Every month our team members pick a book that’s tickled their fancy and recommend it to you, our network, so that we can all read, learn and grow together – just think of it as our own little book club!
Because reading is what? Fundamental!
Jill’s Book Recommendation:
From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty
In the majority of the United States and Europe, discussing the intricacies of death and dying is considered taboo. We try to avoid death for ourselves and our loved ones even when it does more harm than good – especially for the person nearing the end of their life. In her book, From Here to Eternity, mortician Caitlin Doughty reassesses the notion that death is always tragic and that discussing the dead is always sad and taboo.
Throughout the book, Doughty explores how cultures around the world approach death and dying. She travels to Bolivia, Indonesia, Japan, where the dead are revered and still a part of the nuclear family. She explores how the Zoroastrians were one of the first cultures exploring what it means to respect the dead. She also meets deathcare innovators who are looking for new ways to make burial eco-friendly. I definitely recommend this book not only to those who are curious about the process of death and dying but those who have experienced the loss of someone close to them and wish their death had been treated differently.
Julia’s Book Recommendation:
50 Greatest Short Stories edited by Milton Crane
I currently have three copies of this book on my bookshelf. One belongs to me, one to my partner, and the other, honestly, just appeared. Perhaps a gift from the Berlin Street Gods?
50 Greatest Short Stories is exactly that. A selection of some of the world’s greatest works of short fiction. I will say that short might be subjective, because some of the stories are 30 pages long and maybe not the bite-size you were looking for, but still shorter than committing to an entire book. There is so much variety and the scope of subjects is massive but one thing you can be sure of is that all the stories are quality pieces of writing and worth exploring if you haven’t seen them since highschool. You can flip to any page and find a ‘masterpiece’, be it something from Hemingway, or Woolf (and Wolfe), or Poe or Chekov and so many others.
A couple of my favourites would be How Beautiful with Shoes by Wilbur Daniel Steel, The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe, A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor and A Haunted House by Virginia Woolf.
*I’d like to make a final, and important note: These works are old, and admittedly written mostly by white men, so some of the works contain racism and sexism. Skip them, or read them and bitch to your friends about Hemingway later – I did.
Alice’s Book Recommendation:
Before My Actual Heart Breaks by Tish Delaney
Tish Delaney grew up in Northern ireland at the height of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles. This book uses that same tragic conflict as the backdrop for a heartbreaking story about a woman called Mary. We meet Mary when she is only a teenager and move with her through all phases of her life. We watch as she ensures great heartbreak, stolen opportunities, and great love, but we also see how her life and personality are impacted by the Troubles themselves. Although heartwrentching, this book is a great read, and I’d seriously recommend it.