October "Spooky?" Reading Recommendations: Books by Caitlin Doughty
Updated: Jul 11
I am not a usually morbid person. However, I do practice in trusts and estates in my day job and therefore, death, is often on the forefront of my mind.
Death is the one thing all of us mortals seem to have in common. Most say "death and taxes" is our commonality but ever ask a 4-year-old what a 1040 tax return means? Or even, income? And speaking of children...here is a book I came across a couple of years ago that really peaked my interest.
"Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? And Other Questions About Dead Bodies" by Caitlin Doughty first caught my attention because of the sleuth-y-looking cat on the cover. Then I read the inside flap and the author bio. In Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, Caitlin Doughty answers the most intriguing questions she’s ever received about what happens to our bodies when we die. In a brisk, informative, and morbidly funny style, Doughty explores everything from ancient Egyptian death rituals and the science of skeletons to flesh-eating insects and the proper depth at which to bury your pet if you want Fluffy to become a mummy.
Turns out, Caitlin Doughty is a mortician by trade. She is also the founder of The Order of the Good Death -- a group of funeral industry professionals, academics and artists who focus on the rituals families perform with their dead and how the industry disposes of dead bodies.
How odd, right? I mean, if you are not someone who sits around thinking about death all the time, this could all seem very depressing, pessimistic, and even a bit rude. But after more consideration, I think it is a very good source of material for those who do want to think about death, or be able to answer their kids' questions about death, or even think about how cultures around the world deal with death. For that, Caitlin Doughty wrote another book titled, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory."
For an exploration on how cultures treat death and death's rituals, you can check out, "From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death." Below you will see the UK cover, which I prefer over the U.S. cover.
If your interest is peaked, October, or "spooky season" as some would say, is the perfect time to give these titles a try. Maybe even check our bookstore to see if any of these titles are on our shelves. You never know what you might find.
As always, happy reading! I hope everyone is staying well and safe out there.