100 books like Life and death in Spitalfields, 1700-1850

By Margaret Cox,

Here are 100 books that Life and death in Spitalfields, 1700-1850 fans have personally recommended if you like Life and death in Spitalfields, 1700-1850. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Come, Tell Me How You Live

Lindsay Allason-Jones Author Of Roman Woman: Everyday Life in Hadrian's Britain

From my list on how people in different periods or cultures lived their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an archaeologist, mostly working in the Roman period. Until I retired in 2011, I was the Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies and Reader in Roman Material Culture at Newcastle University, having previously been the Director of Archaeological Museums for the University. My working life started by specialising in identifying those small items which come out of every excavation, but more and more I became interested in what those artefacts told us about the people who lived on the site. Reading books about peoples’ lives in other cultures and periods provides insight into those people of the past for whom we have little documentary evidence.

Lindsay's book list on how people in different periods or cultures lived their lives

Lindsay Allason-Jones Why did Lindsay love this book?

The title sums up what archaeologists are trying to do when they excavate a site. In this short book, Agatha Christie provides ‘an inconsequent chronicle’ of five archaeological field seasons in Mesopotamia in the 1930s, in the course of which she gently and wittily reveals a picture of the British working abroad between the Wars – a way of working that now seems as distant as the period she was uncovering.

By Agatha Christie Mallowan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Come, Tell Me How You Live as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Agatha Christie's personal memoirs about her travels to Syria and Iraq in the 1930s with her archaeologist husband Max Mallowan, where she worked on the digs and wrote some of her most evocative novels.

Think you know Agatha Christie? Think again!

To the world she was Agatha Christie, legendary author of bestselling whodunits. But in the 1930s she wore a different hat, travelling with her husband, renowned archaeologist Max Mallowan, as he investigated the buried ruins and ancient wonders of Syria and Iraq. When friends asked what this strange `other life' was like, she decided to answer their questions by…


Book cover of Death at Wolf’s Nick: The Killing of Evelyn Foster

Lindsay Allason-Jones Author Of Roman Woman: Everyday Life in Hadrian's Britain

From my list on how people in different periods or cultures lived their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an archaeologist, mostly working in the Roman period. Until I retired in 2011, I was the Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies and Reader in Roman Material Culture at Newcastle University, having previously been the Director of Archaeological Museums for the University. My working life started by specialising in identifying those small items which come out of every excavation, but more and more I became interested in what those artefacts told us about the people who lived on the site. Reading books about peoples’ lives in other cultures and periods provides insight into those people of the past for whom we have little documentary evidence.

Lindsay's book list on how people in different periods or cultures lived their lives

Lindsay Allason-Jones Why did Lindsay love this book?

Everybody who has read this extraordinary book seems to have an overwhelming urge to discuss it with other people. It tells the true story of the murder of a young woman in 1931 in northern England, a death for which no-one was ever brought to trial. This is not just an unsolved mystery but deftly reveals what life was like in a north Northumberland town in the 1930s, as well as exposing how chaotic and class ridden policing was at the time.

By Diane Janes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death at Wolf’s Nick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In January 1931, on a lonely stretch of Northumberland road known as Wolf's Nick, flames rose up into the night sky from the neighbouring moorland.

Beyond help, Evelyn Foster lay engulfed in flames near her burning car, desperately hoping to be found by a passing vehicle.

With her last breath, she described her assailant: a mysterious man with a bowler hat who had asked her to drive him to the next village, then attacked her and left her to die.

What followed was a remarkable effort by some members of the police to track down Evelyn's killer while other members…


Book cover of Felbrigg: The Story of a House

Lindsay Allason-Jones Author Of Roman Woman: Everyday Life in Hadrian's Britain

From my list on how people in different periods or cultures lived their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an archaeologist, mostly working in the Roman period. Until I retired in 2011, I was the Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies and Reader in Roman Material Culture at Newcastle University, having previously been the Director of Archaeological Museums for the University. My working life started by specialising in identifying those small items which come out of every excavation, but more and more I became interested in what those artefacts told us about the people who lived on the site. Reading books about peoples’ lives in other cultures and periods provides insight into those people of the past for whom we have little documentary evidence.

