Genna’s February Recommendation

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

smoke gets in your eyes

Genna says:  “For fans of Mary Roach’s Stiff or HBO’s Six Feet Under, you might like this title.

You wouldn’t normally think that a book about death and cremation would be an entertaining read, but Smoke Gets in Your Eyes was fascinating! I can see why it made it to the New York Times Bestsellers list.

The author relates her experiences working at a crematory and later going to mortuary school – but she also intertwines the history and customs of death both in our culture and outside of the United States.
She discusses death in a way that feels very accessible, and though there were a few gross-out passages, you will also feel as though you are getting a history lesson. The author’s B.A. in Medieval History served her well in crafting a story that is both engaging and historical.
Doughty’s memoir is very easy to read and highly entertaining. If you aren’t too squeamish, then check it out. She is also a very popular blogger and has a web series called Ask a Mortician.”
3 Similar Reads

Genna’s November Recommendation

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

this is where i leave youSometimes I’m just happy to read a book that’s so well written!

This book follows the character of Jude, who’s been recently cuckolded by his boss, which has forced him to quit, move out of his house and into a janky basement, and start to get “soft” around the middle. Judd’s stoic father has just passed away (as if it can’t get any worse for Judd), so he travels to be with his family who he really only seems to like as much as the tip of his pinky, but their dysfunctional sarcasm and veiled loving remarks are really what crack a smile and elicit a giggle from the reader several times. Who doesn’t love some good sibling jabs?

Judd’s father has requested that they all sit shiva for the traditional 7 days, and his descriptions of sitting on a low-to-the-ground shiva chair, face to face with wrinkly saggy legs, is hilarious.

Judd’s mother is a well-known published child psychologist who wears scandalous clothing and openly discusses sex the whole week. Judd’s oldest sister Wendy ignores her husband who has his phone attached to his head all week, and her 3 squealing children, while his brother Paul and wife Alice express fertiility frustration problems, and to round it off, the youngest brother Philip, a handsome screw-up, waltzes home with a 44 year old fiance.

It’s very well written, the characters have really stuck with me, and I laughed out loud several times and cried once.

3 Similar Reads

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

While I’m Falling by Laura Moriarty

The World Without You by Joshua Henkin



Dorothy’s May Recommendation

After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story by Michael Hainey

after visiting friendsFrom Publishers Weekly: the haunting story of a son’s quest to understand the mystery of his father’s death– a universal memoir about the secrets families keep and the role they play in making us who we are.
After Visiting Friends is full of love for the lost world of nocturnal newspaper work and after-hours boozing.” (Janet Maslin The New York Times )
“Peering into an uncomfortable past, the journalist traces his family’s history with dramatic, highly readable prose that makes the story feel like a compelling mystery.” (Time Out New York )
3 Similar Reads
The Phantom Father by Barry Gifford
Stitches: A Memoir by David Small

Ellen’s July Recommendation

Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir by Christopher Buckley

“This book was suggested to me by a friend after my mother died last November and my father passed away in May.  Buckley quotes Oscar Wilde: “To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness.”   Despair, disbelief, distress, disorientation – Buckley explores all of these with often eloquent writing, heartbreak and humor intertwined. While my folks didn’t own multiple homes and weren’t, respectively, a glamorous socialite and conservative commentator (my mother told her grandchildren she was a witch, and my dad didn’t talk much, except to say something drily hilarious periodically),  one of the comforts I have is recalling both of my parents’ senses of humor, and Buckley’s surprisingly entertaining and touching account is full of family wit and wisdom.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog!

3 Similar Reads (Nonfiction)

1) A Widow’s Story by Joyce Carol Oates (Access to library catalog here!)

2) The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (Access to library catalog here!)

3) Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat (Access to library catalog here!)

3 Similar Reads (Fiction)

1) Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells (Access to library catalog here!)

2) After This by Alice McDermott (Access to library catalog here!)

3) Cost by Roxana Robinson (Access to library catalog here!)

Sophia’s September Recommendation

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communications of the Dying by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley.

“The authors, Callanan and Kelley, are two hospice nurses who have taken care of and participated in the deaths of over 2,000 people at the end of their lives.  For many death is a scary subject that is to be avoided.  Yet, it is a journey that we all must take.  Callanan and Kelley present an eye-witness account of what happens at the end of terminal illness.  It is a beautiful and hopeful accounting of what people experience as told by those who are experiencing the actual events.  This book is great as a comforting instruction manual on what happens, what to do, and what not to do.

It is also helpful in helping us to just be with someone whos is dying. If you retreat or are frightened  because you might say or do the wrong thing, or because you are forced to face your own mortality you will find helpful an hopeful information here.

Included are signs that folks are approaching death and how not to miss them; seeing people who have already died and what that may mean; symbolic dreams and how support the dreamer in finding meaning; choosing a time to die ; waiting for a person to arrive or an event to happen.

A quote from an Amazon Reader:
‘When I first heard volunteers, nurses and others who work in hospice tell stories of people who have similar Nearing Death Experiences (not to be confused with “Near Death Experiences”), I was dubious. However, in my readings and hospice volunteer work, I find that these stories are universal, timeless and not as new age-y as I’d thought. We’ve been ignoring these wonderfully soothing stories of how people die, because for years we’ve moved birthing and dying out of the family and into hospitals. We are beginning to move them back.’

If you’ve lost a loved one, are dealing with someone who is dying (yourself or someone else), if you avoid visiting friends who are dying or if you’re struggling with your own awareness that someday you will die, please read this book. It will put your mind at ease.”

Read about it or request it from the library catalog.

Mary Ann’s March Recommendation

Dead Father’s Club by Matt Haig

“A  modern ghost/mystery  story told by a young boy whose father died.  The boy’s view of events is very amusing.   Lots of fun-to-find references to Hamlet. 

The boy narrator on the Play-away  is wonderful. A Play-away is a small, pre-loaded digital book-  just put in earphones and press play!  Stop in and see our other play-aways, or search the Library Catalog using “Playaway” as a keyword.”

Read About It or Request It here

You can find this item in the library at CALL # DIGITAL MEDIA HAIG

Joanna’s January Recommendation

Perfection: a memoir of betrayl and renewal by Julie Metz

“In this raw and dark memoir, writer, artist, and graphic designer Julie Metz chronicles her discovery of her husband’s infidelity after his sudden death in 2003.  Metz discovers her husband’s affairs through his e-mail correspondence and seeks out each woman and learns details of the affairs. Poignant and dark at times, Metz’s writing conveys her wave of emotions and her attempt to heal and re-build her life for herself and her young daughter.”

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Request It

You can find this book in the library at Call # 306.736 MET