck recently. 😓 5mo
Tanisha_A Wishing all well! 5mo
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Librarybelle Best wishes! 5mo
Amiable I‘m reading this right now, too! Good luck to hubby. 5mo
Nerdfins Thanks everyone! We‘re out and it was successful this time. @Tanisha_A @Librarybelle @Amiable @Soubhiville 5mo
17 likes6 comments
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Shakespearience
This post contains spoilers
show me
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“I bring up the history of witches killing babies to illustrate that I was writing about dead babies before i had ever really seen one. ... My poor dead witch babies came right along with me.” I shouldn‘t laugh, and yet her style compels me to do so.

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Amiable
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My porn-star name would be Candy Pool. Which isn‘t bad, but it doesn‘t hold a candle to Superfly Punalei. 😀

pigeonsandcrows Mine would be Tari Catalpa... also no career in pornography in the cards for me, but I may start using it as an alias regardless. 5mo
wanderinglynn Oh no. Mine would be Tippy Flat Gap. It just doesn‘t work at all. 😂 5mo
Amiable @wanderinglynn That is a GLORIOUS name! 😆 5mo
See All 27 Comments
Amiable @pigeonsandcrows I always wanted to use the name “Trixie” as an alias! 😀 5mo
Melismatic Mine‘s Huey Walker, which sounds more like a rich guy than a pornstar lol 5mo
Amiable @Melismatic Huey would be the James Spader character of the porn movie! 😀 5mo
LauraJ Mine would be Aunt Bea Jay. Yup. I missed my calling. 5mo
rwmg Timmy Rowan. I suppose it could have worked if I'd realised it was a career opportunity 40 years ago. 5mo
LeahBergen Gigi Doverview. 😳 5mo
LeahBergen @LauraJ 😂😂 5mo
BookwormM Snap South here 🤣🤣 5mo
Amiable @LauraJ I‘m trying to imagine THAT movie! 😀 (edited) 5mo
Amiable @rwmg I think I actually knew a Timmy Rowan once! 😄 5mo
Amiable @BookwormM Fabulous! 😀 5mo
Amiable @LeahBergen That name sounds like the star of a posh English porn movie. Like “Downton Abbey” meets “Debbie Does Dallas.” 😆 5mo
kathedron ? Tigger Hyde, here! Very "bouncy" and distinctly sinister. Sounds rather niche, doesn't it? 5mo
Amiable @kathedron It does, it does! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼😀 5mo
Nerdfins Omg I‘m rereading this right now! And my name would be Butterscotch Pietro. 🤔 5mo
MicheleinPhilly Patches Pennsylvania. 🤐 5mo
Amiable @Nerdfins That sounds like the star of an avant-garde foreign porn film. 😀 5mo
Amiable @MicheleinPhilly I‘m not even sure where to go with that one. 🧐 5mo
Redwritinghood Well, my first name would be Velvet, which is a great start, but then my last name would be Route 40. 😕 5mo
Redwritinghood @LauraJ Perfect! 😂😂 5mo
Amiable @Redwritinghood It would be memorable, at least! 😀 5mo
LauraJ @Amiable of course the Andy Griffith Show theme would be playing in the background. 5mo
Amiable @LauraJ That is EXACTLY where my mind went. 😄 5mo
50 likes27 comments
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Amiable
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Well, if that doesn‘t hook you into a book then I don‘t know what will. 😳

Ruthiella Yes that is a good opening line. I thought this book was pretty good though a little more memoir and less death industry than I would have liked/expected. 5mo
Amiable @Ruthiella I would agree with you there. About halfway through now. 5mo
70 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Megara
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Pickpick

I want to be like Caitlin Doughty when I grow up. #thanatologist

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Nebklvr
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Pickpick

Death is big business in America. Doughty looks at the denial and separation inherent in our current death practices. It is a shame we have moved so far from a familial goodbye to a programmed and distant ceremony.

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Nebklvr
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Karma and i are enjoying our latest read.

