Sunday, January 15, 2012

BC2012: The Pocket Guide to the Afterlife by Augusta Moore and Elizabeth Shipley

Occasionally, I stalk books. I search every bookstore for a new or used copy at a low price. Although Amazon.com is the easy way out, I resist unless I get an exceptionally good deal. I know this is not an efficient way to shop, but I've always enjoyed the thrill of the hunt. I can't remember exactly how I learned about The Pocket Guide to the Afterlife (probably an Amazon.com recommendation), but it was well over a year ago. There is another book with the same title authored by Jason Boyett, and I would have been thrilled to find either of them on a shelf somewhere. When Borders was still around, their online search showed no copies of either anywhere around Chicagoland. Ditto for Barnes & Noble. I also regularly searched every Half Price Books in the Chicago suburbs as well as stores in Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Kansas City, and Des Moines. As I said, I stalked this book.

Right after Thanksgiving I had to order a replacement alarm clock from Amazon.com (because Ginger had severed the thin power wires of our not-so-old one in the aftermath of a seizure). Since the clock was $20, I checked my wishlist for an item to get the order up to $25 for free shipping. The Pocket Guide to the Afterlife wasn't it... because it was selling for the insanely low price of $2.24! Naturally, I had to buy it along with another book -- coincidentally a different title by the aforementioned Jason Boyett -- to get over the $25 threshold.

Subtitled "91 Places Death Might Take You", this book uses a combination of narrative and illustrations to explore the afterlife beliefs of 91 religions from A to Z (I never would have guessed Asatru (which I'd never heard of -- it's the modern version of Norse paganism) would be the first, but I fully expected -- correctly -- Zoroastrianism to be the last). I don't have the background to judge the theological accuracy of the descriptions, but Moore and Shipley put a humorous spin on them to make light reading of this heavy topic. So, was this book worth stalking? Considering that I invested months of effort to save about ten bucks, of course not! But I did enjoy reading it, although it could have been a bit longer.

Note: This is a review of the book on the left below.

 

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