The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
Books & Authors

Morbid Curiosity

November Kicks off the Library's annual Death and Dying series, which features several speakers and events to celebrate life and demystify death. In honor of this series, pick up a book that sparks morbid curiosity and get comfortable with the uncomfortable. 

Cannibalism : A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt
Cannibalism is a topic met with fear and disgust, and it is often sensationalized for the purpose of horror flicks and true crime entertainment. Zoologist Bill Schutt debunks myths surrounding the taboo subject, and explores the truth of cannibalism among species on Earth- including us. He examines the occurrence of cannibalism in wildlife, as well as cases of human cannibalism and why they happen.

Dark Archives : A Librarian's Investigation Into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin by Megan Rosenbloom
Anthropodermic bibliopegy is the practice of binding books in human skin. These books still exist, sitting in libraries and bookshelves across the world. In "Dark Archives" Megan Rosenbloom, along with her team of scientists, curators, and librarians, explores the science, history, and ethics behind these strange and unsettling books.

Death : A Graveside Companion by Thames & Hudson
"Death: A Graveside Companion" features beautiful depictions of the macabre across cultures. Each chapter contains historical art and documents that illustrate concepts such as symbolism of death, memorializing, and the afterlife. It is a comprehensive collection that inspires the reader to contemplate on what it means to be human, and what it means to be mortal.

Gory Details : Adventures From the Dark Side of Science by Erika Engelhaupt
The creepy, crawly, and downright morbid aspects of our world are explored by Erika Engelhaupt, the author of the National Geographic blog "Gory Details". This book feeds our fascination with the disturbing with topics such as post-mortem bacteria, murderous mammals, parasites, and bloodletting. Engelhaupt interviews renowned scientists from their respective fields, making this an informative read for the morbidly curious.

Quackery : A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang
Using snake oil and leeches as a form of medical treatment might be gruesome and bizarre, but it has been done nonetheless. This book contains 67 cases of quack cures throughout the ages for those who appreciate the absurd side of medical history.

Rest in Pieces : The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses by Bess Lovejoy
Bess Lovejoy writes about the death of iconic historical figures, and the subsequent journey of their corpses. There is much to discover in the way we handle the dead. From Alexander the Great to Albert Einstein, this book is filled with historical information and bizarre tales of post-mortem adventures.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
Caitlin Doughty, the creator of the "Ask a Mortician" series on YouTube, reflects on her time as a death industry worker in her autobiography. She recounts details of her work that many of us avoid thinking about such as the crematory operation process and body transportation. She shares her personal contemplations on the way our society handles death, and how those she has met along the way impacted her personally and professionally. Doughty portrays the macabre in a way that is honest and transparent, prompting the reader to reflect on their own mortality too.

Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Mary Roach explores the fate of our corpses after death. From research cadavers and test dummies to decay, "Stiff" examines the many useful and bizarre afterlives of the human body.


Find this article at