Lindsay's book list on how people in different periods or cultures lived their lives

Lindsay Allason-Jones Why did Lindsay love this book?

Although this is the story of a house from the early 17th century to the 1960s, it offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the four families who lived there in turn as they won and lost fortunes, married well and badly, and survived the events of history.

By R W Ketton-Cremer,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Womenfolks: Growing Up Down South

Lindsay Allason-Jones Author Of Roman Woman: Everyday Life in Hadrian's Britain

From my list on how people in different periods or cultures lived their lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an archaeologist, mostly working in the Roman period. Until I retired in 2011, I was the Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies and Reader in Roman Material Culture at Newcastle University, having previously been the Director of Archaeological Museums for the University. My working life started by specialising in identifying those small items which come out of every excavation, but more and more I became interested in what those artefacts told us about the people who lived on the site. Reading books about peoples’ lives in other cultures and periods provides insight into those people of the past for whom we have little documentary evidence.

Lindsay's book list on how people in different periods or cultures lived their lives

Lindsay Allason-Jones Why did Lindsay love this book?

A wittily written, powerful evocation of women’s lives in Arkansas from the 1930s to the 1980s, the history of how they got there and what made them such strong women. This is a revelation of family myth and tradition told fondly, yet with piercing pragmatism, in a way that provides insights into how we can understand women’s lives at all periods and in all places.

By Shirley Abbott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reflects on the experience of growing up female in the South, explaining the meaning of the southern heritage, the southern notion of the feminine ideal, and the reasons why southern women leave their roots.


Book cover of A Writer's Notebook

Shane Joseph Author Of Circles in the Spiral

From my list on the writing life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a writer for more than twenty years and have favored pursuing “truth in fiction” rather than “money in formula.” As author Edward St. Aubyn quotes: “Money has value because it can be exchanged for something else. Art only has value because it can’t.” I find books about writers are closer to my lived experience and connect me intimately with both the characters and their author.

Shane's book list on the writing life

Shane Joseph Why did Shane love this book?

An incredible recounting by an author who remained current for over two centuries and in several art forms – plays, films, novels, and short stories. Orphaned at ten, and giving up a promising career in the medical profession to become a writer in his early twenties, Maugham reached the pinnacle of success and wealth in this perilous profession. In this collection of sketches, vignettes, and anecdotes, he looks back on his life at the Biblical age of “three score and ten” and accepts his shortcomings, mistakes, and secrets. His only lament: that there were four more novels left to write – the unreachable star that had been his guiding light throughout life. Five years later, he had finished three…

By W. Somerset Maugham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Writer's Notebook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Filled with keen observations, autobiographical notes, and the seeds of many of Maugham's greatest works, A Writer's Notebook is a unique and exhilarating look into a great writer's mind at work. From nearly five decades, Somerset Maugham recorded an intimate journal. In it we see the budding of his incomparable vision and his remarkable career as a writer. Covering the years from his time as a youthful medical student in London to a seasoned world traveler around the world, it is playful, sharp witted, and always revealing. Undoubtedly one of his most significant works, A Writer's Notebook is a must…


Book cover of Whichwood

Heather Kassner Author Of The Plentiful Darkness

From my list on magical middle grade with darkness and heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

Each summer when I was small, I visited my gram. During the day we would go off on one adventure or another—and at night, she enticed me to sleep with the promise of a story. Most often, she read Grimm’s fairytales to me. Full of darkness and also hope (!), they were, and still are, some of my very favorites. And they inspire what I most enjoy writing and reading.

Heather's book list on magical middle grade with darkness and heart

Heather Kassner Why did Heather love this book?

