100 books like This Party's Dead

By Erica Buist,

Here are 100 books that This Party's Dead fans have personally recommended if you like This Party's Dead. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation Into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin

Jenny Lawson Author Of Broken (in the Best Possible Way)

From my list on will creep you out in the best possible way.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and a bookstore owner and a lover of all things dark and strange. I grew up reading books that I often had to put in the freezer at night so that they wouldn’t haunt my dreams and I never grew out of it.  I have a book club called The Fantastic Strangelings so I am constantly reading, and always looking for new and wonderful stories to share.

Jenny's book list on will creep you out in the best possible way

Jenny Lawson Why did Jenny love this book?

I know you’re probably expecting novels on my list but this is the true story of a librarian’s investigation into the science and history of books bound in human skin (for real). More fascinating than creepy, this book sucked me in from the very beginning. If you like Mary Roach (Stiff, Spooked) or Caitlin Doughty (Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?) then you will love Megan Rosenbloom

By Megan Rosenbloom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom, a medical librarian and a cofounder of the Death Salon, seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind this anthropodermic bibliopegy. Dozens of these books still sit on the shelves of the world's most famous libraries and museums. What are their stories? Dark Archives exhumes their origins and brings to life the doctors, murderers, mental patients, beautiful women, and indigents whose lives are bound together in this rare, scattered, and disquieting collection. It also tells the story of the scientists, curators, and librarians like Rosenbloom - interested in the full complicated histories behind these dark…


Book cover of From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

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 impressed with Caitlin’s work on demystifying funeral practices (The Smoke Gets in Your Eyes) and opening up our eyes to new possibilities through her writing and her Order of the Good Death. With this book, I was so engaged with the sheer variety of the death and funeral practices that she details.

We need this kind of writing: engaging, funny, and grounded while teaching us that we are not as bound as we might think we are. I left this book more resolved than ever that we can die differently, and especially if we can use our imaginations better to explore alternatives. The world is wide and beautiful: this book teaches us that we can see that beauty even in—maybe especially in—death. 

By Caitlin Doughty,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked From Here to Eternity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty embarks on a global expedition to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Zoroastrian sky burials to wish-granting Bolivian skulls, she investigates the world's funerary customs and expands our sense of what it means to treat the dead with dignity. Her account questions the rituals of the American funeral industry-especially chemical embalming-and suggests that the most effective traditions are those that allow mourners to personally attend to the body of the deceased. Exquisitely illustrated by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the…


Book cover of A Tomb With a View: The Stories and Glories of Graveyards

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?

Although Ross’s book appears to be a guide to visiting graveyards, its focus often turns toward the people who work there: gravediggers, tour guides, historians, and even memorial artists. One of my favorite essays in the book introduces a modern maker of death masks, whose work appears on three headstones in Highgate Cemetery. The eulogy for “the best-known guide at the most famous cemetery in Ireland” nearly brought me to tears.

A Tomb With A View tells the stories of the graveyards and their dead, true, but most of all Ross conveys how the relationships between the dead and those who remain behind deepen with time. A lovely, life-affirming book.

By Peter Ross,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Tomb With a View as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE SCOTTISH NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2021

A FINANCIAL TIMES, I PAPER AND STYLIST BOOK OF THE YEAR

'In his absorbing book about the lost and the gone, Peter Ross takes us from Flanders Fields to Milltown to Kensal Green, to melancholy islands and surprisingly lively ossuaries . . . a considered and moving book on the timely subject of how the dead are remembered, and how they go on working below the surface of our lives.' - Hilary Mantel

'Ross is a wonderfully evocative writer, deftly capturing a sense of place and history, while bringing…


Book cover of Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab

Loren Rhoads Author Of This Morbid Life: Essays

From my list on death-positive memoirs.

Why am I passionate about this?

For 10 years, I edited Morbid Curiosity magazine. I believe that curiosity is the most important aspect of being human. More than the simple desire to know things, curiosity is a tool as powerful as a scalpel or a searchlight. Curiosity is a way to effect change, in our own lives and in the world. Morbid Curiosity magazine taught me to believe in the power of story, especially in the form of memoirs. Only by telling our own stories can we overcome our fears and find inspiration in death. Investigating my own relationship with death led me to write This Morbid Life. These books illuminated my search.

Loren's book list on death-positive memoirs

Loren Rhoads Why did Loren love this book?