Kimzey 😻 6mo
Tamra A little poof! 6mo
Nebklvr @Kimzey @Tamra My little orphan kitty thanks you. 6mo
See All 11 Comments
Bookzombie So adorable! 💕🐱 6mo
Tkgbjenn1 So cute. 6mo
JazzFeathers What a cutie! 6mo
mreads 😻 6mo
brit91 My heart so cute looks like my Dixie!😻 6mo
Bookgirl I love black cats! 6mo
Nebklvr @Bookzombie Karma thanks you 6mo
Nebklvr @Tkgbjenn1 @JazzFeathers @mreads @brit91 @Bookgirl Karma thanks you or would if not so busy tearing around annihilating the rugs 6mo
65 likes11 comments
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Lola
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Finally getting to this one, which I bought as an Audible Daily Deal years ago, because my bookstore started a non-fiction bookclub and its the August pick. I read (and loved) From Here to Eternity, and this is great so far as well. I love her narration. Just learned she has a new one coming out next month, which I‘ll tag below. I‘m already on the library hold list for it. I just love the way she writes about death and its aftermath 💀

40 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Readaholics
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Toothpicks in Jell-O! Lol love this story of a lady who gets a job at a a funeral home in Oakland. Here‘s what her colleague is talking about on their way to pick up a body. Lol reminds me of the old journalists I worked with in the newsroom. 👏🏻 💀🤣

Devyn As someone who drove the Bay Bridge regularly, I can confirm that Chris is exactly right hahaha. I‘ve never read Caitlin‘s books but I‘ve watched her YouTube videos, I‘ve gotta add her to my TBR! (edited) 7mo
38 likes1 comment
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Readaholics
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Pickpick

Lol - can you say that about death? Yes, thanks to Caitlin you can. I remember a friend of a friend in SF who worked at a mortuary. I was always obsessed with the details when I‘d see her at parties. But this book is both filled with fun facts about death across history and science as well as hilarious. 👏🏻 definitely worth the read.,

48 likes1 stack add
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Vanessa
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Pickpick

Also, finished listening to this today. Also excellent; changed my perception of the funeral industry and made me think about how much we are disconnected from and in denial of death as a natural, inevitable process.

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SarahMillerBooks
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A porch and a book.

12 likes2 stack adds
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madamereadsalot1
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vivastory I loved this one. It made me express my burial wishes to my family. 8mo
JamieArc @vivastory Me too. 8mo
madamereadsalot1 @vivastory I loved it too! It helped me decide my wishes for sure. I've talked so much about this book. I want to read her others. 8mo
19 likes3 comments
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Gennic
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Pickpick

What an amazing and engaging story! I love having a peek into the death industry and learning more about it. I agree with the author that we as a whole have moved further and further away from death and fear it all the more because. I will be recommending this to everyone I know!

Crazeedi On my tbr! 8mo
Geeklet I‘d like to read this one. I had a friend growing up that really wanted to be a mortician but I think people sorta mocked her out of her dream. 8mo
Gennic @geeklet that‘s what happened to me too. I said I wanted to be a mortician several times in middle and high school and got mocked for that. 8mo
13 likes1 stack add3 comments
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stephothebesto
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I'm cracking up over my morning coffee. I think this is one of the first memoirs I've read that's written by someone who clearly grew up in the 90s. There was also a reference to Puppy Surprise that was excellent.

JamieArc I loved this book, and that was one of the reasons! I kind of miss my pog collection 😂 8mo
stephothebesto @JamieArc Right?! I had some sweet slammers. 8mo
12 likes1 stack add2 comments
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stephothebesto
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You've done it again, Get Booked podcast! 4/5 of this TBR stack are nonfiction picks from the latest episode... I never browse in the nonfiction section, but I trust Amanda and Jenn to recommend some gems.

Crazeedi Liars I really enjoyed! 8mo
stephothebesto ... I can't count. 5/6. 😝 8mo
17 likes2 comments
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Oblomov26
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Pickpick

Well this was thought provoking. An investigation of the industry which has arisen around death by a practising mortician with many frank tales of her experiences. A impassioned plea for us as individuals to engage more with death, to become more aware of deaths inevitability, to plan for our passing and how we wish to our bodies to be treat on our death and participate more in the ceremonies associated with the passing of friends and relatives.

britt_brooke This was such an eye-opening read. Loved it! 8mo
AutumnRLS I really loved her From Here to Eternity so I ordered this one. Haven't read it yet, but looking forward to it. Also looking forward to her new one that's coming out. 8mo
SamAnne I really appreciated this book. She has a great interview on Terry Gross‘ Fresh Air from a few years ago. 8mo
62 likes8 stack adds3 comments
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katjapants
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feminismandyoga
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this look into the death industry. My favorite was the way her experiences shifted her opinions on what death should look like in the US. I may not agree with all of her assertions, but I think she's onto something with the changes she advocates for.

