My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Three 4 Thursday: 3 Books Dealing with Death

It's October.  While it's a time to relieve stress by testing our bravery against scary things, it is also a time to reflect on one of the more serious aspects of life:  Death.

Here are three books that have death as a central theme in their book.  Each book uses the theme of death in different ways, but all are thought provoking and (oddly) entertaining.

1.  This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

Judd's life is a mess:  His wife has left him for a Shock-Jock radio host, he's out of a job (working for the Shock-Jock), and his father has died.  Life couldn't possibly get much worse right?  Wrong!  Judd must now sit Shiva with his very dysfunctional family to honor his father.  This entails everyone staying in the family home for seven days and receiving guests who come to pay their respects.  Can Judd and his siblings manage to get along with each other for a full week?  Will they drive each other crazy or grow closer?  This is an entertaining read full of colorful family situations.  It's like the longest Thanksgiving Dinner in history!  But it is also a touching look at a family that has grown apart and tries to reestablish the bonds that supported them long ago.

2.  A long Way Down by Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby is one of my favorite authors.  With each book, he manages to bring to life groups of people who are both interesting and, often, pathetic.  But it is always done in a way that is entertaining and not a bit depressing.  A Long Way Down follows four people who shouldn't have anything in common:  a disgraced talk show host, a party girl who's father is a politician, a failed musician, and an overwhelmed mother of a severely-disabled young man.  All try to end their lives on New Year's Eve by jumping from the roof of the same building.  After their encounter, they decide to make a pact to stay alive at least until Valentine's Day.  We learn the backstory of why each person was on the roof that night.  I started to care deeply about the characters and hope that each would make it past Valentine's Day.  This is a wonderful book.  It has also been made into a movie (you can see it on Netflix) that I found quite enjoyable, too.

3.  The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

This is a true story of a mother and her adult son who create an even closer bond through their love of books.  Mary Anne has cancer and while she waits for her many appointments, she reads.  As her son starts to accompany her to the doctor, they start to discuss what she is reading.  Soon both Mary Anne and her son, Will, start to give each other recommendations and a "book club" (of sorts) is formed.  This is a very emotional book for me, as my mother died of cancer and was also an avid reader.  The journey they experience together is profound.  Will learns to see his Mother as a compete person, not just his Mom.  This struggle to have our parent-child relationships morph into adult interactions is one every person goes through.  This is a very moving book.

What are some of your favorite end-of-life themed books?  Leave a comment below and share.
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