Tag Archive: death



Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical ExaminerWorking Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all, don’t read this book before going to sleep. Or you won’t, especially from the part about 9/11 on. Still, it is such an engaging read. And the narrator, Tanya Eby, made the book lively, even though much of it is about death.

If Grey’s Anatomy has taught me anything about the life of a potential surgeon, it is the lack of sleep and how dangerous that lack can be for the doctor and the patient. It is that lack of sleep and trying to be a young mother that the author, Judy Melinek, realized she needed a different path, even though this path was nearly finished for the author. But all that training did lead her to be a Medical Examiner in New York.

We Americans hide from sex and death. We can talk of taxes until the cows come home. But of the two topics, death seems the least discussed. And that is too bad. We need to know about that part of life for ourselves and our loved ones.

If you are a writer, this book can be quite the reference. I can see many ways the book can be used to write a mystery or lend credence to a fatality in the novel.

I highly recommend this book, especially in audio form. I was lucky to pick it up from the library on Libby.

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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human CadaversStiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The narrator, Shelly Frasier, made this book so exciting and fun. Well, despite this book being about cadavers and all.

The book was nonfiction, but the author’s stories keep a heavy and sad topic intriguing. Mary Roach includes a history of how humans have handled the dead. She also shows the research of what is working and what is actually causing harm to us and the planet.

I feel the blurb says it best, and with it, you may know if this is for you or not. I might have said no, but a friend told me about it, and she’s usually a bit more squeamish, but she loved it.

“A contagiously cheerful exploration of the cruel diligences executed on some of our bodies when, after death, we abandon them on the threshold of their graves, this book shows us cadavers turned into carcasses, and scientific experiments, the deceased who contribute to the progress of medicine with perforated genitals and extracted eyes, flesh flung from airplanes or shot with bullets to verify the efficiency of new weapons, and discards crucified like Jesus or devoured by maggots. Mary Roach has written a book that explores the great beyond in order to show us the more visible and deplorable side of the next life.”

Try it, you might like it, and possibly learn something. By the way, I got my audio copy from Libby. For those that don’t know it is a library lending service for Kindle or Audiobooks.

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Share Your World August 30, 2021


QUESTIONS   

(Going DEEP on these today)

Are human beings required to better themselves, and will doing that make them happier?

Who would require this? So no. I don’t think humans are required to better themselves. Nor can I say that those who strive to better themselves are happier in the process, or even with the final result of said bettering. I would love to say that some chose not to work on themselves at all. But maybe that is judgemental of me to look at them from the outside. Maybe they are doing the best they can at where they are in their path of living. I try to not judge myself either and just do my best to do what feels like the right thing to do.

Is it easier to love or to be loved?

Being loved is out of our hands. And though it may seem a nice thing, it can be torturous if you can’t return in kind for whatever reason. But truly loving a person holds deep responsibilities. So though the emotion can be easy, the follow-through can be painful. So I didn’t answer with a definitive. I guess loving is easier if it is your constant choice in how you live your life. Having loving habits makes that follow-through more automatic.

Outside traumatic brain injury, can memories be completely erased?

I don’t think so. They readjust as they are reflected against current moods and life. Bad memories can be less emotionally charged when leveled with knowing other information unavailable when the memory happened. Good memories can come from looking a the mundane with loving understanding. In this case, seeing your mother’s grocery list in her handwriting after she passed. I still get a tear in my eye when I remember picking up that boring bit of scrap paper.

Is there such a thing as a good death?

No. I guess I am bad about endings. I’m bad about people who leave me, or I have to leave. Even when I know, we will see each other again. Lots of tears. The sadness of the loss. But I wouldn’t want a person to live in debilitating pain. That would hurt worse.

and one ‘silly’ one because the former questions were fairly serious:   What do you imagine is inside a baseball?    

I imagine a rock in the hardball and a baby chick in the softball. I have seen the inside of a golf ball, my favorite jacks ball; it looked like a bunch of rubber bands. And I suppose if I got curious, I could go Google it. Not that curious. Sorry. Throw me the baby chick, please.

GRATITUDE SECTION

Feel free to share something uplifting this week!  

I am grateful that the hot summer seems to be ebbing. We have to drip our water tonight as the temp is predicted to be 32. I am grateful the flies are on their last days!

Thank you, MELANIE B CEE, for Share Your World questions to pursue!


‘When death is not seen as a normal thing, it becomes a scary thing.’

Yvensong, in a discussion about bonding with pets, and grief of the loss of pets, and people.

 

Pixabay.com

 

One-liner Wednesday is a fun prompt by Linda G. Hill.


Going BovineGoing Bovine by Libba Bray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me by a very good friend. I couldn’t afford to buy it at the time. Luckily the library had the Kindle and Overdrive versions. I seemed to like listening to the audio more than trying to track the Kindle.

Guys doing girl or women’s voices as it always sounds condescending, to me, but Erik Davies (Narrator), kept my interest and I soon lost the distraction of his female voice.

Though a serious subject matter, this story has you wondering what is happening and nearly breathlessly following the characters on their adventures to save the world and the main character, Cameron’s life.

It has been labeled “Quirky”. I agree! It is certainly worth the read.

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Lichgates (The Grimoire Saga, #1)Lichgates by S.M. Boyce

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When a young distraught young woman finds herself in another dimension her life is forever changed. As long as she becomes what this new reality wants from her.

It was an interesting read but the minute it became like epic fantasy I became bored with it and nearly stopped reading. For those who love those ancient stories, this will be quite pleasing. But I only liked it when the modern woman who has now lost her parents finds herself back and forth in time. I thought it interesting to watch a modern woman adjust to old ways but when the story veers off to the inhabitant of that world, YAWN! Thank goodness it went back to the main character it became more interesting again.

