On the Third Day of Christmas,…

…My True Love Sent to Me … Three solemn meditations on the transient nature of human existence.
Sometimes you want something a little dark to make the light shine brighter, you want to read something not so joyful, sometimes you just want to read about death.
One of our booksellers has been exploring some of these holiday-escapist books and polishing up her death puns… some of them are to die for.

“December is upon us, and for those Scrooges out there lamenting the sudden onset of Christmas, I have some books to take the (festive) edge off the season. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory is a darkly funny & insightful book about Caitlin Doughty’s experience working as a mortician. Doughty, an ex-medieval scholar and death theorist became known for her popular YouTube advice column ‘Ask a Mortician’ where she answers people’s questions about death, with honesty & humour. Part memoir, part philosophy, this book attempts to lift the lid on the proverbial coffin and shed some light on one of our least talked about subjects.

Stiff was published in 2003 to great critical acclaim and a spot on the New York Times Bestseller list, but rigor mortis hasn’t set in yet. The book may be titled Stiff but the writing is anything but. This engaging scientific history of the cadaver covers the history of donating body parts to medical science, and the process of decomposition after death. This is essential reading for those with a strong stomach who want to learn a little more about body snatching, airplane crashes or post-mortem plastic surgery.

Atul Gawande’s latest offering, Being Mortal, once again bridges the gap between literature and medicine with incredible empathy and skill. Gawande’s first three books, about surgery and medical ethics, are critically acclaimed and

considered staples within the medical industry, and his latest offering is no different. In this book, Gawande takes issue with Western medicine’s focus on prolongment of life over quality, and asks how we can address our own mortality with greater empathy and care. With endorsements from literary luminaries such as Diana Athill, Oliver Sacks and Malcolm Gladwell, this is a book for doctors and laymen alike.”

So, when one has tired of the seasonal mince-pie-eating, ribbon tying and wrap selecting, carols ad nauseam and jollifications with all the (jingle) bells on, we suggest a little dip into one of these – you’ll appreciate all the festivities all the more afterwards – and probably have discovered the perfect book for that thoughtful friend or unusual relative! We all have someone one of these would be perfect for….

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