Good Minds Suggest: Caitlin Doughty Recommends Coffee Table Corpses

Posted by Goodreads on October 2, 2017
Caitlin Doughty

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Los Angeles-based mortician and funeral home owner Caitlin Doughty has garnered morbidly curious fans around the world for her webseries Ask a Mortician and her New York Times bestselling memoir Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

With her new book, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, Doughty takes us around the globe (and to practitioners right here in America) to see how death practices are evolving. The journey has everything from mummies to open-air pyres to rituals that may just bring our death-phobic culture closer to its own mortality.

Here the writer shares her favorite "Coffee Table Corpses"—five books of art photographs that will help everyone see the beauty in death.

Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs by Paul Koudounaris
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"Paul is a legend in the death world, and his photography is exquisite. Many of these bejeweled skeletons of the Counter-Reformation had never been photographed prior to Paul showing up in small European towns with a camera and a dream."


What Remains by Sally Mann
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"A book of eerie, haunting, ethereal (I could go on) photographs Sally Mann captured at the body research facility at the University of Tennessee. If the only dead bodies you've ever seen are fake corpses on TV or gore shots from rotten.com, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of a decomposing human in nature."


Mütter Museum: Historic Medical Photographs by Laura Lindgren
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"Europe is filled with medical pathology museums—distended colons, kidney stones, babies in jars, so on. Us poor folk in America really only have the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. Fortunately it's a wonderful teaching institution with bizarre and photo-worthy medical specimens."


Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine 1880-1930 by John Harley Warner and James M. Edmonson
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"If a photo was leaked today of medical students jauntily posing with their flayed cadavers, a massive scandal would ensue. The turn of the 20th century saw no such restrictions. A book of truly surreal photographs and history that demonstrates how far medical education has come."


Sleeping Beauty II: Grief, Bereavement and the Family in Memorial Photography, American and European Traditions by Stanley B. Burns and Elizabeth A. Burns
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"When photography was new, rare, and expensive, sometimes the only photograph a person would have taken was after they were already dead. This form of postmortem photography is a lost art, and seeing the intimate photos here will make you mourn its demise."



Want more book recommendations from authors? Check out our Good Minds Suggest series.



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message 1: by Lilanthi (new)

Lilanthi "From Here to eternity", "Smoke gets in your eyes" recurring lines from Movies / Songs of the '50s!


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