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Death & Dying: Books about End-of-Life Matters

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A Grief Observed
by C.S. Lewis Details
Written after his wife's death as a way of surviving the "mad midnight moments," Lewis's classic work is an unflinchingly truthful account of how loss can lead even a stalwart believer to lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and the inspirational tale of how he can possibly regain his bearings.
American Way of Death Revisited
by  Jessica Mitford Details
When first published in 1963, this landmark of investigative journalism became a runaway bestseller and resulted in legislation to protect grieving families from the unscrupulous sales practices of those in "the dismal trade." Written with scathing wit, Mitford's exposé of the American funeral industry is at once deadly serious and side-splittingly funny.
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
by Atul Gawande Details
Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families of the terminally ill.
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
by Roz Chast Details
When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz Chast held to the practices of denial, avoidance and distraction. But when her mother suffers an accident, the tools that had served Chast well through her parents' seventies, eighties and early nineties could no longer be deployed. While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies, the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role, aging and unstable parents leaving home for an institution, learning to respond to uncomfortable physical intimacies, managing logistics and hiring strangers to provide the most personal of care.
Death Class: a True Story about Life
by Erika Hayasaki Details
A journalist details how Norma Bowe, the professor of a popular class on the stages of dying, death, and bereavement at Kean University in New Jersey, shows her students how to truly heal and live their lives through contemplating the end.
Death's Summer Coat: What the History of Death and Dying Can Tell us about Life and Living
by Brandy Schillace Details
A doctor combines her profession along with her love of literature and history in a scholarly work that examines how humans have dealt with death and mortality throughout time and through changing cultures.
Faithful Farewell: Living Your Last Chapter with Love
by Marilyn McEntyre Details
When the time comes for us to die, how do we say good-bye to our friends, our families and the lives we have lived? How do we remain faithful -- to God, to ourselves, and to loved ones -- as we face our final journey?
Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death
by Erica Brown Details
Brown presents an affirming meditation on living fully and preparing for death that guides readers on an emotional journey drawing on the wisdom of myriad spiritual traditions, covering a range of practical issues while sharing compassionate, illustrative stories.
Let's Talk about Death: Asking the Questions That Profoundly Change the Way We Live and Die
by Irene Kacandes Details
The authors share the results of a no-holds-barred discussion they conducted for several years over email. Readers can consider a range of views on complicated issues to which there are no right answers. Letting ourselves pose certain questions has the potential to profoundly change the way we think about death, how we choose to die and, just as importantly, the way we live.
On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families
by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Details
The five stages of grief, first formulated in this hugely influential work, are now part of our common understanding of loss. Ideal for all those with an interest in bereavement, this classic text is reissued with a new introduction looking at its influence on contemporary thought and practice.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
by Caitlin Doughty Details
The blogger behind the popular Web series Ask a Mortician describes her experiences working at a crematory, including how she sometimes got ashes on her clothes and how she cared for bodies of all shapes and sizes.
The Best Care Possible: a Physician's Quest to Transform Care through the End of Life
by Ira Byock Details
A palliative care doctor on the front lines of hospital care examines an important and controversial ethical issue in his quest to transform care through the end of life.
The Conversation: a Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care
by Angelo Volandes Details
Two thirds of Americans die in healthcare institutions tethered to machines and tubes, even though research indicates that most prefer to die at home in comfort, surrounded by loved ones. Volandes believes the question 'How do you want to live?' must be posed to the seriously ill because they deserve to choose.
The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade
by Thomas Lynch Details
The poet and funeral director offers his observations on life, death, and the rituals of society.
When Breath becomes Air
by Paul Kalanithi Details
A young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal diagnosis describes his examination into what truly makes a meaningful life.
Updated 09/27/2016
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