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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory | Caitlin Doughty
Morbid and illuminating (Entertainment Weekly)a young mortician goes behind the scenes of her curious profession. Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughtya twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabretook a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her lifes work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures. Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didnt know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like? Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin's engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).
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monalyisha
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You can learn more about Mercy Brown and the New England Vampire Panic from Ask a Mortician‘s Caitlin Doughty:

https://youtu.be/teFCP69trOI

49 likes1 stack add3 comments
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451Degrees
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Pickpick

Sometimes you get to finishing all your books all at once😅 Another I‘ve been working on for several years and another I hold very dear. A witty and honest take on the life of a mortician and facing your own mortality. Accompanied by the one and only #finankitten #catsoflitsy

WorldsOkayestStepMom 😻😻😻 3mo
451Degrees @WorldsOkayestStepMom 🥹❤️❤️ 3mo
54 likes2 comments
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451Degrees
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I was saying this even before COVID😞 An honest remark even if it hits hard

Clare-Dragonfly Did you notice the bit where someone says we will have a shortage of doctors by 2020? 😬 That stuck with me. 3mo
451Degrees @Clare-Dragonfly gave me goosebumps reading that😳 of course it was written before covid but I was like what timing! 3mo
33 likes2 comments
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MerlinTheSlightlyAwkward
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Pickpick

This is clever, hilarious and resounding.

Doughty picks apart what has culturally become a very taboo subject in the US- death and how we deal with the dead. She opens many closed doors, and makes jokes about all of our mortality; especially the fact that so many of us never truly contemplate it.

Love this. Hard conversations only, please.

#nonfiction #caitlindoughty #doughty #morbid #education #smokegetsinyoureyes

StaceGhost I find myself thinking about this book all the time 7mo
MerlinTheSlightlyAwkward @StaceGhost there are so many things to think on! Which scenes stick with you the most? 7mo
StaceGhost @MerlinTheSlightlyAwkward oof the suicide who stepped in front of the train, the mold she describes on the one woman, and the little girl sent off alone all make the rounds— and her emotional reactions, as a child and an adult. How she describes weeping at the sunset. I love the whole book! So powerful and life affirming (edited) 7mo
13 likes3 comments
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TalesandTexts
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Pickpick

Using humour, personal anecdotes & technical information from the American funeral industry, the author helps us get acquainted & comfortable with death.

It is these humorous, LOL anecdotes, that make us feel silly for being afraid of death, while also feeling awkward for laughing about something taboo & serious.

The narration by the author is really good. Not at all grim reaper-like, as the popular narratives have told us, morticians are.

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puzzledbooks
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“Looking at the body you understand the person is gone, no longer an active player in the game of life. Looking at the body you see yourself, and you know that you, too, will die. The visual is a call to self-awareness. It is the beginning of wisdom.”

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abbyreadz
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Pickpick

I‘ve been having such a hard time with panic attacks and anxiety lately and for some reason this book helped so much. With my panic attacks I‘m always afraid I will die so hearing about what happens to us when we die was a weirdly desensitizing experience.

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adoramichaels
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Pickpick

What a great eye opening book! Loved all that I learned and how fun her voice was. Cannot wait to read her other books!

#smokegetsinyoureyes #caitlindoughty #death

elkeOriginal Her books are awesome! 9mo
adoramichaels @elkeOriginal good to know!!! Can't wait!! 9mo
5 likes2 comments
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Cinsarly
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Pickpick

Love this memoir about working in the American death industry. The author shares her own perspective on what constitutes a good death while also briefly touching on death rituals and views in other cultures. She writes in a way that's funny and honest and she doesn't shy away from the uncomfortable aspects of death. Highly recommend.

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LibraryCin
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Pickpick

Loved some of the quirky people she worked with! I enjoyed reading about the different death/dying rituals through time and place. She does throw some humour in there – I suppose to work in the industry one must possess some humour to lighten things up. Like her, I have been wanting to have a green burial for a long time now. It was just about a week ago that a new cemetery opened in my city with a green burial option, so I‘m happy about that.

IuliaC I enjoyed this one very much 👍 13mo
13 likes1 comment
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Clare-Dragonfly
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September wrap-up: Not a lot of books finished, partly due to work, partly because The Golden Bough is so dang long. $7.77 for #pennyperpage.

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Readswithcoffee
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Pickpick

Another great book by Caitlin Doughty. Informative, interesting, and humorous stories of her job working in a crematory. Once again, I learned a lot about the death industry in America.

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Lauren890
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This book strikes a great balance between being morbid and funny. It‘s a great follow up to Stiff by Mary Roach (which I loved) but has more personal experience and opinions from someone who actually works in the crematory/death business. I appreciate Doughty‘s take on the way we handle death and how it‘s not talked about enough in our culture. I have the paperback but actually listened to the audiobook. Highly recommend!

