Finding Potter’s Field: Indigent Burial in the United States

A patron recently called the library to ask what happens when someone dies without means to pay for cremation or burial. In some cases, such a person might have no living relatives. In others, the identity of the deceased is simply unknown.

Here’s what we learned: Continue reading “Finding Potter’s Field: Indigent Burial in the United States”

October Takeover: Books About Bodies

~posted by Selby G.

“It is difficult to put words to the smell of decomposing human. It is dense and cloying, sweet but not flower-sweet. Halfway between rotting fruit and rotting meat.” Mary Roach, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

With a description like that it is not difficult to understand why most living people do their best to avoid dead people. Many cultures see the deceased as something to be hidden: covered by a white cloth, not fully shown in news photos, and wholly inappropriate to display in the front parlor. Other cultures have a different view of dying, and the bodies we leave behind. Here are some books that give you a glimpse into the culture of death.

Find Memento Mori in the SPL catalogFind The Empire of Death in the SPL catalogFind Heavenly Bodies in the SPL catalog Continue reading “October Takeover: Books About Bodies”

Finding books to help deal with death

In the last month, four people have died suddenly or tragically who I did not know well but I am close friends with some of their families, friends or co-workers.  And, I’ve just heard about a nephew planning to get married later this year.  So I eerily feel like I’m writing a story called “Four Funerals and a Wedding.”  During this emotional time, knowing that I work in libraries, some friends have asked me for suggestions on what to read maybe now or later.  Here are just a few of the helpful ones found by searching in the catalog.

Moving Beyond Loss: Real Answers to Real Questions from Real People deals with grief following situations that include sudden death and declining health. Experiences are grouped in categories covering the beginning, stages of grief, and unique situations. It’s moving to read the many true and hard stories about what others are going through. Russell Friedman and John W. James have written a few books together on grief.  This one provides many heartfelt responses that help grievers, family and friends Continue reading “Finding books to help deal with death”

They see dead people…sort of

Here are two paranormal series written on a theme, a woman who can see how and when people die, one in hindsight and other as foresight. The Harper Connelly Series is the invention of Charlaine Harris who is known for several series including Sookie Stackhouse in the Southern Vampire Mysteries. The other by Chuck Wendig is the Blackbirds Series. Wendig is also a screenwriter, blogger and game designer. Both are excellent writers, but with very different writing styles.

Harper Connelly has it rough. After being struck by lightning at the age of 15 she can find missing people’s remains. She can feel the dead and find their final resting place, and then experiences their death. The drawback is if it is murder Continue reading “They see dead people…sort of”