I have always loved cemeteries. As a child, I studied the gravestones in the cemetery surrounding our church to learn as much as I could about the lives of the people who came before me. In college, I sought out a cemetery near my school as it was a quiet place to study on warm days. For a break, I often wandered around admiring the sculptures that adorned the graves. To this day, whenever I travel to a new place, I always try to include a cemetery or two on my itinerary.
If you also enjoy cemeteries, here are some books for you:
199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die by Loren Rhoads is the perfect book to look through if you are planning a trip and are interested in visiting a cemetery on your travels. The book has many photographs and includes information about cemeteries located all over the world.
Milwaukee’s Forest Home Cemetery which is a part of the Images of America Series provides detailed information about one of Milwaukee’s most beautiful and interesting cemeteries. Forest Home Cemetery contains the graves of many members of Milwaukee’s most prominent families, with beautiful monuments in a park-like setting of gentle hills, mature trees, and flowering plants. The book has biographical sketches of some of the more notable people buried there along with images of their graves.
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger centers on identical twins who move into an apartment next to Highgate Cemetery in London that is left to them by their mother’s twin when she dies. As the novel progresses, eerie occurrences keep the pages turning and make the reader question the relationships between the two sets of twins. Audrey Niffenegger, who is also a visual artist, wrote The Time Traveler’s Wife as well.
Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier focuses on the dynamics between the members of two families in Victorian times who both have family plots in Highgate Cemetery. This atmospheric novel, which is told from the viewpoints of multiple characters, deals with the changing attitudes toward death at the time and the growth of the suffrage movement in England. Tracy Chevalier has written many novels of historical fiction, including The Girl with the Pearl Earring.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is a middle grade fiction book about a young boy who is raised by ghosts in a graveyard. The book, which was awarded a Newbery Medal for outstanding children’s literature, is about the importance of community. The author, Neil Gaiman, is known for the dark humor in his fantastical stories.
The Skull by Jon Klassen is the retelling by the popular children’s book author and illustrator of a traditional European folktale. A girl who has run away takes shelter in a house occupied only by a skull. The girl becomes friends with the skull and protects it from the skeleton who searches for it nightly. The illustrations are charming and quirky, while the story is warm and wonderful.
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