Five (Surprisingly) Entertaining Books about the Death Care Industry
Even though funeral homes and death care industry workers work hard to make death a natural part of the life cycle, there have always been taboos in place when it comes to talking about death and dying. And it’s no wonder—the finality of death is a scary prospect. However, it is also an inevitable one.
That is why books like these are a good way to start conversations about funeral plans and to confront the idea of mortality. If you are looking for a good, not-too-macabre read about death and dying, here are a few popular titles that have hit the shelves in recent years.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty: This memoir, written by a licensed mortician, takes a lighthearted yet serious look at death, dying, and the culture we live in (which does not always make accepting death easy). Although it tackles a serious subject matter, many readers claim to have laughed out loud throughout the book.
Stiff by Mary Roach: Roach has built a reputation as a journalist who does not shy away from exploring topics that are off the beaten track. In Stiff, she looks at the death care industry—particularly the sometimes bizarre and non-traditional ways of disposing of bodies—and provides both entertainment and an education.
Mortuary Confidential by Todd Harra and Ken McKenzie: A collection of experiences by funeral workers, this book offers another “insider’s look” at the death care industry. Some of the tales are touching, some are humorous, others are sad. Which, to be honest, sums up most of human experiences overall.
Working Stiff by Judy Melinek and TJ Mitchell: This book is not about the death care industry so much as the forensics industry, as it follows the career of a New York forensic pathologist as she begins her career. If you want a healthy dose of Law & Order with your funeral industry book, this memoir is a great way to accomplish it.
Nine Years Under by Sheri Booker: This memoir about (kind of) growing up in a funeral home has a definite My Girl feeling to it. Booker worked in a Baltimore funeral home starting at the age of fifteen, giving her a unique perspective on death, dying, and coming of age in an unusual environment.