Smoke gets in your eyes: and other stories from the crematorium by Caitlin Doughty is a non-fiction work which looks at life working at a crematorium.
It is almost like a collection of non-fiction short stories surrounding Doughty work within the crematorium, all of which were interesting and curious. I have never really thought about what happened at a place like that and who would want to work there but this provides a great insight. It makes you think about the events of a funeral/cremation and how they have evolved and changed over time and between cultures.
Although this book has a lot to do with death it doesn’t really fell a heavy book to read and is an interesting read, this is likely due to Doughty humour throughout as well as her engaging writing style. It is full of facts about what happens in a crematorium and what has changed (and what Doughty feels should change) as well as practices in some other cultures surrounding the dead.
It is the mix between the facts and Doughty personal experience as a crematorium worker which was made this a great book, in my opinion. It made it feel more understandable and intriguing. I liked the fact the book was split up into different chapters or stories as it felt easier to read and more engaging.
This book is entertaining, morbid and factual allowing you to learn about something new while you read! I would recommend!
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(PS feel free to comment or like)
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If you want to get into reading more but the prospect of reading a 200+ page novel scares you don’t worry! There are plenty of great short stories to keep you entertained with less commitment.
Short stories are a great way to start reading or re-introduce yourself into reading. You are not committed to a huge novel that may take a while to read but you are still able to enjoy something that an author has written. it can bring you back into enjoying reading as you feel the accomplishment of finishing something.
Often in schools, you look at short stories and analyse them. this is often a good way to get to grips with the idea of short stories and understand that although they may have less words they are still as entertaining. When I was in school, we looked at a short story called ‘The Flowers’ by Alice Walker. It is a powerful story and showed me that I could be interested and moved by a story that is a mere single side of an A4 page.
It is also a great way to explore new genres. If you are not sure you would like a certain genre but want to try its a great option. A short story is an introduction to a type of book and author and can often allow you to see if it is something you would enjoy before picking up a novel.
Overall, I would say that you should always give short stories a try as they can be just as powerful as novels but condensed. There is often not as much characterisation or depth but can still be incredibly powerful. If you are looking to explore new genres or want to get back into reading give short stories a try!
Many thanks, Caitlin x
(PS please comment any short stories you have read and loved)