Before she decided to study medicine, Christine Montross was a poet. She deploys the full beauty of language to explore how it feels to be a first-year medical student dissecting a cadaver in her gross anatomy class. Over the course of the year, Montross conveys much information about how the human body works and how doctors-to-be learn, but her primary focus is on her emotional journey, which spanned from being a student with no understanding beyond her own body to being someone able to heal anyone who comes to her for help. Lovely, powerful, and instructive, I hope this book is required reading for incoming med students. 

By Christine Montross,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A "gleaming, humane" (The New York Times Book Review) memoir of the relationship between a cadaver named Eve and a first-year medical student

Medical student Christine Montross felt nervous standing outside the anatomy lab on her first day of class. Entering a room with stainless-steel tables topped by corpses in body bags was initially unnerving. But once Montross met her cadaver, she found herself intrigued by the person the woman once was and fascinated by the strange, unsettling beauty of the human form. They called her Eve. The story of Montross and Eve is a tender and surprising examination of…


Book cover of Under the Volcano

Ann Marie Jackson Author Of The Broken Hummingbird

From my list on Americans learning to live in Mexico.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by the places where cultures intersect and the means by which they do so. I am an American lucky to live in gorgeous San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and previously in Hirakata, Japan; Shanghai, China; Suva, Fiji; and Oxford, England. Each move entailed a challenging but rewarding effort to absorb a new set of unwritten societal rules. A great way to grow is to immerse yourself in the unknown and have things you took for granted about how the world works suddenly come into question. Another is to learn from those who have gone before us, so I am delighted to share these wonderful books with you.

Ann's book list on Americans learning to live in Mexico

Ann Marie Jackson Why did Ann love this book?

Under the Volcano is a difficult book worth the effort. Set in Quauhnahuac, now Cuernavaca, it follows the surreal last day in the life of bleakly alcoholic former British consul Geoffrey Firmin.

We witness interactions with his estranged wife, his half-brother, and a childhood friend—both of whom have probably had an affair with the wife—as well as various other undependable characters real and hallucinatory. For careful readers, Lowry offers a rich buffet of symbolism and allusions to the work of writers from Dante to Shakespeare.

I certainly missed a few of the references but enjoyed the hunt nonetheless. Under the Volcano features the foibles of British rather than American expats, but the lessons apply equally.

By Malcolm Lowry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Under the Volcano as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the twentieth century's great undisputed masterpieces, Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano includes an introduction by Michael Schmidt in Penguin Modern Classics.

It is the fiesta 'Day of the Dead' in the small Mexican town of Quauhnahuac. In the shadow of the volcano, ragged children beg coins to buy skulls made of chocolate, ugly pariah dogs roam the streets and Geoffrey Firmin - ex-consul, ex-husband, an alcoholic and a ruined man - is living out the last day of his life. Drowning himself in mescal while his former wife and half-brother look on, powerless to help him, the consul…


Book cover of Gustavo, the Shy Ghost

Lenny Wen Author Of Wolfgang in the Meadow

From my list on picture books with creepy and cute ghosts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a fan of horror stories since I was a kid. As an introverted and shy kid, I used to joke with my best friend about how I felt like a ghost and wished I had the power to be invisible. After I became a children’s book author/illustrator, I became fascinated with ghost picture books and started collecting them. Ghost picture books not only fulfilled my spooky necessities but also gave me warmth and heartfelt emotions.

Lenny's book list on picture books with creepy and cute ghosts

Lenny Wen Why did Lenny love this book?

Gustavo is one of the most adorable ghosts, and his story is so relatable. As an introverted and shy person, I can relate to all of Gustavo’s struggles, especially the struggle with making friends.

Flavia’s artwork is so fantastic, expressive, and vibrant. I love the characters and textures. I also love how Flavia applied Mexican culture to the artwork.

By Flavia Z. Drago,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gustavo, the Shy Ghost as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

A story of friendship and courage - perfect for the spooky season or all year round!

Gustavo is a ghost. He is good at doing all sorts of paranormal things, like walking through walls, making objects fly and glowing in the dark. And he loves playing beautiful music on his violin. But Gustavo also has a problem. He is SHY. Which means some things are harder for him to do, like getting in a line to buy eye-scream or talking to the other monsters. But Gustavo longs to be a part of something, he longs to be seen. More than…


Book cover of The Sentence

Ellen Barker Author Of East of Troost

From my list on magical books for realists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write and read realistic fiction. I’m not a fan of fantasy, sci-fi, ghost stories, or magical (other than, you know, Tolkien). I don’t want to have to suspend a lot of belief and buy into an alternate reality. And yet, and yet. . . . All these books have a little element of something going on, and they each grabbed me and kept my attention, and I didn’t roll my eyes once. The supernatural is just a little extra kick and, in every case, as believable as it can possibly be. 

