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Happier Endings: A Meditation On Life And Death

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  98 ratings  ·  28 reviews
A wise and affirming meditation on living fully and preparing for death, written by a highly regarded spiritual teacher.

We are all going to die, but some of us will die better.

As a spiritual teacher based in the Washington, D.C., area, Erica Brown has attracted a strong following among those looking for practical wisdom based on the worlds most revered and treasured
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Simon Schuster (first published April 1st 2013)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  98 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Jun 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
A gentle touch in discussing a difficult subject, the author brings compassion and clarity to conversations about death.

And at last my own death will steal upon me...
A gentle, painless death, far from the sea when it comes
To take me down, borne down with the years in ripe old age
With all my people here in blessed peace around me.
-Homer, on the reunion of Penelope and Odysseus

Costco sells caskets (!)

The FTC requires funeral homes to accept any casket purchased from an outside source. Try
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
I did like this book (which was a bit surprising, as I am not fond of the subject matter). I found it a tender analysis of death and the dying.

It provides the authors answers to the questions of what death and the dying have to teach us.. To appreciate daily life and also the importance of loving those close to us. My favorie part of the text was the section on how to make the last months, weeks, days and hours as meaningful as possible, for both the dying and loved ones.

Some of the religious
Ashlie Gillis Nelson
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I just won this book through the Goodreads giveaway. I am looking forward to reading it and will update my review once I have finished.
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am in my 80's and I thought this was a great read. Death is something you think a lot about in your golden years. I liked the author's view that dying well can be inspiring.
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received this book as a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. I was unsure what to expect of a "meditation on life and death," and was pleasantly surprised at the familiar and comfortable tone of the book. A highly personal and sensitive subject is explored with dignity, and even humor at times. It is a refreshing look straight at a subject that is often considered taboo in polite conversation.

Ms. Brown has explored death from all perspectives: religious and secular, fearful and welcoming, sudden
Frank Maris
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all my family, friends and others
Recommended to Frank by: no one-just found in Clev Hts library
The preface of 17 pages, Overcoming the Fear of Death, discusses two kind of death:1.[the normal everyday version I assume or guess]-the death where no one spoke about the death before the death and 2.[the version described by the author]e.g.the death of Rose where plans were made ahead of time, in this case
"Not long after her mother died,Connie and I (the author Erica Brown)met on a sparkling San Francisco afternoon...and spoke about her mother. "I'm so sorry to hear about her," said the
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: goodreads
I was happy to find a read that made perfect sense. I was stunned reading about the different experiences of others who've dealt with death and the processes, in which I also found my self relating. I also want to express that it was painful to read some points but the author has a way of smoothing out the brutality that comes from some experiences. Most notable are the ways different religions handle the way in which to die well. All seem to agree that dying well can be done. I am thankful for ...more
Wendy Bornstein
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have ever read: although a difficult subject to think about the writings of Erica Brown take this intangible and focus on how each of us can strive to meet our goals as best possible to feel fulfilled when the inevitable time approaches. Through this book I have become more aware of the importance of quality time and although we each want more and more time the key is to maximize the time we are allotted. Erica discusses the value of preparing an ethical will to ...more
Kasey Cocoa
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Companionate without glossing over a difficult subject for many. Touching and at times humorous, while providing the necessary tools we all need to deal with this part of life; death. While God is mentioned this never feels preachy or heavy on religion so anyone can read and benefit from this book. The handling of each section is just the right amount of delicate and honest. There is a comforting feeling as you finish this must read. An outline is even provided should you chose to take a bit of ...more
Alice  Heiserman
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is probably the most important book I have ever read. It talks about death--both our own and that of those we love. It offers a variety of approaches to death and dying but basically it says if you are prepared, you get a lot more choices of having things as you desire. This is not a maudlin study nor a how to book but offers some practical suggestions--such as writing an ethical will, how we can go on after the death of someone we love, settling scores and healing old wounds, choosing the ...more
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent book on the topic of death. Erica Brown explores what makes a "good death". She talks about everything from the nitty gritty paperwork left to the survivors to last words and ethical wills. The author is Jewish and so has more to say about that religion's rituals than any other. She is a good storyteller which lightens the topic some. She does have good ideas on how to approach death and grieving. I am so grateful that I was given a copy of this by First Reads on I will ...more
Shirley Freeman
We read and discussed this in bookgroup. Erica Brown has written a bit of a how-to manual on how to have a happier ending (i.e. death). She discusses the 'business' of funeral homes, burial vs. cremation, living wills, getting one's affairs in order ahead of time, deciding when enough medical intervention is enough, etc. This and other recent books are doing a good job of opening up the topic of how we do death in America -- a important conversation in my opinion. The chapter and appendix on ...more
Kimberly Laplante
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book in a first-reads giveaway and really enjoyed it. Since the author's background is in spiritual (Judaism) education I expected the book to have a very religious slant, but that expectation was unfounded. I am not a religious person and I got a lot out of the book. I particularly like the idea of writing letters to those in your life to be read after your death. The only certainty in life is death - it can be done poorly or done well. In depends on whether or not you face your ...more
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dying
Brown's reflections on living and dying, and, especially preparing for dying and caring for the dead add to a substantial literature. Grounded in Jewish teachings, Brown explores other ways of understanding death and dying, putting readers in touch with a number of other contemporary books on the subject. The appendix on ethical wills provides a template for readers interested in composing theirs. Good book for a class on end-of-life planning or addressing the spiritual and emotional issues of ...more
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Happier Endings: A Meditation On Life and Death gives the reader a lot of food for thought. As a nurse I have had experience with the dying, but yet it still holds some mystery when it comes to thinking about my own demise. This book examines death rituals and touches on serious subject matter such as suicide and ethical wills. I'm glad I read this book and recommend it highly.
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was happy to read this book. It was a perfect mixture of the emotional and factual. A great exploration of what death is in our society and to the individual. Though the background of the author is religious education, it really explores death and dying in a broader lens with more information than I expected when diving in. A very positive read.
Apr 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading the anecdotes the author uses to share the various perspectives of death during all stages - preparation, after death, grieving, etc. The book provides you with some examples of how others have prepared for their deaths and makes you think about what you need to do in order to be prepared for the kind of death you want.
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but it was great. The ideas and perspectives were diverse, and I think everyone could find something meaningful in here. Hopefully I won't need this information for a very long time, but I'm glad to know it's there!
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
About how our (individual & societal) fear of death keeps us from "dying well", from putting our affairs in order to saying what we need to say to those around us. Found it informative, clearly written, and not biased toward a particular religion thought he author talks about her faith (Jewish).
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Extremely interesting discussion of how we view, fear and deal with death. Raises questions about how we might better prepare for and accept the inevitable both for the dying and their loved ones.

Thoughtful and thought provoking.
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book. The author describes a lot of people's experiences with death, and gives her perspective on how it affected both the person who is dying, and the people left behind. The book leaves you with some good things to think about.
Brittany Perry
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
in one word innovative. Completely groundbreaking book.
Apr 22, 2013 marked it as to-read
I'm pleasantly surprised I won this book via giveaways. Thank you both Goodreads and Erica Brown, I look forward to the read (:
Christi Exman
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tried-but-failed
how many times can you try to make death seem cool?
Ron Frampton
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
ERICA BROWN does not bring out we are going to die as we all know ,but how we should live with the time we have here on earth.
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: won-done
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to review this. More to follow regarding the rating.
rated it really liked it
Aug 22, 2014
rated it liked it
Apr 25, 2013
Linda Ethier
rated it it was amazing
Feb 19, 2016
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