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Clare-Dragonfly
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Pickpick

I love Caitlin Doughty! She‘s my favorite YouTube creator and while this wasn‘t my favorite book in quite the same way, I enjoyed it very much. Seeing her evolution from mildly traumatized child to crematory worker to Ask a Mortician was fascinating and funny.

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rwmg
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Pickpick

This book read like binging on somebody's blog posts, but the author had interesting experiences to relate and an interesting viewpoint to reflect on them so that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I would read her other books.

Soubhiville I‘m a big fan of this author. She‘s got some really good YouTube videos too, if you‘re interested. 1y
rwmg @Soubhiville I'll have to keep an eye out for them 1y
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rwmg
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rwmg
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A girl always remembers the first corpse she shaves. It is the only event in her life more awkward than her first kiss or the loss of her virginity.

#FirstLineFridays
@ShyBookOwl

bthegood Added to my TBR 😊 1y
rwmg @bthegood I hope you enjoy it 1y
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rwmg
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Tera66
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#Littensdressedinblood #Don'tFearTheReaper
@MidnightBookGirl
Caitlyn Doughty is an author, youtuber, funeral home owner and promoter of green burial. She promotes "death positivity". The tagged book, while pretty graphic, really helped me while grieving. I am a fan, also called her deathling.

MidnightBookGirl Love, love, love her books! They also have helped me with grief, and because I work with the elderly, it's important for me to see death in a more positive light. My friend and I are actually taking a End of Life Doula course starting this month. 1y
MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm Love her!!! Her YouTube channel is one of my favorites and I get all giddy when there‘s a new upload. 😅❤️ 1y
Tera66 @MidnightBookGirl wow! My friend is doing that too, she is also a psychic medium. I would love to hear about how it goes for you.. I think her books and podcasts have really helped me be more accepting of death and dying, my bestfriend calls me morbid. But I think it's just that death is easier to talk about because of Caitlyn. 1y
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Tera66 @MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm Mee too, especially the few she actually did during 2020. 1y
rwmg I've got Smoke Gets In Your Eyes on my virtual TBR shelf. Maybe it's time to move it up a bit 1y
Tera66 @rwmg It's great, but again warning, it has some icky parts. 1y
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Clare-Dragonfly
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Finally a good #LittensDressedInBlood prompt for my current read! What‘s more of a Dead Man‘s Party than the actual funeral?

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Clare-Dragonfly
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I took this picture last night for #LittensDressedInBlood but forgot to post it! Three books I‘m hoping to read this fall.

MidnightBookGirl I love Caitlin Doughty! And I'm currently reading a Zoraida Córdova novel. 1y
adoramichaels Just read and loved Smoke Gets in Your Eyes!! 9mo
32 likes2 comments
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Tera66
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#ConflictedWorlds #Death
@Eggs & @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks
While parts of this book are graphic and somewhat gross, this book really helped me through the grieving process after losing my grandma. Another 5 star book.

Eggs 💙 🔥🖤 1y
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Andrea313
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Two books off my #tbr by Caitlin Doughty, "mortician, activist, and funeral industry rabble-rouser." #Death #ConflictedWorlds
@Eggs @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 🖤🙌🏻📚 1y
SamAnne Loved the tagged. 1y
Eggs Death is part of life! 👏🏻📚🖤 1y
26 likes3 comments
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cajunsyd
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Interesting insights on the business of death. Not sure how I feel about this one yet.

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TheNeverendingTBR
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Pickpick

This one was dark, morbid and occasionally hilarious.

Really like this authors books, they're always interesting and thought-provoking.

The author takes us on a journey of reflection, accompanied by numerous anecdotes, about the destination that awaits us all.

Very good, interesting read and I hope she writes plenty more books.

IuliaC Good one! I also liked "From Here to Eternity" by the same author 1y
allureofbeauty Good one. 1y
JenniferEgnor I loved this book! If you haven‘t already, check out her ‘Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?‘! 1y
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TCLinrow
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Pickpick

Oh dear... I have some catching up to do today! Late review 2 of 3

This was such a beautiful, heartfelt yet also lighthearted and refreshing take on life, death, mortality and funerary practice in the modern age.
I really enjoyed hearing about it from and 'insider' in the industry because the death industry definitely seems like a secret society, hoarding its secrets, and I think it's long past due for an open and frank discussion.
⬇️

TCLinrow Amazing work, would recommend to everyone. 2y
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Sreckess
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Pickpick

I heard author and mortician Caitlin Doughty interviewed on Freakonomics radio, and she was so funny, engaging and smart. I had to buy this, her first book, about her adventures working in a crematorium and attending mortician school. This book will challenge your views on dead bodies and the funeral industry, and make you ask: What is a good death? Why do we embalm the dead? Whose responsibility is disposing of a body? A fast, thoughtful read.