Maybe others will like it better.

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Five Minutes in HeavenFive Minutes in Heaven by Lisa Alther

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a ride! Not exactly rollercoaster, but not merry-go-round either. From the beginning, I like the main character, Jude. She is one who doesn’t belong in the world, but finds her way, anyway. She is flawed and confused, with good reasons. I wanted to root for her to win each of her obstacles.

From Tennessee to New York to France and back, Jude struggles with her demons, longing for love to return to her as pure as she put it out. Rarely does it find her. Mostly because of her own insecurities and lack of role-models, love floats out as a fantasy. Never to be achieved.

I picked this version of the book up from Amazon, Kindle Unlimited (which is in fact limited, as you can only have ten ‘checked out’ at a time). I kind of wished I had the Audible version or the Whispersync to go along, but I managed okay without.

My biggest complaint is the French. Not the people. Just the use of the language with no definitions available to the reader. If you only took Latin, Spanish and German in your language classes, French isn’t a language you even have books for. At least that’s how it is in my house. So I had to ignore the language and hoped to get the gist. I hate when authors do that to the reader. It stinks of a superiority to the reader. It wasn’t necessary. If you are conveying a story to the reader. and most of the book is in English, why not continue in that language in the last third of the book?

And the ending? Wish I had been given a grown up, matured, version of Jude when she comes home at last! The last part ended in the same way, that the other two sections had ended. Wondering what next. Still, it was worth the read.

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Cracks in the Sidewalk Cracks in the Sidewalk by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Okay, maybe 3.5 stars. I know everyone is going to be upset with me about my rating since most of the ratings I see are four and five stars. I suppose if you were healthy enough to read in a paper or hardback book you would see the breaks. But those of us who must use text-to-speech those breaks are not so obvious. I spent most of the early chapters rereading to figure out whose viewpoint I was reading from. And it went from first person to third person at the drop of a hat. A simple *** between these might help a person know what’s coming. Even chapter numbers along with a name would help. Then at about 51% into the book it goes from an inspirational, bittersweet story to Christian fiction. I almost decided not to finish. Luckily the author regains the strength of story she had before and rarely uses the crutch of God to show how human lives affect each other. Not that I have given up on Christian fiction. If I know what it is ahead of time I can adjust. But in this case, the theme is of LOVE and life. It isn’t that God is foreign to this theme. God is Love, ya know. But with all the other problems I had staying with the story, this one jangled the nerves the most. Now for the good news. Even with the daughter dying of a brain tumor, whose husband had become the enemy of the family, the emotions of those two problems didn’t overtake me and leave me feeling depressed or angry. The author managed to keep the story about life and love and gave us hope. Not irrational hope of snake-oil, that the daughter would be magically healed. And please, don’t misunderstand me. I do believe that miracles happen. And I believe that people can change, but I didn’t believe the son-in-law would change. The story gave enough to the reader to know these two factors would remain the same and the story is how everyone dealt with the facts. In the end, I found the inspirational message of how our lives affect those around us and the help we give could just be the help we need.

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Are You My Mother?
Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is on my wishlist to own! Thank you, Washoe County Library System for carrying this book!

It is not an easy book to get through. But if you manage, you find so many diamonds of wisdom to apply to your own life.

Which of us has gotten through childhood unscathed? Which of us, as parents, release healthy, unscathed adults into the world? In Alison Bechdel’s first memoir, Fun Home, Alison addressed her life with her father. In this book, Alison tells of her life with her mother. I was amazed at how well she was able to keep the story on her own interpretation of her own life. She brings in her therapists and friends and lovers in how they help her understand why certain things happened and how she can get over it and become whole.

Though this is done in comic book form it is far from funny. Yet, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, she was able to speak volumes using this method of story telling. It brought my own mother issues to mind while reading this.

A spot of vomit on the floor. Running lines with mom for the next play she’ll be in. The inability to cry properly. Maybe these things wouldn’t cause you cathartic experience, but as you follow Alison’s path, which is also her mother’s path, it is easy to relate to both women. As Alison calls into play the works of Virginia Wolfe and Freude among others to help her understand how it all fits and how we all fit into our mother’s worlds.

This book may have triggers for some people but I think that most people will find if they stick it out there are more answers than questions through Ms. Bechdel’s story. I recommend it highly to everyone.

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Review: Undrawn


Undrawn
Undrawn by Conchie Fernandez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I received this Kindle version book on an author giveaway day.

Honestly, have you every let something sit on the shelf too long? That is what happened here. I wish I would have read it right away. I usually have an email back up to let me know how I received a book. This time, I only had the tags (shelves on GoodReads) that I set up when I got it. So this review isn’t timely. Sorry.

I have a problem reading contemporary books. They are too real. I like to read to escape everyday situations like family dysfunction and death and how those two problems play out in real life. And though this book is well-written, this is what jumped out at me: dysfunctional, rich family with high expectations. Throw into that a gay son, another son who would rather pursue his art, who won’t be following into law school, who has diabetes (type 1)… bossy oldest brother… Real life. I suppose if you are living in an enchanted land this would be the story for you. For me? Depressing.

The author, Conchie Fernandez, has made the kind of book you don’t want to put down. You want to see what will happen. You want to see if there are any redeemable moments for any of the characters. So I would guess that it is hope that drives the book. Ms. Fernandez’s characters are realistic. Her research seems strong yet subdued. It is a quick read and inspires me want to paint.

As I said before if you are escaping reality, death, cussing, etc. this isn’t for you. If you want to read good writing, great characters, enjoy!

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