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Sarz
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Pickpick

4 ⭐
I really enjoyed this. I liked her blunt, no-frills discussion of death and bodies. I relate to that; I don't care what happens to my body after I die, I'm very keen on organ donation and I'd like to contribute to science in whatever way. But that's not for everyone, so exercise caution before jumping in.

Something that did annoy me was that I thought it got a little bit preachy towards the end. It went from 'funny' to 'agenda driven'.

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Vanessa
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Only 15 minutes into this audiobook and I‘m already certain I‘m going to love it.

DogEaredBooks It‘s really great although a little too detailed at times. Her other book is also amazing if you haven‘t read it: 9mo
Vanessa @DogEaredBooks I hadn‘t known she‘d written another one. May check that out, thank you! 9mo
2 likes2 comments
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CurlyQ
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Finished this book yesterday. 💖 loved it

RaimeyGallant Good to know! And welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you need it. Or if you prefer how-to videos, @chelleo put some together at the link in her bio. @LitsyWelcomeWagon
9mo
Chelleo Welcome to Litsy! 9mo
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🌺 9mo
4 likes3 comments
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underground_bks
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Pickpick

The previous owner of our home was in the monuments business (making headstones) and repurposed a lot of raw marble for his porch, countertops, and fireplaces, so I felt this was a fitting backdrop for this memoir turned manifesto for death positivity! I found this funny, bold, thoughtful, and hard to put down even through the uncomfortably descriptive parts! Overall a fascinating and important introduction to the business of death in America.💀

21 likes1 stack add
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madamereadsalot1
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1. My daughter and I.
2. Tagged book. Not done yet, but I'm really enjoying it.
3. I will be working
4. Cloudy with a high in the low 80's
5. I'm more of a fly by the seat of my pants dinner person. Maybe baked potatoes? Maybe spaghetti? Maybe rice and veggies? 🤷

#friyayintro @howjessreads

howjessreads Cute! 10mo
25 likes1 comment
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Abby2
Pickpick

Very interesting story of experience in the mortuary business. Lots to think about.

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RainyDayReading
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Pickpick

What a lovely collection of writings about a at times morbid job. There are some descriptions in here that I would not recommend if you‘re weak stomached. But overall I read this quickly and wish I had more stories! It‘s an interesting look at death and how we think about it in our society and I have learned more than a thing or two from it. Looking forward to more of her work. She was right,Norse Mythology is the most metal 🤘🏻

SamAnne @RainyDayReading i really enjoyed this book too. And loved her interview on Fresh Air. In the same vein, I loathed most of Advice for Future Corpses by Sallie Tisdale. More about the process of dying. 10mo
RainyDayReading @SamAnne She‘s releasing a new book sometime soon. I‘ve been following her on Instagram and she‘s the kind of person I‘d love to be friends with. Glad I managed to get my hands on this one. 10mo
40 likes1 stack add2 comments
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WhatWouldJaneDo
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Pickpick

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐! This is a difficult topic, but one that we will all have to grapple with throughout our lives. Doughty doesn't shy away from presenting the realities of death, but for me she struck a perfect balance to be honest without becoming gruesome, and she always felt respectful towards the people, alive and dead, she presents in her stories.

BarbaraTheBibliophage Great review. I really liked this one. I‘m anxious to get to her second book! 11mo
Tanisha_A Nice review! 11mo
WhatWouldJaneDo @BarbaraTheBibliophage I've heard her second book is not as strong as this one but I'm still interested. I looked her up after I finished this one and she also has a podcast called Death in the Afternoon that I will check out. 11mo
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WhatWouldJaneDo @Tanisha_A thank you! Working in the character limit on here has been a fun writing exercise for me lol. 11mo
jpmcwisemorgan This book was really well done. I enjoyed it as much as one can say they enjoyed a book about death. 11mo
Tanisha_A @WhatWouldJaneDo I agree. I like the challenge of limiting the review in a few words too! 11mo
WhatWouldJaneDo #nonfiction2019 something with a death 10mo
46 likes3 stack adds7 comments
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WhatWouldJaneDo
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#nonfiction2019 update: this is the perfect category for this book, although it's not really a death, just Death.