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Donatron
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I‘m loving this one.. but I‘m taking my time with it, you know? 😌

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Jas16
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Pickpick

Not sure I expected to like this one as much as I did but I was fascinated with the behind the scenes look at working at crematory and examination of how Americans treat death. This is definitely not a book for the squeamish but one I would recommend to anyone else.

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snowpaws94
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Pickpick

This is the first audio book I've ever listened to and I'm afraid I've set the bar too high for myself. This book was dark and funny and reflective. Trigger warnings for death, suicide, and child death. I think this books was a great examination of mortality although there was a couple of points towards the end I not sure I agreed with, but she defended her position well and raised some good points about the American funeral industry.

SamAnne Loved this book. 2y
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Augustdana
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Had this one on my list for ages and kept hitting deliver later, deliver later. So I thought it‘s now or never. Have you put books back on your list so many times you wonder why it was on your list to begin with? Why did I want to read it in the first place?

monalyisha I loved another by her — I hope you love this one, too! 2y
Augustdana @monalyisha I love the idea behind it, not sure I‘m ready for this heavy subject. But if not now, when? 2y
Tamra Yes! 😉 2y
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snowpaws94

"He wore a button down shirt and khakis- California formal wear."

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Addison_Reads
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Pickpick

#NonFiction2021 @Riveted_Reader_Melissa I'm using this read for my free space. 😀

This book will definitely not be everyone's cup of tea. I personally loved the honest look into what goes on behind the scenes. Many people don't realize all that happens to a body after you die, whether you're cremated or have a traditional funeral. I also loved the personal stories the author included as she pursued her career.

#BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

Riveted_Reader_Melissa Have you ever read Stiff? My mom found that one fascinating. I‘ll recommend this one to her too. 2y
Addison_Reads @Riveted_Reader_Melissa Yes, I really leaned a lot from Stiff. This book had some overlapping information with Stiff, but it also had a lot of new stuff. Just as a warning for your mom, the author does talk about having to cremate babies, which was a little difficult to read, but I appreciated her honesty. 2y
Addison_Reads Learned* not leaned 😬 2y
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TheAromaofBooks Great review!! 2y
JenniferEgnor I loved this book! 2y
SamAnne I loved this one. 2y
45 likes4 stack adds6 comments
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rachelsbrittain
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This week's reading. Pretty good with all the audiobooks I got through while unpacking

suvata Another Ove lover here 🤍 2y
LaraReads ⬆️ Same here! 2y
60 likes3 comments
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rachelsbrittain
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Pickpick

An incredible memoir about Doughty's early experiences in the funeral industey and how she became the death positive advocate she is today. Definitely not for the easily shocked or horrified (we're talking an insider look into a crematory operator's world) but I love Doughty's outlook & voice & continue to learn so much from her not only about death & dying & funerary rituals but also how to approach death in a healthier way. Definitely recommend!

SamAnne I loved this one. 2y
rachelsbrittain @SamAnne I read her other two books and didn't even realize this one was a memoir until I started it. So good. 2y
ElleSkel I had no idea this existed. From here to Eternity is one of my favorites ! I will be reading this one soon for sure! 2y
See All 6 Comments
Leftcoastzen Great read! 2y
Tera66 I listened to this after losing some family members, this was weirdly cathartic and helped me through it. Its a great book. 2y
Crazeedi This was a great one! 2y
65 likes4 stack adds6 comments
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CharismaRaven13
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Amazing and highly informative book. I follow Caitlin Doughty on YouTube. Her channel is called: Ask a Mortician. This book is part biography, history facts, a few fun facts, mixed with curiosity for the reader and some philosophical thoughts. Just a great read for the curious minds.

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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
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Pickpick

Doughty masterfully blends memoir about her first year working in a crematory, thoughts on dying "a good death" and how current death industry/cultural beliefs prevent it, & historical tidbits about death in mostly western cultures but not exclusively. It works wonderfully together, especially w/ the engaging writing, dry humour, and commitment to telling it like it is. This book went deeper emotionally than I was expecting, a pleasant surprise.

43 likes1 comment
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reema
Pickpick

This is partly a memoir and partly a way to inform the public about death. To erase the mystique and make it less scary for everyone. It was at times touching, humorous, and thoroughly fascinating.

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Twainy
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Pickpick

🎧 2nd book I‘ve read by this author. This is the older more comprehensive one. It basically includes her life story, schooling & work history on top of other facts that were repeated in the newer book.