In this fantastical story, which is a companion to Furthermore, a lonesome girl scrubs the skin of the dead to ready souls for the afterlife. (Sounds properly spooky, doesn’t it? I love when books give me chills!) And when things are especially dark, as they are for Laylee, friendship shines all the brighter once it is found. 

By Tahereh Mafi,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Whichwood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Embark on a wondrous journey through the land of Whichwood in this stunning companion to Tahereh Mafi’s acclaimed bestseller Furthermore.

A Kirkus Best Book of the Year!

★ "Deliciously descriptive prose. . . . Darkly fascinating." −Kirkus
★ "Unforgettable heroine." −Booklist
★ "Mafi's language choices create visually arresting moments." –Shelf Awareness

Our story begins on a frosty night . . .
Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way) and she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined…


Book cover of The American Resting Place: 400 Years of History Through Our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds

Loren Rhoads Author Of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die

From my list on about cemeteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up down the road from the little graveyard where my grandfather was buried. By accident, I discovered the glorious Victorian-era Highgate Cemetery in 1991. A friend sent me to explore Paris’s Pere Lachaise Cemetery – and I was hooked. I’ve gone from stopping by cemeteries when I travel to building vacations around cemeteries I want to see. I’ve gone out of my way to visit cemeteries in the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Japan, Spain, Singapore, and across the United States. At the moment, I’m editing Death’s Garden Revisited, in which 40 contributors answer the question: “Why is it important to visit cemeteries?”

Loren's book list on about cemeteries

Loren Rhoads Why did Loren love this book?

Even though it’s 12 years old, this is still the definitive history of burial grounds in America. I honestly cannot rave about it enough. Although the book looks dry and intimidating, I promise you it’s anything but. Yalom provides solid information about the history of burial and burial grounds in the United States, leavened with personal reflections inspired by the graveyards she visited as she researched. If anything can inspire a desire to travel to visit cemeteries, The American Resting Place will set your feet on the path.

By Marilyn Yalom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The American Resting Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An illustrated cultural history of America through the lens of its gravestones and burial practices—featuring eighty black-and-white photographs.

In The American Resting Place, cultural historian Marilyn Yalom and her son, photographer Reid Yalom, visit more than 250 cemeteries across the United States. Following a coast-to-coast trajectory that mirrors the historical pattern of American migration, their destinations highlight America’s cultural and ethnic diversity as well as the evolution of burials rites over the centuries.

Yalom’s incisive reading of gravestone inscriptions reveals changing ideas about death and personal identity, as well as how class and gender play out in stone. Rich particulars…


Book cover of The Green Burial Guidebook: Everything You Need to Plan an Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Burial

Mallory McDuff Author Of Our Last Best Act: Planning for the End of Our Lives to Protect the People and Places We Love

From my list on change your relationship with death and heal Earth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach environmental education at Warren Wilson College outside Asheville, North Carolina, where I’ve raised my two daughters in a 900-square-foot campus rental with an expansive view of the Appalachian mountains. My students work in jobs ranging from managing the herd of cattle to growing vegetables for the cafeteria. After the sudden deaths of my parents, I decided to take this one-year journey to revise my final wishes with climate change and community in mind as a legacy to my children and my students. I’ve written five books, including the forthcoming Love Your Mother: 50 states, 50 stories, & 50 women united for climate justice (April 2023). 

Mallory's book list on change your relationship with death and heal Earth

Mallory McDuff Why did Mallory love this book?

I placed at least 30 post-it notes in this book as every page includes practical and compassionate advice for planning an affordable and sustainable green burial. This book’s pragmatic step-by-step suggestions were especially useful as I took my one-year journey to revise my own final wishes with climate and community in mind. The author operates the first green funeral home in the Portland, Oregon area, and she draws on her experiences to help you avoid exorbitant funeral expenses while helping the Earth and your community. 