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WhatWouldJaneDo
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This quote may be about cannibalism but it applies to basically anything.

RainyDayReading I‘m reading this book too at the moment 🤣 11mo
WhatWouldJaneDo @RainyDayReading I've seen it show up on some weekend reading lists lately, it seemed like it was whispering "reeeaaaad meeeee." I'm loving it, how about you? 11mo
RainyDayReading @WhatWouldJaneDo I‘ve seen it pop up sporadically on my feed, but it seems like it‘s captured a lot of us at the same time! I‘m loving it too!! I find myself relating to Cat a little too much at times haha. 11mo
36 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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spirituells
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Pickpick

An exploration of death and the unveiling of life beyond the doors of a crematorium. Caitlin Doughty, a real life mortician respectfully approaches difficult subjects with grace and humour and pushes away some of the barriers that separate us from our own mortality.

The author has a channel i recommend checking out if the book sounds like your kind of thing, just search 'ask a mortician' on youtube!

wanderinglynn The book sounds interesting. And what pretty stones. 💚 11mo
spirituells @wanderinglynn thanks!!! i love them 😍 11mo
AutumnRLS Read From Here To Eternity and can't wait to read Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. 11mo
See All 11 Comments
Karisa Great book! I read it last year, and it has really stuck with me. Truly unique point of view. 11mo
Book_Gobbler Nice! Added to the TBR pile! 😊📚 11mo
Eggs Welcome to Litsy 🤗🎈 11mo
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Hope you're enjoying Litsy so far 📖💖 11mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Welcome to Litsy!! 11mo
Clwojick Hey! Welcome to Litsy! Hope you‘re loving it so far. Glad to see another graphic novel reader on here 😍 11mo
spirituells @Clwojick thanks! haha yeah i always have a few graphic novels on the go, i'll need to check out your reads to get some recs! 11mo
Clwojick I read a ton last year! I read a lot of them online, so sometimes it‘s like 20 a night. 😀 11mo
124 likes14 stack adds11 comments
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tammysue
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Reviewsbylola Great book! 🔥 11mo
UwannaPublishme Talk about awkward! 😱 11mo
vkois88 This sounds fascinating in a weird way lol 11mo
68 likes4 comments
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flying_monkeys
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Recommended if you loved the HBO series, Six Feet Under, and/or you are curious about what goes on behind the scenes in the death industry nowadays and/or you think death has become too hidden or sanitized in the modern world.

#LitsyAtoZ 5/26

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jdiehr
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Pickpick

A book about death for my Prime Reading pick?? This was so well-written, straight-shooting and, dare I say, funny.

Having lost my mom almost 5 years ago, I had to go through stuff that I really hadn't spent much time thinking about. This book brings much of that to light. I found it both informative and entertaining.

Gaylagal2 I adored this book! It was educational, at times sad and hysterically, laugh out loud funny. I'm hoping she continues to write, maybe even fiction🤔🤓 12mo
jdiehr @Gaylagal2 I think she does have another book out... 12mo
25 likes1 stack add2 comments
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MStew
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Starting this new read tonight as @trioxin_sematary and my little munchkin Emma watch Toy story 🚀

I've been dying to read this book 😂🤓

#currentread

JamieArc I just finished this and really liked it. I‘ll be thinking about it for a long time. 12mo
jdiehr Currently reading and am enjoying it 👍🏻 12mo
WhatWouldJaneDo This is on my TBR, glad to see others liking it! 12mo
See All 6 Comments
trioxin_sematary ❤❤ 12mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage I just read this and liked it a lot. Can‘t wait to read her second now! 12mo
Bookish.SAM I really liked this one, way more than I‘d expected. Hope you enjoy! 12mo
119 likes4 stack adds6 comments
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strandbookstore
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Pickpick

Basement bookseller Destiny recommends Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty. 💀🖤 “Caitlin explains the funeral industry & her experience as a mortician humorously & honestly. She talks about how death has become more sterile & more hastily put away, & since we don‘t talk about it, a lot of the time we aren‘t prepared to manage after-life affairs. She encourages us to think about death because it makes us appreciate life a bit more.” 🖤

Reviewsbylola I really liked this one. ⚰️ 12mo
77 likes5 stack adds1 comment