Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Top Five Tuesday: Books About Death

This week I decided to switch back over and participate in Top 5 Tuesday, originally hosted by BionicBookworm, now hosted by MeeghanReads!

This week's theme is: Books About Death

This probably isn't the most 'spring'-like topic, but there's nothing wrong with a good book about death–in fact, I'm probably more drawn to books about death than I am about birth or something. I've gathered a small selection of books that feature death in some form or another as a main theme or topic, so have a look and let me know if you've read any of these books, want to read them, or have any of your own books about death to share! (Also yes, I've listed six books here because I preferred the even number for this format.)

Under the Whispering Door   The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune: This book is completely centered around death, the afterlife, and contemplating the meaning of what life is and about our actions while alive. It's a really touching, sentimental story about a man named Wallace Price as he gets stuck in the afterlife and struggles to figure out how to move on. With the help of a variety of colorful characters at a cozy tea shop, Wallace embarks on a journey to discover himself and make up for lost time. 

The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy: The Death of Ivan Ilyich is pretty straightforward in being a short novella about a man at the end of his life. It's a thoughtful look at a man who has never considered his death now being forced to confront his own mortality. 

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)   Sin Eater

Scythe by Neal Shusterman: Scythe takes place in a future where death has, essentially, been eradicated. There's no war, disease, hunger, etc., so people simply don't die as they do in our own time. Because of this overpopulation has become a bit of an issue and thus the creation of scythes, a role dedicated to culling the population as needed in order to keep things under a manageable control. This book really couldn't be more about death and I think is a perfect fit for this topic. 

Sin Eater by Megan Campisi: Sin Eater follows a protagonist whose role as a Sin Eater is to visit the deathbeds of the dying and eat foods meant to represent the sins of the person dying and absolve them of their sins, which she absorbs through the food. 

Suicide Club   Burial Rites

Suicide Club by Rachel Heng: This is another book about a future in which people can extend their lives and essentially continue living–as long as they have the genetic benefit of being a "Lifer" and follow extremely strict guidelines meant to keep them "healthy." This book is all about about avoiding death, but at the same time very sharply draws on death and everything that surrounds the idea. And of course, the Suicide Club itself makes an appearance and focuses much more heavily on those who choose not to keep living indefinitely. 

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent: This book is about a woman confronting her own impending death after being charged with the murder of her former master. This is a very emotional and evocative story and, as you can probably guess, revolves around a variety of difficult topics including death and makes for a truly wonderful piece of literature. 

Have you read any of these books? What books about death have you read? 


  1. I've read Burial Rites and I just loved that story, one of my favorites ever.

  2. I immediately thought of Scythe when I saw the topic, and you did include it, too!

  3. What a unique choice! I have to be in the right mood for it, but sometimes I like to read books about death, too.

    My post: https://lydiaschoch.com/top-ten-tuesday-books-with-curly-haired-characters-on-the-cover/

  4. I would love to read The Death of Ivan Ilyich as I've already read The Raid and How Much Land Does A Man Need by Tolstoy. I'm too terrified to take on his books!

    Zoe x


    My TTT: https://zbestbooks.blogspot.com/2022/04/top-ten-tuesday-ya-books-with-character.html

  5. Klune's book would be the first one that would come to mind. The second would be The Book Thief since Death is the narrator.

  6. The Book Thief comes to mind, as the narrator is Death. And anything Edgar Allen Poe.


  7. Scythe is such a great book! I didn't love the last one but the first was brilliant!

  8. I enjoyed Scythe, but I still haven't finished the rest of the series!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2022/04/26/top-ten-tuesday-365/