If you just want a fun read (which I did) the Cat eating the eyeballs book is the better shorter funnier more polished book.

Sigh ... the life & times of a crematorium/funeral home employee. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Mandigolightly
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Pickpick

Interesting. I could have done without the Puppy Surprise comparison, but hey.

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ephemeralwaltz
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Bumped up on the TBR because I just borrowed it from a friend ✨ I think this‘ll be my mood this week.

rachelsbrittain Love Caitlin Doughty! 2y
Kalalalatja She is so great! I still need to read this, but her other books were awesome 👌 2y
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Court7
Pickpick

Good.

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MsRadioSilence
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Pickpick

I read this one for a book club, and while it did make me very emotionally raw, it‘s so, so very good.

I have a bit of an issue talking about death, my own mortality, etc. based on personal experiences and regrets surrounding family I‘ve lost, but this book just makes me want to be better, more clear, and less afraid in the future. I shouldn‘t be terrified every time my mom calls, but I should call people more often. 10/10, would recommend

LostInSpace I find Doughtys work so interesting, I‘ve read several of her books and they‘ve all helped me feel more at peace with mortality. 2y
Megabooks Completely agree with you. I love that she took on her own fear of death following the accident she witnessed as a child. I waited to read this, but I agree that I ended up feeling surprisingly comforted by it. 💖💖💖 2y
Leftcoastzen 😻 2y
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Megabooks
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Pickpick

I was worried I would find this look into working at a crematory too morbid, even though I‘ve read her other books. Instead, I appreciated her desire to learn more about death after witnessing a tragic accident as a child. I experienced a lot of patients dying as a veterinarian, and many, including my own pets, were cremated. This book, in the end, made me feel better about cremation. I appreciated her look at US funeral customs, too. Great read!

veritysalter Have you watched her YouTube channel ‘Ask a Mortician‘? 2y
Megabooks @veritysalter no, but thanks for letting me know about it! 2y
veritysalter She‘s been doing a few historical disasters recently and going deeper in to their history, I especially enjoyed ‘The Real Moby Dick Was So Much Worse‘, she also does Iconic Corpses, Cadaver Crime and all sorts of death positive things. 2y
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readordierachel Oh good. I have been a little wary of this book for the same reason, but it sounds great. So glad for this review! 2y
Reviewsbylola By far my favorite book of hers! May be time for a reread. 2y
Megabooks @readordierachel thanks! I hope if you do read it, that you enjoy it. 👍🏻 2y
Megabooks @Reviewsbylola it‘s never a bad time to reread a good book, if you ask me! 2y
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shadowspeak17
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
This was an interesting book. Some of the organization of info was a little weird to me, like I wasn‘t sure where she was going with things sometimes, but there is good information in here. A lot of the information about cremation and the death industry wasn‘t new to me since my boyfriend works in the industry, but I think this would be a good introduction for people who aren‘t very familiar with it.

#catsoflitsy #Phoenix

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Crazeedi
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Pickpick

A well written book, describing Caitlins choice of careers, actually stumbled into. The author describes the process of cremation and also her commentary on the culture of death in our country. Very thoughtful opinions and ideas are expressed by the author. Well worth reading

kspenmoll Great review!!! 2y
Crazeedi @kspenmoll I wanted to say more, but didnt, well worth reading and contemplating 2y
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K.Wielechowski
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Pickpick

Caitlin Doughty is quickly becoming my new favorite person.
This focuses on her first job in the death industry, operating the crematory at Westwind funeral home. It touches on her time in mortuary school and her own struggles coping with the death around her. It is also a great resource about the modern death industry in the US and little-known alternatives.
Death, humor, and a whole lot of bodies.

britt_brooke I loved this! Truly eye opening. 2y
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K.Wielechowski
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“Nothing,” he said. “It‘s too late.”

This is sobering and tragic.

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K.Wielechowski
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Don‘t read this while you‘re eating lunch. Don‘t be like me. 😳🤢

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Soubhiville
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Pickpick

Why do I love books like this so much? Caitlin Doughty discusses her first brushes with death- a goldfish (pretty sure that was mine as well), and a tragic accident at a mall. She talks about her first experience at her crematory job, and the challenges of transporting the dead. All with tact and with humor.

I really enjoyed this.

MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm I love her YouTube channel. I‘ve been meaning to grab copies of her books for forever! 😅 2y
Soubhiville @MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm I had no idea she had a YouTube channel. Thanks! 2y
Crazeedi Definitely want to read!! 2y
MegaWhoppingCosmicBookwyrm @Soubhiville Oh my goodness, she is FANTASTIC! You‘re very welcome! Always happy to bring in more Deathlings! 😜🖤 2y
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