Dead Interesting!

As many of you know, my book collecting far exceeds my book reading, and as a result I have collected many odd books, including books on bodily functions (The Big Book of Bodily Functions and The Art of the Fart), books on all the weird and wonderful aspects of neurology, books of Cockney and Irish slang, books on computer programming languages…

…and then there’s the books on death. Because I’m a sick little monkey. And also because it’s kind of an interesting topic, when looked at objectively.

Firstly, I have a book called The Pocket Book Of Death. Written by Morgan Reilly and Joanna Tempest, with great illustrations by three of the four creators of webcomic Cyanide & Happiness, Rob DenBleyker, Dave McElfatrick and Kris Wilson, this neat little book serves as a compendium on this morbid subject, covering aspects such as the history of death, facts and statistics from around the world, the science behind death, odd rituals, urban myths and so much more. It’s presented in an easy to read and concise manner, and is quite funny and entertaining too – I read the book in a single sitting. But at over 150 pages, it’s definitely bursting with information, much of which you might not have known.

Secondly, I have a book by David Southwell and Matt Adams titledΒ 1001 Ridiculous Ways To Die. As you might have guessed, it covers 1001 true stories of some of the most silly ways people have died, from people being killed by flying lettuces, to a convicted murderer electrocuting himself…on the toilet, to a show off who died when he tried to lift a beer keg over his head in a pub. Most of the stories are only a paragraph in length, making it fun to read in short sharp bursts when you’re feeling bored, although this also makes it easy to keep reading on (“oh, one more story and then I’ll put the book down”). Entertaining, hilarious, and downright bizarre, this book is a must for anybody with a slightly strange and dark sense of humour.

What about you – are you interested in this topic, and do you think you could find it funny? Would you read either of these books? Have you read any books on the topic yourself?

17 thoughts on “Dead Interesting!

  1. Yes I find the subject of death very very interesting and something that we should be more willing to accept, acknowledge and talk about. I would probably feel a little guilty reading the ridiculous ways to die one and laughing πŸ™‚ but then you can’t really do the dead any harm and I’d rather someone laughed when they thought of me when I’m gone than anything else.

    • Absolutely, I agree. I mean I understand that it’s a sensitive topic, but I think it helps to be able to talk about such things openly and even laugh about them. I really want to come up with something good to put on my gravestone one day, like what Spike Milligan put on his: “I told you I was ill.” πŸ˜›

  2. I caught myself laughing out loud when I read the book title ‘The Art of the Fart’! lol

    There is a TV station here called SPIKE, which has a lot of really weird shows on it ‘for men’ and one of them must be based on the ‘101 Ways To Die’ book because that’s what the show is called. They re-enact some of the odd ways some people have died. So many of them make me ask, “What were they thinking?” because of some of the stupid things people have done that caused their deaths.

    While death is on my mind a fair amount because of all the people I’ve lost in the past few years (Grandma, parents, two close friends), looking at the lighter side of it might help ease the pain of loss a little – and who doesn’t need a good laugh once in a while, right? πŸ™‚

    • Oh wow, I wonder if that TV show well end up over here? Sounds interesting, though I agree – you hear about some of these deaths and think “geeze, that’s a pretty embarrassing way to go”.
      I agree – I had a surprising amount of people close to me die in the past few years (many of them quite young), and while it is really sad, I do find sometimes you need to look at the lighter side of it, as a coping mechanism. After all, I think that’s why so many of my books and DVDs are comedy – for me that’s how I deal with a lot of things. πŸ™‚

  3. Death is such an interesting topic! I haven’t read any books about it yet, but “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers” and “Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife,” both by Mary Roach, are on my list to read.

    • The Pocket Book Of Death I heard about because I’m pretty sure it was mentioned on the Cyanide & Happiness website, which I have been following daily for a good 5 or 6 years now. The 1001 Most Ridiculous Deaths book I think I just found randomly in a book shop, and laughing enough to just buy it. πŸ™‚

  4. I think this is a great post and I’m glad you wrote about it. While death can be morbid, it’s also a reality we all have to face. I came across a website you might be interested in. It’s called Dead Advice ( and it is based on the idea of what you would right about (after you are dead) to those who are still alive. It’s quite interesting and people touch on so many topics. It’s quite intriguing to see what people choose to write about after their dead. Hope you enjoy it too!

    • Hahaha, I’ve done that before, posting the complete wrong link. Okay, I’ll check it out later today and get back to you, that website sounds really interesting actually! πŸ™‚
      Glad you liked the post, too.

    • Oooh just looked at the site, I love it. I really love that post A Small List of Big Things.
      What a clever idea, it’s very inspiring actually to read through the site. And…I’m kind of tempted to write my own list. Though I’d feel a little silly considering how young I am, but then I guess that’s the point of it, isn’t it?! Thanks for sharing this! πŸ™‚

  5. Pingback: Famous Last Words | Wanton Creation

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