The best quirkiest books about life after death

Who am I?

If my parents are to be believed, then my longest held obsession has been with vampires; which could explain my interest in stories about life after death. But with age my definitions for things got a little blurry, death is no longer restricted to ‘shuffling off of this mortal coil’. The catalyst for so many great stories is the death of a character, and there are so many options for how that death takes place. In a traditional sense, it could be murder mysteries. In horror, we could follow the path of destruction left by vampires, zombies, or ghosts. Lately, however, I’ve been into the concept of a metaphorical death which ultimately leads a character to growth.

I wrote...

An Idiot's Guide to Getting By

By Ana Neimus,

Book cover of An Idiot's Guide to Getting By

What is my book about?

I wrote this book at a time I felt my life wasn’t heading anywhere. Like I made a series of wrong turns that led me to a dead end. So naturally, I did what I always do: I made a joke. Only this time, I took it too far and wrote a whole damn book.

An Idiot’s Guide to Getting By is a dark comedy centered around the optimistic desperation of wanting to change your life but having no idea how to start. The characters in this satirical guide ignore federal laws and common sense as they try to get by.

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The books I picked & why

The Historian

By Elizabeth Kostova,

Book cover of The Historian

Why did I love this book?

Can’t really start a “life after death" list without a vampire story, can I?

While old Dracula has a special place in my heart, this book led me on a tour through eastern Europe I can only hope to someday trace. Through her brilliant descriptions and suspenseful storytelling, the author has demonstrated why vampire stories will never go out of fashion.

By Elizabeth Kostova,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Historian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to 'My dear and unfortunate successor'. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of - a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.
In those few quiet moments, she unwittingly assumes a quest she will discover is her birthright - a hunt for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of…

Hope: A Tragedy

By Shalom Auslander,

Book cover of Hope: A Tragedy

Why did I love this book?

There are two reasons I picked up this book. Firstly, that title. I’m a happy sucker for oxymorons. Secondly, and embarrassingly, more importantly, someone I really fancied recommended this book to me. And I have no regrets. 

Anyone with a more sensitive constitution is easily offended and can’t find humour in darker subject matters is kindly invited to stay away. This book hilariously tackles the moral quandary of how to deal with someone you -- and the world -- thought dead. Worse still when they are an awful roommate who you desperately want out of your house.

By Shalom Auslander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Possibly the funniest novel of the decade' Sunday Times, Books of the Decade 2010-2019

Solomon Kugel has had enough of the past and its burdens. So, in the hope of starting afresh, he moved his family to a small rural town where nothing of import has ever happened.

Sadly, Kugel's life isn't that simple. His family soon find themselves threatened by a local arsonist and his ailing mother won't stop reminiscing about the Nazi concentration camps she didn't actually suffer through. And when, one night, Kugel discovers a living, breathing, thought-to-be-dead specimen of history hiding in his attic, bad very…

Going Postal

By Terry Pratchett,

Book cover of Going Postal

Why did I love this book?

Hell is a 9-5 and this book proves it. If your choices for the afterlife were a dark void of nothingness or working in customer service, you may need some time to ponder your options. There is no need to wax poetic about Terry Pratchett; his volumes stand for themselves. However, I can’t think of another author who could write a ‘dying giving the main character a new lease on life’ story that doesn’t make me want to roll my eyes. 

By Terry Pratchett,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Going Postal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A beautiful new hardback edition of the classic Discworld novel.

Moist von Lipwig is a con artist and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork's ailing postal service back on its feet.

It was a tough decision.

But he's got to see that the mail gets though, come rain, hail, sleet, dogs, the Post Office Workers Friendly and Benevolent Society, the evil chairman of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company, and a midnight killer.

Getting a date with Adora Bell Dearheart would be nice, too.

Book cover of The Midnight Library

Why did I love this book?

Okay, I’m teetering right on the edge of the description of this category with this one, but it’s okay as this whole story takes place with someone walking the thin line between life and death. Matt Haig has a wonderful way of drifting between heartbreaking and heartwarming in his books, and this one is no exception. It really is no wonder that this book was posted everywhere, so it’s making my list. 

By Matt Haig,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked The Midnight Library as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestselling WORLDWIDE phenomenon

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction | A Good Morning America Book Club Pick | Independent (London) Ten Best Books of the Year

"A feel-good book guaranteed to lift your spirits."-The Washington Post

The dazzling reader-favorite about the choices that go into a life well lived, from the acclaimed author of How To Stop Time and The Comfort Book.

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of…

Poison for Breakfast

By Lemony Snicket,

Book cover of Poison for Breakfast

Why did I love this book?

I did not see a way for me to make a list about books that did not include at least one vampire novel (see number 1) and a reference to Lemony Snicket. So here we are. 

The narrator finishes his morning routine to find a note informing him that he has been poisoned. What a concept! When your school teacher told you about starting your essays with a hook, this is what they meant. Lemony Snicket is a masterful storyteller, and this book is just one more example of that. Following a dead man walking as he investigates his impending mortality while engaging in a discussion of philosophy, rife with references to books and music and art, did not take me at all where I thought it would and I couldn’t be happier. If libraries could talk, I imagine conversations would flow very much as this book did.

By Lemony Snicket,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Poison for Breakfast as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the years since this publishing house was founded, we have worked with an array of wondrous authors who have brought illuminating clarity to our bewildering world. Now, instead, we bring you Lemony Snicket.

Over the course of his long and suspicious career, Mr. Snicket has investigated many things, including villainy, treachery, conspiracy, ennui, and various suspicious fires. In this book, he is investigating his own death.

Poison for Breakfast is a different sort of book than others we have published, and from others you may have read. It is different from other books Mr. Snicket has written. It could…

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