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Search tags: Macabre
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review 2018-06-23 15:55
Is Death owned by Big Business?
The American Way of Death Revisited - Jessica Mitford

The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford blew my freaking mind. There's no other way to say it. I took 4 pages of notes after finishing it and then bought my own copy so that I could reference back to it. As you might have guessed from the title this is another book about death culture and funeral practices in the United States. (Here are 3 more on the topic: Caitlin Doughty 1 & 2 and Bess Lovejoy.) Mitford gives a comprehensive look at the funeral industry in America up to the last update of her book in 1997. (A small portion of the book compares the US outlook on death with the UK and there is a stark difference.) She does not shy away from making her points about the injustices committed by those working in the funeral industry. She discusses the methods employed by everyone from funeral home directors to gravestone manufacturers. This book was a definite eyeopener in terms of what is actually legal when it comes to the handling of the dead. (Spoiler alert: pretty much everything.) 

Alas, poor Yorick! How surprised he would be to see how his counterpart of today is whisked off to a funeral parlor and is in short order sprayed, sliced, pierced, pickled, trussed, trimmed, creamed, waxed, painted, rouged, and neatly dressed - transformed from common corpse into a Beautiful Memory Picture. This process is known in the trade as embalming and restorative art, and is so universally employed in the United States and Canada that for years the funeral director did it routinely, without consulting corpse or kin. He regards as eccentric those few who are hardy enough to suggest that it might be dispensed with yet no law requires embalming, no religious doctrine commends it, nor is it dictated by considerations of health, sanitation, or even of personal daintiness. In no part of the world but in North America is it widely used. The purpose of embalming is to make the corpse presentable for viewing in a suitably costly container; and here too the funeral director routinely, without first consulting the family, prepares the body for public display. - pg 43

I include this lengthy quote (and another in a moment) to illustrate the importance of being educated about what your rights are both as the deceased and as the loved one making the arrangements after death. Mitford includes accounts of deliberate fraud by members of the funeral industry against the grieving. (Many funeral homes even include in their pricing grief counseling!) The frauds range from offering 'package deals' with no options for opting out, non-disclosed fees prior to invoicing, refusal to provide itemized statements for services, or inflation on pre-need arrangements (example: plots purchased well before death). I think this is a book that every single person should read because it discusses in depth a topic which is considered taboo in our country but until it is talked about openly and frankly as Mitford does the funeral industry under its many guises will continue to take advantage of the average consumer. Know your rights, people! 10/10

 

And speaking of rights I'd like to leave you with this bit of advice from the last chapter of Mitford's book:

Send a friend to two or more mortuaries to obtain their general price lists and casket prices. Ask for the cost of direct cremation, including transportation costs and crematory fees. Likewise, for the cost of immediate burial. Pay no money in advance. If death has not yet occurred and you wish to pay in installments, do so by setting up a Totten Trust, naming yourself or a relative or close friend as beneficiary. Remember, above all, that many funeral homes have a "no-walk" policy, which means simply that if and when you start to walk out, the fee will come down, down, down until a level acceptable to you is reached. - pg 274

 

 

What's Up Next: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Condoleezza Rice: A memoir of my extraordinary, ordinary family and me by Condoleezza Rice

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-04-30 05:54
Land of Bones: 14 Tales of the Strange & Macabre
Land of Bones: 14 Tales of the Strange and Macabre - Glenn Rolfe

This was a nice collection and variety of short stories for any fan of the horror genre! I normally don't read too many short stories because I hardly ever get that feeling of satisfaction that I get when reading a full length story but I read these in between work projects and I found they were just what I needed and the perfect length for the amount of time I had to spare. I really came away with a deeper appreciation of short stories and how useful they can be in certain situations. I know I won't shy away from them now like I use too. 

 

My favorite stories in this collection were- Not in Kansas Anymore, Avenging Kitten, Welcome to Paradise, The Fixer, The Rooster, and Too Much of a Dead Thing

 

 

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

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review 2018-03-26 19:27
I've heard of misplacing car keys but losing a head is just plain careless
Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses - Bess Lovejoy

Yes, I'm somewhat fascinated by death culture. No, I don't think it's unhealthy. Yes, I do recognize it makes many people uncomfortable especially when walking around with a book somewhat shaped like a coffin with the title Rest in Pieces emblazoned across the front. (It might have been unwise to read this on an airplane but I'm a risk taker.) The subtitle of Bess Lovejoy's book is a dead (ha!) giveaway as to the substance of what lies within (on a roll here!). This book is full of fascinating histories of what became of famous people's corpses. She covers everyone from Presidents and political leaders to outlaws, radicals, and artists. No matter their designation, the dead were rarely left to rest peacefully and with all of their pieces together. There was a lot of ground to cover and I honestly felt like I learned quite a bit (I'm going to be a hit at my next dinner party if I ever get invited to another one). If you have a strong stomach, an interest in the unconventional, and some time on your hands then this is one you definitely shouldn't pass up. 10/10

 

Inside art from the illustrator Mark Stutzman

 

What's Up Next: I've Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-09-07 14:25
Echoes from the Macabre: Selected Stories - Daphne du Maurier

I love DuMaurier's stories, starting way back when with this collection.  That title story is brilliant and creepy.

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review 2016-12-12 11:09
Requiem Vampire 2
Requiem Vampire Knight, Vol 2: Danse Macabre - Pat Mills

The plot is still a bit so so but I enjoyed the artwork more in this one. Some of the panels are amazing looking but at times it definitely feels like style over substance.

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