Welcome to The Reading List, a new occasional series where we provide some recommended reading on a topic!
Note: This post has been edited and reposted to include additional titles.
Hospice Health Foundation, an organization based here in Portsmouth, has hosted five Death Cafes. A worldwide phenomenon, the Death Cafe is a community event where participants gather to eat, drink and discuss their inevitable demise.
The library jumped in on the third Death Cafe, and has since helped to host three of these fabulous events. We were so honored to participate in a safe, compassionate, and thoughtful space for discussion!
Organizers and facilitators submitted their picks for a reading list. These books all come recommended by professionals in the fields of hospice, palliative care, mental health and education. Linked titles are owned by the library – click to visit our catalog and place a hold.
Our Death Cafes are held on a quarterly basis. Stay tuned for the next date!
The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford
Before We Say Goodbye by Sean Davison
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death by Joan Halifax & Ira Byock
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast
The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care by Angelo E. Volandes
Curtains by Tom Jokinen
Dying Well by Ira Byock
Final Conversations by Maureen Keeley & Julie Yingling
Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying by Derek Humphry
Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying by Maggie Callanan & Patricia Kelley
The Four Things That Matter Most: A Book About Living by Ira Byock
Good Medicine: How to Turn Pain into Compassion with Tonglen Meditation by Pema Chodron
Gratitude by Oliver Sachs
The Grace in Dying by Kathleen Dowling Singh
Grave Matters by Mark Harris
Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life by Eric Lindner
Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death by Katy Butler
Love Your Life to Death by Yvonne Heath
Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
The New Natural Death Handbook by Nicholas Albery & Stephanie Wienrich
No Death, No Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh
On Death & Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
On Dreams & Death by Marie Louise von Franz
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
Speaking of Dying by Louis Heyse-Moore
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Talking About Death Won’t Kill You by Virginia Morris
The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead by David Shields
This Republic Of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust
Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Who Dies by Stephen Levine
Working Stiff by Judy Melinek & T. J. Mitchell
Laura Horwood-Benton is PPL’s Public Programming & Community Relations Librarian. She enjoys literary and speculative fiction, vegan baking, drawing and traveling. If you have suggestions for future book reviews OR library events, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.