Book Reviews

Dr. Atul Gawande

Dr. Atul Gawande

We’ve been reading new books, three of which may be of interest to our members.

Dr. Atul Gawande has written three previous books, memoirs of becoming a surgeon and about medicine in general, but his new New York Times’ bestseller, Being Mortal, is one we are recommending to all our friends. It is not only about the facts of aging; for example, between the ages of 20 and 60 did you know that the amount of light striking the eye declines from 100 to only 20%? But, there is an honest discussion of the limits of modern medicine and what matters at the end. It convinced us that we are now too old for any 9-1-1 call.

Caitlin Doughty is a mortician, crematory operator, and best-selling author, Her recent book Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons From the Crematory is now available in paperback. In it she recounts her experiences working in a California mortuary and how helping people deal with the physical and emotional demands of the mortality of loved ones became her life’s work. In 2011 she also started a blog The Order of the Good Death, http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com, with the goal of bringing the realistic discussion of death back into popular culture. Caitlin’s web series “Ask a Mortician” and the Order website have led to features on National Public Radio, BBC, the Huffington Post, Vice, the LA Times, Jezebel.com, Forbes, Bust Magazine, and Salon.

Final RightsFinal Rights is the definitive book on the modern funeral industry. Written by FCA executive director Josh Slocum and Funeral Ethics Organization leader Lisa Carlson, Final Rightscombines journalistic investigation with practical consumer advice. The only book of its kind, Final Rights unveils the tricks of the funeral trade (and how to avoid them) while calling out government regulators who dance to the $15-billion death industry’s tune when they’re supposed to be protecting you, the funeral consumer.

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