Book reviews, collection offering different perspectives on death

Published 10:15 am Thursday, January 5, 2012

“The American Book of Dying – Lessons in Healing Spiritual Pain,” “The Hospice Movement – A Better Way of Caring for the Dying” and “How We Die – Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter” are in the collection of the Lanier Library. Each book deals with death from a different perspective.
“The American Book of Dying – Lessons in Healing Spiritual Pain,” by Richard F. Groves and Henriette Anne Klauser, is a helpful book if you have someone in your life who is “approaching their final weeks or days.” The authors outline how you can become a “soul friend” to someone who is dying. They write of different people who died and how friends and family members helped them to die peacefully. At the end of the book is a “too chest” of techniques and resources that can be of use in this endeavor.
“Dying,  like birthing, is a process requiring assistance,” according to Sandol Stoddard, author of “The Hospice Movement – A Better Way of Caring for the Dying.” In this book, Stoddard gives the early history of the hospice movement and then writes of people he interviewed in various Hospice Houses. One woman describes her experience of feeling as it she’d arrived at a place where people were actually waiting for her to come. In the appendix of Stoddard’s book is a list of medications for common symptoms.
Sherwin B. Nuland is the author of “How We Die – Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter.” This book offers a description of various life-ending diseases and what to expect from our body if we are afflicted with one.
He discusses how some people die of “old age,” others of cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. He says he wrote the book with hopes that if we become more familiar with how we die, then perhaps death will “become less frightening, and perhaps those decisions that must be made can be sought out in an atmosphere less charged with half-knowledge, anxiety and unjustified expectations.”
These are just a few of the books that are written on the topic of death. If you are interested in reading any of these books, you can find them at the Lanier Library, which is located at 72 Chestnut Street in Tryon. The library is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. and from 1-4 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information, call 828-859-9535 or visit www.lanierlib.org.