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Nonfiction Wishlist

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I really think I don't read enough nonfiction, which is a shame because there are topics that I'm genuinely interested in and want to educate myself on.

    Stiff

    Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers-some willingly, some unwittingly-have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.

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    Adventures in Human Being

    Sunday Times bestseller We have a lifetime's association with our bodies, but for many of us they remain uncharted territory. In Adventures in Human Being, Gavin Francis leads the reader on a journey through health and illness, offering insights on everything from the ribbed surface of the brain to the secret workings of the heart and the womb; from the pulse of life at the wrist to the unique engineering of the foot. Drawing on his own experiences as a doctor and GP, he blends first-hand case studies with reflections on the way the body has been imagined and portrayed over the millennia. If the body is a foreign country, then to practise medicine is to explore new territory: Francis leads the reader on an adventure through what it means to be human. Both a user's guide to the body and a celebration of its elegance, this book will transform the way you think about being alive, whether in sickness or in health. Published in association with the Wellcome Collection. WELLCOME COLLECTION is the free museum and library for the incurably curious. It explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. It is part of Wellcome, a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas thrive.

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    Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

    Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty-a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre-took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life's work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures. Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn't know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like? Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin's engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).

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    How Oscar Became Wilde

    They are the icons of the literary world whose soaring works have been discussed and analysed in countless classrooms, homes and pubs. Yet for most readers, the living, breathing human beings behind the classics have remained unknown...until now! These concise and readable biographical profiles, anecdotes and behind-the-scenes tales will reveal why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle blamed his wife's death on Sherlock Holmes, how Charles Dickens's pet launched Edgar Allan Poe on his way to literary immortality and the strange connection between Jane Austen and Ernest Hemingway. Chaucer, the Brontes, Wilde, Hardy and Lawrence, you'll never look at these literary giants in the same way again.

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