Ellen's book list on magical books for realists

Ellen Barker Why did Ellen love this book?

I love so many things about this book, starting with the title (double-entendre!) and the setting (bookstore!).

I love the snippets of real life (e.g., it’s the author’s bookstore). And then there’s the ghost, Flora. Erdrich does such a good job with Flora. This is not the movie Ghostbusters and it’s not the TV show Ghosts. Flora is just an unseen character, a former customer who keeps hanging out in the bookstore in the time of Covid. Erdrich weaves both Covid and the ghost into the story so smoothly—the book is not about either one of them, but they are both in the background and color everything going on, leaving me with the impression that the ghost is just one more part of the fever dream that was 2020.

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2022
PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR OF THE NIGHT WATCHMAN

-----------------------------------------------------

In this stunning and timely novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich creates a wickedly funny ghost story, a tale of passion, of a complex marriage and of a woman's relentless errors.

Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store's most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls' Day, but…


Book cover of The Feast of All Souls

Catherine Cavendish Author Of The After-Death of Caroline Rand

From my list on transporting you to a haunted house.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Catherine Cavendish – writer of Gothic and ghostly horror stories. I lived in a haunted house. It didn’t scare me because our ghost seemed to go out of her way to make us welcome. Elsewhere in the building was a different matter. This was occupied by a social club and in one room in particular, an entity targeted lone females, taking delight in poking and shoving them. Since we left there, I wonder about our friendly ghost. Does she continue to watch over her old home? As for the malevolent spirit – one encounter was quite enough for me! My experiences left me fascinated by the power of buildings to absorb its ghosts.

Catherine's book list on transporting you to a haunted house

Catherine Cavendish Why did Catherine love this book?

Everything about this story worked for me.

Alice the main character devastated by the loss of her eight-year-old daughter, buys a large, dilapidated house. It will be a big job – a real fixer-upper that she can get her teeth into but it isn't long before she finds out hers is not your everyday normal building.

It starts with the voices and manifestations... and the children. Local legends and folklore abound. Soon Alice is swept up in events far out of her control in both time and dimension. and the house is a key player in this. It guards its secrets well.

This story stayed with me for a long time, and I believe Simon Bestwick deserves to be far better known than he is. I have yet to be disappointed in anything he has written.

By Simon Bestwick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Feast of All Souls as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alice has returned to her old home town to put her life back in order.

378 Collarmill Road looks like an ordinary house. But sometimes, the world outside the windows isn't the one you expect to see; sometimes you'll turn around and find you're not alone.

An old flame of Alice's - John Revell - reluctantly comes to her aid when the house begins to reveal its secrets. The hill on which it sits is a place of legends - of Old Harry, the Beast of Crawbeck; of the Virgin of the Height and the mysterious Red Man - and…


Book cover of Haunted Air

Lesley Pratt Bannatyne Author Of Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America's Fright Night

From my list on Halloween celebrations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved Halloween since I ran through the suburban streets of southern Connecticut with ears and a tail. For more than thirty years I’ve been researching and writing about the holiday, and each year I find something new. Most of all, I’m a Halloween advocate: At Halloween we can wrap our arms around the reality of the other 364 days and satirize, exorcize, and celebrate it. The joy of Halloween is not that it’s dark and we revel in that; it’s that Halloween can bring a bit of light and laughter into the darkness. And, of course, it’s big, creative, candy-fueled fun.

Lesley's book list on Halloween celebrations

Lesley Pratt Bannatyne Why did Lesley love this book?

Haunted Air is a book of undated photos of adults and children in costume. Not all of them may be Halloween photographs (we dressed up on so many occasions back then!), but most of them are. I love the handmade costumes and makeup, the creepy masks, the way the costumes tie into popular culture and the sheer joy of imagination they exude. It’s a creepy book, in a good way. David Lynch wrote the forward.

By Ossian Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The roots of Hallowe'en lie in the ancient pre-Christian Celtic festival of Samhain, a feast to mark the death of the old year and the birth of the new. It was believed that on this night the veil separating the worlds of the living and the dead grew thin and ruptured, allowing spirits to pass through and walk unseen but not unheard amongst men. The advent of Christianity saw the pagan festival subsumed in All Souls' Day, when across Europe the dead were mourned and venerated. Children and the poor, often masked or in outlandish costume, wandered the night begging…


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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in funerals, death, and Mexico?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about funerals, death, and Mexico.

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