Here we have our book recommendations on death and dying. Professor Dame Sue Black, one of the world’s leading anatomists and forensic anthropologists (the science of understanding the life of an individual by studying his/her mortal remains) chooses her best books on death. Her choices are diverse, from Death, Dissection and the Destitute: The Politics of the Corpse in Pre-Victorian Britain by Ruth Richardson to Waiting for the Last Bus: Reflections on Life and Death by Richard Holloway, the former Anglican bishop of Edinburgh.
Stephen Cave, the author of Immortality, recommends his best books on immortality, including Gilgamesh, the ancient Mesopotamian epic, whose hero vainly seeks for immortality, and Mortal Coil: a Short History of Living Longer by David Boyd Haycock. Turning to dying, Clive Stafford Smith recommends his best books on capital punishment, including To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Execution Protocol: Inside America’s Capital Punishment Industry by Stephen Trombley. The writer Johanna Reiss talks about suicide, while professor Sophie Ratcliffe discusses the nature of grief, how it fits into human life and literature.
Unnatural Causes: The Life and Many Deaths of Britain's Top Forensic Pathologist
by Richard Shepherd
Death, Dissection and the Destitute: The Politics of the Corpse in Pre-Victorian Britain
by Ruth Richardson
The Trick to Time
by Kit de Waal
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
by Rachel Joyce
Waiting for the Last Bus: Reflections on Life and Death
by Richard Holloway
As one of the most distinguished forensic anthropologists and human anatomists in the world, Professor Dame Sue Black has spent her working life in close proximity to death. Here she discusses the history of corpses supplied to anatomy houses, the misleading nature of shows like CSI, and how she intends to keep on teaching after her own death: by bequeathing her body.
Grief is the Thing with Feathers
by Max Porter
Broken Hierarchies: Poems 1952-2012
by Geoffrey Hill
Late Fragments: Everything I Want To Tell You (About This Magnificent Life)
With the End in Mind: Dying, Death, and Wisdom in an Age of Denial
by Kathryn Mannix
I Capture The Castle
by Dodie Smith
We often think of bereavement in terms of deep melancholy or gentle sadness, but “grief behaves badly and grief is risk-taking”, says Sophie Ratcliffe, Oxford literary critic and author of the memoir The Lost Properties of Love. Here, she recommends five books that may act as a balm for those who have lost someone, and says that the act of reading—any book, any poem—can be consoling.
Existential anxiety drives our lives but most of us are too frightened to think about it, says psychologist and author Sheldon Solomon. He chooses the best books to get a better understanding of our fear of death.
Will it be possible to live forever? Is there such a thing as the soul, or immortality in one’s legacy? Stephen Cave, philosopher and author of Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization, explores the eternal questions, from elixirs of life to modern-day cryonics.
The lawyer, who’s defended many clients on death row, tells us why the legal system in capital cases is set up to fail, and says all of us should know more about what happens in an execution
As a young Dutch Jewish girl, Johanna Reiss survived World War II hidden in the attic of a farmer called Johan Oosterveld. Her memoir of that time, The Upstairs Room, is still read in schools today. But while she was researching that book in 1969, her American husband, Jim, killed himself. In this interview, she recommends books on the painful subject of suicide, as well as the music that helped heal the pain.