By Elizabeth Fournier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Green Burial Guidebook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Funeral expenses in the United States average more than $10,000. And every year conventional funerals bury millions of tons of wood, concrete, and metals, as well as millions of gallons of carcinogenic embalming fluid. There is a better way, and Elizabeth Fournier, affectionately dubbed the “Green Reaper,” walks you through it, step-by-step. She provides comprehensive and compassionate guidance, covering everything from green burial planning and home funeral basics to legal guidelines and outside-the-box options, such as burials at sea. Fournier points the way to green burial practices that consider both the environmental well-being of the planet and the economic well-being…


Book cover of Reimagining Death: Stories and Practical Wisdom for Home Funerals and Green Burials

Ashby Kinch Author Of A Cultural History of Death

From my list on re-imagining death, dying, and grief.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a literary and cultural historian who has been studying death for three decades. But I am, first and foremost, a human who has suffered the loss of loved ones and grief and found my immediate culture an inhospitable place to experience, transform, and share those emotions. We have an urgent need to “re-imagine” the way we prepare for our own deaths, as well as experience the deaths of others. I hope my work, both as a scholar and a public citizen, will inspire people to form communities of conversation and action that will reshape the way we think about death, dying, and grief.

Ashby's book list on re-imagining death, dying, and grief

Ashby Kinch Why did Ashby love this book?

I am so humbled and grateful for the death professionals of all stripes who help families with the transition of their loved one, whether it’s the hospice care doctors, nurses, and staff who think about the right cues and context or, as explored in this book, the folks re-thinking funerals and burial practices.

I have been to several in the last few years—a home funeral and a green burial stand out in particular—that have really deepened my sense of what we can do better. Reading this book opened up my imagination of what is possible for this crucial community experience. It triggered deep emotions from my personal experience, but in a way that helped me imagine a new path forward. 

By Lucinda Herring,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Reimagining Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Honor your loved ones and the earth by choosing practical, spiritual, and eco-friendly after-death care

Natural, legal, and innovative after-death care options are transforming the paradigm of the existing funeral industry, helping families and communities recover their instinctive capacity to care for a loved one after death and do so in creative and healing ways. Reimagining Death offers stories and guidance for home funeral vigils, advance after-death care directives, green burials, and conscious dying. When we bring art and beauty, meaningful ritual, and joy to ease our loss and sorrow, we are greening the gateway of death and returning home…


Book cover of Celebrations of Death: The Anthropology of Mortuary Ritual

Gillian Gillison Author Of Between Culture and Fantasy: A New Guinea Highlands Mythology

From my list on the anthropology of myth and ritual.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a family of beautiful, accomplished women at a time when most women stayed home. But the spectacular women in my mother's family also suffered spectacularly, and I was determined to understand family life at its very roots. I studied anthropology and, over a 15-year period, lived in a remote part of the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea among a group of Gimi women who spent most of their time apart from men. I shared women's difficult daily lives, participated in their separate rites, learned their myths, and, through my writing, have devoted myself to giving them voices of their own.

Gillian's book list on the anthropology of myth and ritual

Gillian Gillison Why did Gillian love this book?

A fascinating in-depth look at why ideas of Dead White Men of the late 19th and early 20th CenturyÉmile Durkheim, Arnold van Gennep, Robert Hertzstill matter and are, indeed, indispensable for understanding funerals and death rituals in places like Borneo, Bali, Thailand, early Egypt, Africa, and America. 

By examining mortuary rites cross-culturally, the authors expose elements of a 'deep structure' in ritual that may be universal, thus offering the 'thrill of recognition' of ourselves in others.

By Peter Metcalf, Richard Huntington,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This revised edition of a cross-cultural study of rituals surrounding death has become a standard text in anthropology, sociology and religion. Part of its fascination is that in understanding other people's death rituals we are able to gain a better understanding of our own. The authors refer to a wide variety of examples, from different continents and epochs. They compare the great tombs of the Berawan of Borneo and the pyramids of Egypt, as well as the dramas of medieval French royal funerals and the burial alive of the Dinka 'masters of the spear' in the Sudan, and other rituals…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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